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THE SHADOWS OF TREASON: Indonesian Music and Puppets Meet American History

Sunday May 19, 2013, 3 p.m.

Shadows of treason 1

Major Andre meets Arnold.

Gamelan Son of Lion, a new music ensemble using Indonesian percussion instruments, will perform a program of original music and wayang kulit shadow puppets in the Hudson River Room. The shadow play tells of an encounter between the famous traitor Benedict Arnold and the dashing young spy Major Andre during the American Revolution. Music is by Barbara Benary, who also wrote the play, and puppets are courtesy of Barbara Pollitt. They are accompanied by additional new and traditional gamelan music by members of the ensemble.

Shadows of treason 2

Benedict Arnold meets his future wife and father-in-law.

Benary has a background in music composition and has written lots of chamber music for gamelan and for more conventional instruments, as well as two operas and a number of shorter plays. She’s a classical violinist who drifted into the field of ethnomusicology and Asian arts studies, and has been a longtime fan of the wayang kulit theatre. Pollitt is her talented neighbor with an extensive career in theatre as a mask maker, puppeteer and director. She has worked with Julie Taymor, New York Shakespeare and Lee Breuer, among others, and won an Obie award for her puppetry in Breuer’s “Epidog.”

Shadows of treason 3

The arrest of Major Andre.

Gamelan Son of Lion is a composer’s orchestra. For the past thirty years they have been premiering new pieces by the composer members and guest composers in New York City and in Rockland County. Their mission is to explore how gamelan instruments can be adapted to a wide variety of new music styles. They also play some traditional Javanese and Balinese music.

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This program is made possible, in part, with funds from the Community Arts Grants program of the Arts Council of Rockland and the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts.

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