Jody Diamond

Last updated
Jody Diamond
Jody Diamond.JPG
Jody Diamond in 2008
Jody Diamond

(1953-04-23) April 23, 1953 (age 69)
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley (B.A. Music, Communication, and Culture)
San Francisco State University (M.A. Interdisciplinary Studies in Music and Education)
Occupation(s)Composer, performer, writer
Known forFounder, American Gamelan Institute (1981). Artist in Residence of Harvard University 2007–2017.

Jody Diamond (born Pasadena, California, April 23, 1953) is an American composer, performer, writer, publisher, editor, and educator. She specializes in traditional and new music for Indonesian gamelan and is active internationally as a scholar, performer, and publisher.



She received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1977, and an M.A. from San Francisco State University in 1979, pursuing interdisciplinary studies in music, anthropology, and education.

Diamond founded (in 1981) and directs the American Gamelan Institute and edits its journal, Balungan . She is also a co-founder and co-director, with Larry Polansky, of Frog Peak Music (a composers' collective).

She received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Regional Research Fellowship to survey contemporary music in Indonesia (1988–89), as well as two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for work on Indonesian composers (1991), and for work on the gamelan music of Lou Harrison (2007).

She has created numerous works for gamelan, some based on songs from various traditions. Her works have been performed internationally. She is often a guest composer/performer with Gamelan Son of Lion, notably for their participation in the Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival in 1996. She performed her own work in 1997 with Sapto Raharjo and Ben Pasaribu, and wrote an article for the Leonardo Music Journal with an epilogue by Sutanto on the "Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival 1997." A CD of her compositions for Javanese gamelan, "In That Bright World" on New World Records, was recorded by musicians of ISI Surakarta in 2001.

Diamond was an Artist in Residence in the Music Department of Harvard University (2007–2017), using the instruments of Gamelan Si Betty, built by Lou Harrison and William Colvig, for collaborative projects and an open performance group Gamelan SiBetty and the Viewpoint Composers' Gamelan. At Dartmouth College in Hanover NH, she was a Senior Lecturer in AMES (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) and Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble Director, (1990– 2016) with Lipur Sih ("Comforting Your Loved Ones") a Javanese gadon built by Tentrem Sarwanto of Surakarta in Central Java, as well as the Balinese Gamelan Angklung Sleeping Fox. She has also taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Mills College, Goddard College, Bates College, Franklin Pierce College, and Monash University in Australia. In 2017, Diamond was an Affiliated Artist at MIT, where she collaborated with Evan Ziporyn on concerts for Lou Harrison's centennial year.

Diamond was the gamelan teacher and arranger for the American composer Lou Harrison from 1976 until his death in 2003. His largest Javanese-style gamelan, Gamelan Si Betty, was bequeathed to Diamond by Harrison and his partner William Colvig. She is also the owner of the Harrison/Colvig ensemble Old Granddad #4, the fourth set of instruments called the American Gamelan.

Selected works


Diamond, Jody

1998 "Out of Indonesia: Global Gamelan," Ethnomusicology Vol. 42, No. 1, Winter 1998, pp. 174–183. Reviews of a large number of recording by gamelan groups outside of Indonesia.

1992 "Interaction: New Music for Gamelan." Notes to accompany CD of same title, in Leonardo Music Journal, V. 2.

1990 "There Is No They There." Musicworks, no. 47, pp. 12–23.

1987 "'In the Beginning Was the Melody': the gamelan music of Lou Harrison." in A Lou Harrison Reader, Santa Fe:Soundings Press, pp. 100–103.

1979 "Modes of Consciousness and the Learning Process: an Alternative Model for Music Education." M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State.


    Related Research Articles

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Gamelan</span> Traditional ensemble music of Indonesia

    Gamelan is the traditional ensemble music of the Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese peoples of Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. The most common instruments used are metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang/Kendang, which register the beat. The kemanak and gangsa are commonly used gamelan instruments in Bali. Other instruments include xylophones, bamboo flutes, a bowed instrument called a rebab, a zither-like instrument siter and vocalists named sindhen (female) or gerong (male).

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Lou Harrison</span> American composer (1917–2003)

    Lou Silver Harrison was an American composer, music critic, music theorist, painter, and creator of unique musical instruments. Harrison initially wrote in a dissonant, ultramodernist style similar to his former teacher and contemporary, Henry Cowell, but later moved toward incorporating elements of non-Western cultures into his work. Notable examples include a number of pieces written for Javanese style gamelan instruments, inspired after studying with noted gamelan musician Kanjeng Notoprojo in Indonesia. Harrison would create his own musical ensembles and instruments with his partner, William Colvig, who are now both considered founders of the American gamelan movement and world music; along with composers Harry Partch and Claude Vivier, and ethnomusicologist Colin McPhee.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Gamelan surakarta</span> Indonesian musical instrument

    Gamelan surakarta A typical large, double gamelan in contemporary solo (Surakarta) will include, in the sléndro set, one saron panerus, two saron barung, one or two saron demung, one gendér panerus, one gender barung, one slenthem, one bonang panerus and one bonang barung, one gambang kayu, one siter or celempung, one rebab, one suling, one pair of kethuk and kempyang, one set of three to five kenong, one set of three to five kempul, one to three gong suwukan, and one gong ageng.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">American gamelan</span>

