GSJ’s mission is to foster artistic exchange between Bali and the United States through residencies, workshops, performances, and the creation of innovative new works of music and dance; and to share the excitement of this exchange with diverse audiences in California, the US, and abroad.

Impact: Global and Local

“The success of this group has far exceeded its founders’ wildest dreams as the ensemble has become an honored participant in the evolution of Bali’s musical culture.”

-The Boston Globe

“Most of Bali’s population of 2.8 million has seen Sekar Jaya in live performance and television broadcasts, and the group continues to receive special coverage from the Indonesian electronic and printed media…their cross-cultural works not only have been accepted eagerly by American and Indonesian audiences; their innovative compositions have directly stimulated creativity on the part of Balinese musicians themselves.”

-Andy Toth, Ethnomusicologist and former US Consular Agent in Bali

Gamelan Sekar Jaya is seen in Indonesia not only as a flowering of traditional Balinese arts in a distant land, but also as a laboratory for the creation of new ideas, many of which have an impact on artistic development in Bali. Through our Master Artists in Residency program, GSJ serves as an incubator for the world’s top creative minds in both traditional and innovative Balinese arts.

In 2000, during Gamelan Sekar Jaya’s fifth tour to Bali, the Governor of Bali awarded GSJ the Dharma Kusuma, Bali’s highest award for artistic achievement, never before awarded to a foreign group. The name “Sekar Jaya” is now a household term in Bali.

Locally, GSJ is a thriving multi-generational community that provides invaluable cross-cultural benefits to its members, the larger Bay Area community, and beyond. Through performance, educational programming, and community outreach, the group introduces thousands of people each year to the beauty and complexity of Balinese arts and culture. GSJ’s community, and the spirit of cultural exchange at its core, is also of great importance to the Indonesian population of northern California.


The word gamelan refers to several types of ensembles comprised of bronze, iron, wood, and/or bamboo percussion instruments, found throughout the Indonesian islands of Bali and Java. Gamelan Sekar Jaya is comprised of four kinds of gamelan —currently including angklung, gong kebyar, jegog, and gender wayang—as well as a dance ensemble. True to the Balinese tradition, GSJ musicians and dancers learn through direct imitation and training from teachers, without the aid of notation. In various combinations, these ensembles have presented over five hundred concerts in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

If you are interested in booking one of GSJ’s ensembles at your venue or event, please contact us. In addition to concert performances and classes at our Berkeley banjar, GSJ also hosts extensive educational programs. We offer workshops and classes in Bay Area schools and community centers, bringing the Balinese arts to diverse local audiences.


The gamelan angklung is one of the most popular types of orchestras in Bali, requiring about twenty musicians. Tuned to a four-tone scale in slendro tuning, the gamelan angklung presents a cheerful, open, and rhythmically intricate musical landscape, expressed in the fluid grace of its traditional repertoire.


The gamelan gong kebyar is the most prevalent type of bronze orchestra in Bali, requiring about 25 musicians. It takes its name from the dynamic kebyar style which was born in the early twentieth century-a time of tumultuous political and social change, reflected in music of contrasting moods, and powerful, virtuosic character.


GSJ’s Gamelan Jegog is one of the only ensembles of its kind outside of Bali. Originating from Western Bali, it is an orchestra of bamboo marimbas, with keys (tubes) ranging from small to gigantic. The largest tubes, up to three meters long, are used for the bass jegogan, for which the ensemble is named.


Music for the Balinese shadow puppet theater (wayang) is provided by four musicians playing ten-keyed gender—one of Bali’s most technically challenging yet rewarding instruments. Because of its role in dramatic accompaniment, music for the Gender Wayang ensemble is wide ranging both in mood and character.


Like Bali’s music traditions, Balinese dance encompasses a wide range of styles and forms. This is no surprise, since dance and music co-evolved and are seen as inseparable: Details of music and dance are tightly coordinated, and an ideal of perfect unity is sought in every gesture, nuance, expression, phrase, and rhythmic change.

Master Artists-in-Residence 

Since its founding in 1979, GSJ has had the great fortune to work under the direction and guidance of more than 50 of Bali’s most renowned artists, including many from the faculty of Bali’s National Institute of the Arts (ISI Denpasar). Artists are invited for extended residencies, ranging from one month to a year, and form the heart of our cross-cultural exchange. Artists-in-residence are a continual source of inspiration to GSJ’s members and audiences. They lead rehearsals and performances, and share their expertise with the public in workshops, school programs, and lecture-demonstrations.

In the Fall 2019 season, Gamelan Sekar Jaya will be guided by the artistry of:



GSJ is thrilled to welcome back co-founder I Wayan Suweca this season. Suweca is a revered senior master of Balinese gamelan, who is known for his powerful drumming style, subtle intricacy on gamelan gender wayang, and tremendous charisma as both a performer and a teacher. He served as senior faculty in the Music Department of ISI, Denpasar for over 25 years before retiring in 2013. His teaching experience extends to villages and cities all over the island of Bali, and abroad to many universities, including—Queensland University, Australia; Universite de Montreal, Canada; Yale University, CT; Brown University, RI; University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of California, (Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, & Berkeley); SF State University; California State University, Sonoma; and the University of Pittsburgh. 

He has been a lead musician and composer on tours to India, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Germany, Italy, France, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Belgium, & Mexico and holds an MFA from Insitut Seni Indonesia, Yogyakarta, (1985), a BA from Akademi Seni Tari Indonesia, Denpasar (1982), and BA from Antioch University, San Francisco, CA (1978). 

His work in the field has won him grants and fellowships from the following sources: J.D. Rockefeller the 3rd Fund, Asia Foundation, Brown University, and the Universite de Montreal. Additionally, Mr. Suweca has featured as performer, soloist, and/or composer on 35 commercial audio releases produced by the Bali Stereo, Aneka, and Maharani Recording Companies.



Among Bali’s most influential choreographers and dance scholars, I Wayan Dibia was born in the Central Balinese village of Singapadu, where he was raised and trained in a family of artists. Since 1970, Dibia has created innovative new works for contemporary audiences through experimentation with traditional elements of Balinese performing arts.

His formal education includes degrees from the prestigious Conservatory of Balinese Performing Arts (Kokar) and Indonesia Dance Academy (ASTI) Denpasar, as well as a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian Performing Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dibia joined the faculty of dance at the Indonesia Dance Academy in Denpasar in 1974. In 1982, he received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council in New York to pursue an MA in dance at UCLA. His Ph.D., also at UCLA, was supported by a 1987 Fulbright Hays award.

Dibia has written a number of books and articles, both in English and Bahasa Indonesia. As a performing artist he has toured to Asia, Europe, Australia, and The United States of America. From 1997 to 2002 he served as the Director of STSI Denpasar. While still teaching at STSI (now ISI Denpasar), Dr. Dibia has also opened a house for performing arts creativity, GEOKS, in his home village of Singapadu. From Fall 2005 through Spring 2007, he was a visiting fellow of Balinese performing arts at The College of Holy Cross, Massachusetts. In 2011, he was invited as a consultant to the exhibition entitled “Bali Dances for The Gods” at the Horniman Museum in London.