Chemistry for Gamelan & Piano

ZOFO | Brian Baumbusch | Putu Septa & Nata Swara


Chemistry for Gamelan and Piano is a new intercultural music collaboration between one of Bali's most exciting contemporary gamelan ensembles, Nata Swara, performing under the direction of Balinese composer and virtuoso performer Putu Septa, who performs alongside the scorching and internationally renowned piano-four-hands duo ZOFO, featuring Swiss pianist Eva-Maria Zimmerman and Japanese pianist Keisuke Nakagoshi, all of whom have been gathered together by composer and musical envoy, Brian Baumbusch. Their music showcases the thrilling potential of bringing brilliant minds and hands together to draw from disparate cultural reservoirs in order to concoct a new musical idiom that is both accessible and inconspicuously complex. Nata Swara and Baumbusch began working together in 2021, when Baumbusch donated two sets of "American Gamelan" instruments that he had designed and built over the course of a decade to Putu Septa and Nata Swara; this was the first instance of a set of "gamelan" instruments built outside of Indonesia being sent to Indonesia for local musicians to develop new repertoire and performance practices. Building on this relationship, Baumbusch then began to work with ZOFO to develop a repertoire that could combine the musical forces of Nata Swara with the kaleidoscopic tapestry of piano-four-hands into a new music that draws from traditional Balinese temple music and 20th century American minimalism alike. This project offers presenters a rare and luscious musical repertoire paired with enriching and deeply informed educational presentations offered by Baumbusch, Septa, and ZOFO by way of masterclasses, lectures, gamelan workshops, and concert talks. 


  • Kendang Tunggal (Balinese paired drumming demonstration with Putu Septa and Baumbusch)
  • Gender Wayang performance (2 Balinese musicians playing on a pair of interlocking metallophones)
  • Prisms for Gene Davis by Brian Baumbusch (full group, meaning piano four-hands, two balinese drummers, and Baumbusch on percussion)
  • Balinese Ceremonial Music transcribed by Colin McPhee for two pianos, arranged for one-piano four hands by Eva-Maria Zimmermann (ZOFO)
  • Speech Delay for Gender Wayang by Ni Nyoman Srayamurtikanti (Balinese shadow-puppet theater instruments), arranged for one-piano four hands by Brian Baumbusch (ZOFO)
  • New piece for ZOFO by Putu Septa (ZOFO)
  • Tombeau (Piano-four-hands and two Balinese gender-wayang interlocking metallophones)
  • Penrose by Brian Baumbusch (Nata Swara and ZOFO)
  • Penrose Prologue by Brian Baumbusch, 10 minute excerpt for one-piano four hands only (ZOFO)



Master Class

ZOFO offers their chamber music workshop/master class on piano-4-hands repertoire.


The Balinese musicians, in conjunction with Brian Baumbusch, offers a 1-2 hour lecture/workshop on Balinese music that includes a demonstration on Balinese instruments. This workshop could be spread across several days wherein the participants could learn to play a full (simple) piece from the gamelan repertoire. This offering features a short demonstration from the Balinese musicians on how Balinese musical structure works, particularly the aspect of duo-interconnectivity and rhythmic interlocking, which is central to Balinese musical structure and also has an interesting parallel with the piano-four-hands world. 

Global Music Composition

Brian Baumbusch offers a lecture, demonstration, or master class on composition, or if appealing to be more specific, “global music composition” where students will learn how to compose music that caters to intercultural collaboration, and talk about some experiences as well as considerations regarding effective collaborations with musicians from other parts of the globe, particularly centered on his experiences in Bali.

Pre-Concert Talk

The concert itself offers a pre-concert talk where the audience will learn more about the form of the music on the program, as well as hear about the process of how these musicians found a way to collaborate while coming from disparate traditions and geographical regions. 




Find more information about ZOFO here.