    American gamelan could refer to both instruments and music; the term has been used to refer to gamelan-style instruments built by Americans, as well as to music written by American composers to be played on gamelan instruments. American gamelan music usually has some relationship to the gamelan traditions of Indonesia, as found primarily on the islands of Java and Bali in a variety of styles. Many American compositions can be played on Indonesian or American-made instruments. Indonesian gamelan can be made of a variety of materials, including bronze, iron, or bamboo. American gamelan builders used all sorts of materials including aluminum, tin cans, car hubcaps, steel, antique milk-strainers, etc. American gamelan may also describe the original music of American ensembles working with traditional instruments.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Dennis Murphy (musician)</span>

    Dennis Murphy was a composer, musician, instrument maker, artist, and playwright.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Gamelan Son of Lion</span>

    Gamelan Son of Lion (GSOL) is a new-music American gamelan ensemble based in New York City. The group was founded in 1976 by Barbara Benary, Philip Corner, and Daniel Goode. It is a composers' collective as well as repertory ensemble. Current composers in the group in addition to the co-founders are: David Demnitz, Laura Liben, Jody Kruskal, Lisa Karrer, Marnen Laibow-Koser, Jody Diamond, and David Simons.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Gendèr</span> Indonesian musical instrument used in Gamelan

    A gendèr is a type of metallophone used in Balinese and Javanese gamelan music. It consists of 10 to 14 tuned metal bars suspended over a tuned resonator of bamboo or metal, which are tapped with a mallet made of wooden disks (Bali) or a padded wooden disk (Java). Each key is a note of a different pitch, often extending a little more than two octaves. There are five notes per octave, so in the seven-note pélog scale, some pitches are left out according to the pathet. Most gamelans include three gendèr, one for sléndro, one for pelog pathet nem and lima, and one for pelog pathet barang.

    Notation plays a relatively minor role in the oral traditions of Indonesian gamelan but, in Java and Bali, several systems of gamelan notation were devised beginning at the end of the 19th century, initially for archival purposes.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">K. P. H. Notoprojo</span> Indonesian musician

    Kanjeng Pangeran Harjo Notoprojo, also known as Tjokrowasito, Wasitodipuro, Wasitodiningrat, among other names, was one of the most highly respected performers of Javanese gamelan. He led the Paku Alaman palace gamelan as well as the gamelan for the Radio Republik Indonesia Yogyakarta, and taught gamelan in universities around the world. He was also a noted composer and rebab performer.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Bedhaya</span> Indonesian sacred dance

    The bedhaya is a sacred, ritualised Javanese dance of Java, Indonesia, associated with the royal palaces of Yogyakarta and Surakarta. Along with the srimpi, the bedhaya epitomized the elegant character of the royal court and became an important symbol of the ruler's power.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Kroncong</span> Genre of Indonesian folk and traditional popular music

    Kroncong is the name of a ukulele-like instrument and an Indonesian musical style that typically makes use of the kroncong. A kroncong orchestra or ensemble traditionally consists of a flute, a violin, at least one, but usually a pair of kroncongs, a cello in pizzicato style, string bass in pizzicato style, and a vocalist. Kroncong originated as an adaptation of a Portuguese musical tradition, brought by sailors to Indonesian port cities in the 16th century. By the late 19th century, kroncong reached popular music status throughout the Indonesian archipelago.

    The American Gamelan Institute (AGI) is an organization devoted to promoting and documenting all forms of gamelan, the performing arts of Indonesia, and their international counterparts.

    (Joseph) Vincent McDermott was a classically trained American composer and ethnomusicologist. His works show particular influence from the musics of South and Southeast Asia, particularly the gamelan music of Java. He was among the second generation of American composers to create and promote new compositions for gamelan.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Gamelan Sekaten</span> Style of gamelan music

    The Gamelan Sekaten is a ceremonial gamelan from central Java, Indonesia, played during the annual Sekaten festival. The word "sekaten" itself is derived from syahadatain or shahada, the first requirement for converting into Islamic faith. Traditionally it is played once per year, on the occasion of Mawlid, Muhammad's birthday, for the week from the 6-12 of the month of Mulud. On this celebration it is brought from the palace at 11 pm to two pavilions before the Great Mosque. It is played every day during that week except the Thursday night/Friday morning. On the eve of the birthday proper, it is returned at 11 pm.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Betty Freeman</span> Arts patron and photographer

    Betty Freeman was an American philanthropist and photographer.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Daniel Schmidt (musician)</span> Musical artist

    Daniel Schmidt is an American composer and builder of American gamelan. He currently teaches gamelan and instrument building at Mills College. He is also a long-time collaborator with composer Paul Dresher.

    Gamelan Pacifica is an American musical ensemble, as well as a non-profit music and dance foundation that focuses on cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration. Formed as a community group in 1980, the group plays the gamelan, and is as of 2022 ensemble in residence at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. The ensemble is directed by Jarrad Powell.

    Jonathon Grasse is an American composer, ethnomusicologist, and improvising electric guitarist. He is a professor of music at California State University, Dominguez Hills.