School of Performing Arts, Surakarta


The Karawitan Gamelan music is inseparable with the life of Solonese since along time ago.

All levels of society enyoy this magical melody inherited from their ancestors. Preserving the gamelan art as first step, was considered as prime important in the earlier years of independence. Sri Mangkoenagoro VII & Prince Hadiwidjojo, were the main motivators.

Thus in 1950, in Surakarta a gamelan conservatory was established by Dept. Of Education & Culture. Local related experts were actively involved for this establishment.

Prince Soerio Hamidjojo was appointed as its first Director. Other prominent figures supported this school were among other Prince Djojokoesoemo, Mr. Iskandar, Mr. R. Wiranto, Dr. Moerdowo, R. Ng. Prodjopangrawit, Dr. Soeharso etc.

Among the famous alumni of Conservatory school SMKI Solo are:

Mr. S. Ngaliman & Mrs. Djoko Suhardjo - dance experts
Dr. Rahayu Supanggah – which is currently rector of STSI Surakarta.
Dr. Sutarno – expert of Wayang, Professor of STSI Solo.

In the first years of its existence, the gamelan trainning was conducted at Ndalem (Mansion) Suryomijayan with the courtesy of Prince Suriohamidjojo.

Nowadays SMKI as a school of Performing Arts has 3 subjects of study namely:

  • Karawitan Music
    Pentatonic (Traditional gamelan music)
    Diatonic (modern music)
  • Dance
  • Theater : Wayang puppet masters

The Education program

The school’s Principle (from 1992) Ms. Siti Ngadili who herself is a guru since 1977 said that alumni of SMKI are able to be independent professional, ready to work in their specialized subject. They should be able to preserve & develop our arts relevantly in accordance with the development of Indonesian society.

At the moment SMKI has 4 classes of dance, learning the Javanese dance style, Surakarta, Yogyakarta & Banyumas, as well as Balinese and Sundanese (West Javanese) dances.
2 classes of karawitan gamelan music.
1 class of Wayang puppet with more the 20 students.

The diatonic music class has more than 30 students.


The progress of the school are of course strongly supported by its assets, needless to say the first is its human resources and thru other facilities such as:


  • 7 sets of gamelan
  • 6 sets of wayang leather puppets
  • 1 set of wayang gedog
  • various musical instruments.

Lighting and sound system

A modern equipment installed in 1993 (co-operation with Spain), second phase shall be installed soon.

Electricity: adequate to stage performance, the capacity in the building is 23 KVA, additional moving gen-sets of 53 KVA.

Auditorium: which could accommodate 1000 persons

Pendapa (a Javanese mansion open hall)


The teachers together with the students are actively promoting their ability to fullfill the demand in the society.

SMKI has along and excellent relation with Karaton Surakarta and Puro Mangkunagaran, in case of necessity, it can supply them with dancers for instance for court festival etc. With regional Solonese administration to perform arts in various events such as the City birthday, guest entertainment etc.

Sometime they perform also in parties held by organizations or individuals.

The good name of SMKI, so far, by their prestige of achievement is an additional propaganda to its activity. The Wayang kulit fans know for sure that the dalang puppet masters, Purbo Asmoro & Warsito are SMKI Alumni.

It has also permanent contact with RRI (Radio Republic of Indonesia) and TV stations for art performance.

Next year (1999), a recording studio & audio visual will be installed. These equipment, the so called the 2nd Spanish project, should be operated efficiently.

It could be used also by third parties, on cooperation or lease basis.


Every Tuesday Kliwon (once in 35 days) at 08.00 p.m. a regular meeting to discuss Karawitan gamelan is held here, attended by around 70 local and foreign experts from the US, France, Denmark, Japan, etc. the topic is the digging out and preservation of old gamelan music.

SMKI stands on a 18.000 sqm of land, with address:
Jl. Sangihe
Kepatihan Wetan, Jebres
Surakarta 57129
Phone: 62-271-632225

For any information could contact its public relation section (Mr. Subagyo-Vice section head of PR)

Suryo S. Negoro

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