Undang Sumarna’s life has been devoted to the study of gamelan performance.
Born in a family that included numerous famous musicians, he was fortunate to be instructed in the Priangan style by one of Sunda’s greatest drummers, his grandfather Pak Kyat. He subsequently studied other music, dance, and theater traditions of his Sundanese homeland and of Cirebon, Central Java, and Bali.
Although Sumarna plays all West Javanese gamelan and folk instruments, most of his performances are with kendang (the conducting drum for gamelan) or in the tembang Sunda ensemble (embellished singing accompanied by kacapi suling, zither, and flute). Under his direction, the UCSC West Javanese Gamelan collaborates with guest artists and with Linda Burman-Hall of the Music Department and Kathleen Foley of the Theater Arts Department in presenting frequent performances of kliningan (listening music), sendratari (dance drama), wayang golek (rod puppet theater), pencak silat (martial arts dance), and angklung (bamboo rattle ensemble). Sumarna has recently been featured with the gamelan degung group Pusaka Sunda.
Former affiliations: Akademi Seni Tari Indonesia and Konservatori Karawitan, Bandung, West Java; University of California, Berkeley and Los Angeles.