Brian Baumbusch

Composer, instrument designer, and musicologist Brian Baumbusch’s work, while innovative within the global contemporary music community, is deeply in dialogue with cross-cultural exchanges. Baumbusch’s compositional work is centered on developing alternative acoustics paradigms through the creation of new instruments and tuning systems, and originating new performance practices that feature computer-assisted live performance and recording projects in order to achieve performances of inconspicuously complex polytempo music. Between 2007 and 2010, Baumbusch was deeply engaged in ethnomusicological field work centered on Argentine-Quechua folklore music. From 2012 to the present, Baumbusch has collaborated with several of Bali’s leading performing ensembles, and his works have premiered at the Bali Arts Festival. At the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Baumbusch began creating new compositions that performers could collaborate on remotely by recording in isolation to individualized click tracks in order to cooperatively create complex polytempo structures. These include the symphonic length Isotropes, recorded by roughly 150 musicians between 2020 and 2021, and the evening length Polytempo Music, designed as a VR experience where the listener can interact with the music in a real-time spatial audio environment. Baumbusch resides in Alameda, CA. and teaches at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Putu Septa

I Putu Adi Septa Suweca Putra (Putu Septa) is a contemporary Balinese composer and performer, and the founder and artistic director of Nata Swara, an art community and performing ensemble located inside Padangtegal Village in Ubud, Bali. Septa actively composes diverse styles of music that connect local and international musicians with both traditional and newly designed instruments. As a performer, Septa is a senior member of Gamelan Salukat, led by Balinese composer Dewa Alit. As a musician and a gamelan teacher, Septa is engaged in artistic cultural activities with many diverse communities. As a teenager, Septa founded a children’s gamelan club for children aged 5-12 in his village. Many of those young students have matured to become part of his ensemble Nata Swara, and several of them have gone on to join Gamelan Salukat. His compositions include instrumental music with diverse instrumentations involving both Indonesian and global instruments, collaborations with dance choreographers, music for film, and experimental electronic music, among others. His devotion to traditional gamelan music started from childhood, when he drew inspiration from his grandfather, I Ketut Genjet, who’s role as a musical leader in his community was an inspiration to Septa. Septa regularly performs and tours with Gamelan Salukat, Gamelan Yuganada, and Shangrila. He holds a degree in music composition from ISI Denpasar, and resides in Ubud, Bali.

Nata Swara

Nata Swara is an art community that focuses on the explorations of traditional and contemporary gamelan music. The repertoire commissioned and performed by Nata Swara offers young gamelan musicians and composers the opportunity to explore new musical directions at the highest caliber. Nata Swara was established in 2011, in Padangtegal village, Ubud, Bali, which still serves as its home base. Nata Swara performs on a variety of different sets of gamelan instruments, including Gamelan Sada Sancaya, a large orchestra of extended range bronze instruments designed by Putu Septa; two sets of instruments created by American composer Brian Baumbusch; and a newly developed instrument set consisting of a varied collection of Balinese kendang drums called Kendang Briuk, of which Nata Swara has commissioned several new works for. Nata Swara actively engages in deepening the well of repertoire of both traditional and contemporary gamelan music, while collaborating with musicians and composers from within Bali and abroad. 

Ni Nyoman Srayamurtikanti

Srayamurtikanti is a stage name of Ni Nyoman Srayamurtikanti. She is a musician and a composer based in Balinese traditional music (Balinese Gamelan). Sraya’s works often concern gamelan instrumental, innovative, vocal, and experimental music on Balinese gamelan. Sraya’s arts are developed by exploring the possibilities of composing and playing gamelan, musician’s movement, and space responses. She currently performed her compositions “Empowerment” at the SouthEast Asian Music Symposium (Bangkok, Thailand), “Nuutsih” at Pekan Komponis Indonesia (Jakarta, Indonesia), “Speech Delay” at Music Gamelan Creative Competition (Bali) and The Northern California Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (NCCSEM), “Himpit” at Rocky Mountain Gamelan Bali Festival (Denver, Colorado-USA), “To Reckon through Complexities” Collaboration with Gabi Motuba (South Africa) at Mutual Mentorship of Musicians (New York, USA), “Just Us” Collaboration with Aine Nakamura at Center for New Music (San Francisco, California-USA), etc. Sraya is a Gamelan Guest Artist Bali Teacher at Gamelan Sekar Jaya based in Berkeley, California (2022-2024) and a Guest Artist Teacher/Instructor at Gamelan Bali Class at the University of California, Berkeley.