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I Gusti Agung Ngurah Supartha 1943 – 2007  

by on Saturday, 3 March 20072 Comments | 2,045 views

I Gusti Agung Ngurah Supartha, known to many in the USA through his spirited work at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington D.C., and in many programs throughout the world, died today in Bali. It was very sudden, apparently of a heart attack, his family reported.

Pak Supartha was active as a choreographer, composer and dalang, and often performed with members of his family. He was enthusiastic about classical Balinese arts as well as innovations that extended the traditions he loved. Pak Supartha dedicated his life to bringing the arts of Bali to everyone, from teaching beginning kecak to college students on three continents to organizing 5000 Balinese artists for the record-breaking CAKolosal in September of 2006.

In 1991, I called the Indonesian Embassy to see if there were artists available perform in the first Planet Gamelan festival at Dartmouth. Pak Supartha, part of the cultural division at the time, assured me that he could arrange for participants. He later arrived at our home in van with 14 dancers, complete with costumes and instruments! Fortunately we had just moved in, and had enough furniture-free rooms to carpet with futons so everyone would have a place to sleep. It was my first introduction to this gregarious, enthusiastic, generous artist; he was a sincere and singular ambassador for the arts of Indonesia.

jody diamond, 1 march 2007

(Most of this information was provided by Francine Liem and the Supartha family, with some research. I am sure there is much more to be said, and I apologize for any ommissions or errors.)

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    • Bulantrisna said:

      I am very shocked and sad by the passing of my long time friend Ngurah, and pray for his soul to be with Sanghyang Widhi in peace..
      Very surprised to see the Legong background of the blog, with me in the middle in meditation.. so appropriate.. many thanks to the blog managers.. Bulantrisna Djelantik

    • Greg Corbin said:

      I remember Ngurah’s childlike sense of humor. The first time that I spoke to him was on the telephone, where I was inquiring at the Indonesian Embassy, if I could come and watch some of the music. His response was “No,….”, silence, …”but you can come and play.” (On a side note – please don’t publish this part, I don’t think I have actually met you. I had stopped performing with the gamelan when I took an unusually difficult employment that required 7 days a week work. I live just up the street from Francine. Another funny thing was that we both kept coming to practices in Wash D.C. One night we got a ride from the Supartha’s after a performance and found out that we were neighbors and never knew it. You have a wonderful site here with lots of great photos. Do you by chance know where I could purchase any DVD of the old black and white footage of Bali from the 30’s and 40’s. I’ve seen very short clips from Margaret Mead included on some programs about Bali, but would really like to see more. The Library of Congress of course has stuff, but it seems difficult to arrange any private viewing. Well thank you for such an enjoyable website. Someday we might meet. Sincerely, Greg Corbin

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