Dr. Alex Dea

Dr. Alex Dea

American-born Chinese Alex Dea trained in Western music and received an Ethnomusicology Ph. D from Wesleyan University, where he specialized in Javanese gamelan music and studied composition with avant-garde minimalist “Bad Boys” La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Robert Ashley. He studied voice culture from 1971 to 1975 with Pandit Pran Nath, master Hindustani singer. He was a member of Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music, and was the first tuning assistant for his masterpiece “The Well-Tuned Piano”.


Dedicated to full-time ethnography and research, living in Surakarta and Yogyakarta, Java Indonesia since 1992, he has studied with many of the last remaining masters of music, dance, and theatre of the pre-Independence era. These include Cokro Wasitodiningrat, Bu Bei Mardusari, Sastrotugiyo, Sri Hartono, Bu Yudonegoro, Mloyowidodo, and Suhardi.


As ethnographer-performer, he has documented over 1,000 hours of video, received permission to record in Yogyakarta Palace, and is the only non-Javanese to sing regularly in Surakarta Palace with title K.R.A.T Candradiningrat.


He performs and composes with both traditional classical and avant-garde approaches to create intercultural musical works.


He has collaborated  with Asia’s Didik Nini Thowok, the late Ben Suharto, Ramli Ibrahim, and others. In 2014, Maya Dance Theatre expanded his work, Angst Angel: Returns. He intertwines old classical and new avant-garde imagined histories and futures from the lush flower-bed of harmonic overtones.

Presentations