Nita Aartsen, who has been described as the ‘rising star’ of Classical and Jazz in Indonesia, is an Indonesian pianist and musician.
She was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and started learning the piano at the tender age of five. After spending three years in the Moscow Conservatory learning Contemporary Jazz, she returned to Indonesia in 1986, to take over as the state pianist of the Republic of Indonesia. In that role, which she held for over fifteen years, she had the privilege of playing for the then US president Bill Clinton as well as Prince Bernard of Holland amongst many other distinguished state guests. Simultaneously, she created a niche for herself in the world of Indonesian music, playing with and also arranging and composing for such established names as Erwin Gutawa, Dwiki Dharmawan, KLA Project, Indra Lesmana, Gilang Ramadhan, God Bless, Titi DJ etc. She also taught at one of Indonesia’s best music schools, Farabi, helping to build and inspire future musicians.
Between 1999 and 2000 she lived and worked in Holland, working with Dutch musicians in the studio and also at live performances. After returning to Jakarta in 2001, she started working towards her goal of taking Classical Music and Jazz to a larger audience. In the last eight years, she has done numerous TV and radio shows, played at events and concerts at home and abroad, held regular gigs at premium music venues in Jakarta and slowly built a strong foundation upon which to launch herself into the world stage. More recently she has played with Michael Paulo and Pauline Wilson from USA for the annual Java Jazz Festival.
All the hard work and dedication finally paid off when she received a three album recording contract with the Indonesian label, Platinum. She released her first album with the Nita Aartsen Quatro, titled ‘all nite out’ in 2009. It is a tour de force of Latin Jazz tracks, all of which are based on Classical or Jazz standards. Nita in her own indomitable style has taken something serious and sombre like Classical and has turned it into feet-tapping, hip-swaying Latino music with a generous helping of Jazz. The result is fun and enjoyable, to say the least. The album received good reviews in the Indonesian media and she has been doing concerts all over Indonesia to promote the album.
The star of Nita Aartsen is on the rise and we can expect more great music from this immensely talented artist in the years to come.