Ananda Sukarlan started his music lessons at the age of 5 from his older sister, Martani Widjajanti. After graduating from Kolese Kanisius (Canisius College, Jakarta) in 1986, he then went to Europe when he was 17, graduated with summa cum laude in 1993 from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague under the guidance of Naum Grubert and was a prize winner of many international competitions, such as the Nadia Boulanger Award of Orleans. He has performed in many overseas festivals with symphony orchestras and ensembles of Berlin, Rotterdam, nearly all symphony orchestras in Spain, Paris, Wellington as well as appearances in radios and TVs throughout Europe. He was the first Indonesian artist who established the cultural relationship between Portugal and Indonesia by performing as a soloist with the Portuguese National Symphony Orchestra in 2000, right after the re-opening of the diplomatic relationship between the two countries. He is the only Indonesian listed in the book “2000 outstanding musicians of the 20th century” and “The International Who’s Who in Music” published by Cambridge. Until the beginning of 2010 he has recorded 14 CDs, which include the complete piano works of Santiago Lanchares, David del Puerto, Jesus Rueda, Toru Takemitsu as well as works by Peter Sculthorpe, Amir Pasaribu, Trisutji Kamal, Theo Loevendie and of course himself.
– – As an equally successful composer, his works have been commissioned and performed by the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music, Indonesian Opera Society, among others. His collaboration with prominent choreographer Chendra Panatan has given birth to many works for ballet, performed both in Europe and Indonesia. His groundbreaking opera written for one soprano only, based on a monologue by Seno Gumira Ajidarma, “IBU — yang anaknya diculik itu” (Mother, whose son had been kidnapped) premiered in June 2009 in Jakarta. Until now he has written works for orchestra and instruments, but it is his production for voices, such as his more than 150 songs for voice and piano, choral works, 2 operas, 2 cantatas (“Ars Amatoria” and “LIBERTAS”) and theatre works that consolidated his high reputation as a composer by being frequently performed all around the world. Other celebrated chamber / solo works include the string quartet “Lontano” for Midori Goto and her quartet, a guitar solo piece for Miguel Trapaga, many works for piano solo (a series of Rapsodia Nusantara based on Indonesia folk melodies, a series of virtuosic Etudes, and 37 easy piano pieces compiled as “Alicia’s piano book”) and multiple pianos. Projects in 2014 include his third opera, “Clara”. He is also working on a series of musical works written for disabled musicians, on a commission by Fundacion Musica Abierta of Spain.
His works have been the object of studies for many doctoral thesis and other musical researches by many students, professionals, musicians and musicologists in the U.S, Europe and Australia.
He is a founding member of Musica Presente and of Yayasan Musik Sastra Indonesia.
Although a Muslim himself Ananda is highly critical of Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, whom he accuses of pandering to Islam extremists. When Baswedan showed up at a college reunion, Ananda chose to leave the room, an activity that he did spontaneously without asking anyone to follow what he did, as a declaration of his own views and morals. Hundreds of alumni, sharing the same views and moral conviction as Ananda also chose to leave the room with their own will. Unlike what most media reported, some attendants and alumni stayed until the end of Baswedan’s speech.
Honours and awards
- 1988, Amsterdam, Eduard Elipse Award in the Netherlands National Music Competition.
- 1993 First Prize “Nadia Boulanger” — Concours International d’Orleans (Orleans, France, 1993).
- 1993 First Prize “Xavier Montsalvatge” — Concurso de Musica del Siglo XX Xavier Montsalvatge, Ginora, Spain
- 1994 First Prize “Blanquefort Piano Competition”, Bordeaux, France
- 1995 First Prize and Special Prize for The Best Interpreter of Spanish Music “City of Ferrol Piano Competition”, Galicia, Spain
- 1995 Second Prize “Sweelinck-Postbank”, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 1995 Third Prize “Fundacion Guerrero Competition”, Madrid, Spain
- 1996 Second Prize “Vienna Modern Master Performers Recording Award”
- 2000 Outstanding Musicians of the 20th Century.
- 2001 Nominee Unesco Prize
- 2003 Mont Blanc Asia for his contribution for classical music industry in Indonesia
- The first Indonesian pianist to be written in The International Who’s Who in Music book.