From Spanish Elegance to Royal Encounters: Ananda Sukarlan's Remarkable Week of Recognition


In a historic moment for Indonesian classical music, the acclaimed composer and pianist Ananda Sukarlan was honored with the Royal Order of Isabella the Catholic on Friday, November 17th, 2023. This distinguished Spanish civil order of chivalry is granted to individuals and institutions in recognition of extraordinary services to the homeland or the promotion of international relations.

Ananda Sukarlan, known for his outstanding contributions to the world of classical music, is the first Indonesian citizen to receive this prestigious medal. The honor, typically bestowed by the King of Spain, was presented by His Excellency, The Ambassador of Spain to Indonesia, Mr. Francisco Aguilera Aranda, on behalf of King Felipe VI. The event, held at the Jimbaran Hall, Gran Melia Hotel in Jakarta, marked a historic moment as the first Indonesian classical music performance that went viral on social media, with the hashtag #EspanaIndonesia trending at number 6 on Twitter.

Ananda Sukarlan with The Ambassador of Spain to Indonesia, Mr. Francisco Aguilera Aranda 

The Orden de Isabel la Catolica, created in 1815 by King Ferdinand VII, is considered the highest civil honor granted by the Kingdom of Spain for outstanding services to the homeland. Ananda Sukarlan's recognition adds another accolade to his impressive list of achievements, including the knighthood "Cavaliere Ordine della Stella d'Italia" bestowed by President Sergio Mattarella in 2020 and his appointment as an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club in Jakarta.

In his acceptance speech, Ananda Sukarlan expressed his gratitude, stating, "I'm an artist, and I'm just doing my job bringing forth beauty and peace through music. Indonesia is my birth country, and Spain has brought me up and nurtured me since I graduated from Holland, so it's natural that I owe great gratitude to those countries."

Ananda Sukarlan with Prince Edward


Exactly one week later, on Friday, November 24th, Ananda Sukarlan had the honor of meeting Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, during his visit to Jakarta. The meeting took place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where Ananda showcased his musical prowess by playing "Rapsodia Nusantara no. 39," based on the East Nusa Tenggara song "Oras Loro Malirin," composed for the left hand only. The piece left a lasting impression, and Ananda Sukarlan took the opportunity to discuss educational cooperation with England, offering the composition for this purpose.

As the year comes to a close, Ananda Sukarlan is gearing up for two significant projects. Sony Classical is set to release his latest composition, "The Springs of Vincent," inspired by the spring paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, performed by flutist Eduard Sanchez. Additionally, the documentary film "Rainha Boki Raja" will be launched in Indonesia, featuring a soundtrack composed by Ananda Sukarlan and narrated by renowned actress Christine Hakim.

Ananda Sukarlan's journey from the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag to international recognition reflects his dedication to the world of classical music, and these recent honors only add to his legacy as a distinguished composer and pianist.

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