Cempaka Petak

Balinese gamelan

Duration: 9 min.

Katherine Hagedorn was my colleague and dear friend for nearly twenty years at the Claremont Colleges, an inspiring scholar and teacher known for her study of Afro-Cuban music. The night after I heard of her passing, a melody came to me in a dream. With the help of I Nyoman Wenten and other friends, I have fashioned it into a piece for Gamelan Giri Kusuma, the Balinese ensemble that Katherine founded and directed at Pomona College. In it, I tried to give solo expressions to several of her friends. As we put it together, I was later reminded of the blessing given by the goddess Ochún to Katherine on the occasion of her religious initiation: "The good day is known from the dawn." Nyoman Wenten bestowed the title of this piece. Cempaka Petak is a pure white flower from Bali, and Wenten says it is "the most beautiful and fragrant flower, symbolizing Katherine's pure heart and love she gave to her family, friends, and students."