Joko Sutrisno
Lecturer - Ethnomusicology, Director of Music of Java Ensemble

Joko Sutrisno is a native speaker of Javanese and Indonesian languages, born in Central Java, and began learning gamelan music from his father at 5 years of age. Since 2002, Sutrisno has worked as the Artistic Director of Sumunar Gamelan and Dance Ensemble, a community-based group in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Through teaching, performances, and community outreach, he promotes an understanding of and appreciation for Indonesian gamelan music, dance, and culture. With his strong leadership skills and his student-centered teaching style, Sumunar has achieved a high level of playing that has resulted in many prominent performances. Prior to moving to Minnesota, Sutrisno worked for Education, Cultural, Social and Information Affairs of the Indonesian Embassy in New Zealand and taught gamelan music at the Victoria University of Wellington 1987–1995. Sutrisno also served as adjunct faculty at the College of Saint Catherine in Saint Paul 1995–1999.

Concurrent with his work with Sumunar, he has extensive experience leading college-level gamelan programs. He has been the Consulting Director at Hamilton College since 1997, Saint Thomas University (St. Paul) since 2016, and Concordia College (Moorhead) since 2019. Prior to his work at these institutions, there were no gamelan programs. He began by conducting workshops for their students, and gradually all three World Music professors learned how to play and teach gamelan with Sutrisno’s guidance. Now, they have their own sets of gamelan instruments and established gamelan programs that continue to grow to the next level.

Sutrisno has also initiated gamelan programs and taught students at the K-12 levels. Since 1997, he has been listed on the roster of Teaching Artists with the award-winning Community Programs in the Arts (COMPAS) to do school residencies teaching gamelan music and shadow puppetry. He has done 170 residencies, reaching thousands of students throughout Minnesota.

As an educator for the last 35 years, Sutrisno has experience working with students from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of goals and needs, including people from underrepresented groups. For example, in 2022, he taught a one-month intensive course to 35 artists with disabilities which culminated in a public performance at the Interact Center in St. Paul.

As a composer, he has created more than 20 new works based on collaborations between gamelan and many other different art forms such as western symphony orchestra and choir music, Indian music, Chinese music, Arabic and Middle Eastern music, and West African music, to name a few.

He has received numerous local, national, and international awards, most recently: Creative Individuals from Minnesota State Arts Board (2022, 2023); Arts Impact for Individuals from Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, St. Paul (2022, 2023); Arts Initiative from Minnesota State Arts Boards (2018); Outstanding Alumni Award from the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Surakarta (2018); McKnight Composer Fellowship (2016); and the Twin Cities Ivey Award for musical design and direction (2014).

During his leisure time, he enjoys playing pickleball.


Bachelor of Arts with Honors (1987), Indonesian Institute of Arts (ISI) in Surakarta, Indonesia. Focused on performance of diverse repertoire of Javanese gamelan music with a specialty in solo performance of the kendhang (drums) and a minor in new gamelan music composition.

Outstanding Student Award (1985, Indonesian Ministry of Education: academic achievement, #1 of 1250 students

Bachelor of Arts (1985), Indonesian Institute of Arts (ISI) in Surakarta, Indonesia
Major:  Traditional Gamelan music

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