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On Tuesday 8 October His Excellency Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, visited the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s headquarters for a special cross-cultural concert featuring MSO musicians and Indonesian dancers and renowned Indonesian choreographer, Didik Nini Thowok.

The Sultan and his delegation were visiting Melbourne for a two-day Creative Economy Forum to develop stronger relationships for the sector and cultural ties between Indonesia and Victoria.

Special guests attending the performance with the MSO included the Sultan, Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Mangkubumi of Yogyakarta, Mr Y. Kristiarto S. Legowo, Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, Ms Spica A. Tutuhatunewa, Indonesian Consul-General in Melbourne, Deputy Premier the Hon. James Merlino MP, and distinguished guests.

MSO Managing Director, Sophie Galaise said, “We were honoured to welcome the Sultan and a delegation from Yogyakarta to the MSO and share in this wonderful opportunity to showcase a collaborative performance program involving MSO musicians and Indonesian dancers.”

The program included a work by Australia Mark Holdsworth, the MSO’s Cybec Young Composer in Residence, who has family from Yogyakarta, and two dance pieces choreographed by Didik Nini Thowok and his dancers, one of which was set to Australian composer Iain Grandage’s ‘After Silence…’.

“This innovative event embodied everything the MSO strives for when building its partnerships. It fully represented collaborative spirit that exists between the MSO and Yogyakarta,” Galaise said.

The MSO has had a relationship with the Sultan since 2015 and through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Culture Special Region of Yogyakarta (recently extended another three years to 2021), works to present an inspired program of performances, annual Youth Music Camps, knowledge exchange and touring. In 2017 at the invitation of the Sultan the MSO was the first Western orchestra to perform outdoors at the UNESCO World Heritage Prambanan Temple Site.

The success of this relationship is based on the vision to promote sustainable bilateral relationships for Australia and Indonesia. This is achieved through repeated engagement which provides meaningful cross-cultural understanding for our respective countries. Underpinning this is a profound desire from both parties to build lasting people-to-people links.

In August 2019 the MSO delivered its fourth annual Youth Music Camp in Yogyakarta, leading to a performance featuring participants and MSO musicians. The MSO also presented cultural management workshops in Jakarta and Yogyakarta for arts administrators. The MSO will welcome its next intern musicians from Yogyakarta in October/November this year, and is working to return to Yogyakarta in June 2020.

The MSO warmly thanks His Excellency Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X and Princess Mangkubumi for their vision in bringing this partnership to life. The Orchestra also extends its great thanks to the Embassy and Melbourne Consulate for the Republic of Indonesia in Australia and Victorian Government for their great support of our ongoing engagement with this important cultural partner.

The MSO’s recent visit to Jakarta was proudly supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia now ASEAN 2019 celebration.

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