Renowned British Composer Performs Kazakh Pieces in Almaty, Astana

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Karl Jenkins (l) and Marat Bisengaliev

The Almaty Symphony Orchestra, directed by well-known virtuoso violinist Marat Bisengaliev, recently performed Abai, Shakarim and Tlep by Karl Jenkins, a British composer named one of the most famous of modern times according to Classic FM Radio. The performances took place in Astana on May 10 and Almaty on May 13.

Karl Jenkins, who is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music, the University of Cardiff, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Trinity College Carmarthen and Swansea University, gave new life to the melodies, which nearly every Kazakh learns as a child. Before he started to work on his Kazakh projects, the British composer visited Kazakhstan several times in order to dive into the world of nomadic music and to learn about traditional Kazakh instruments.

The first outcome of these trips was a performance of Jenkins’ compositions with Kazakh melodies at Abai National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet on Nov. 12, 2013 in Almaty. This premiere was also accompanied by performances from Seishin’s art ballet troupe, the Kazyna Choir and the Kazakh singer Sitora Nazarova.

The Almaty Symphony Orchestra and Marat Bisengaliev recorded their debut CD in cooperation with Deutsche Grammophon records. The CD includes new works from Jenkins such as Abai and Shakarim that were composed for folk and orchestral instruments as well as for choirs. A year ago, the same programme was given at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

“We are very interested in being part of Marat Bisengaliev’s projects. I must say that Jenkins did his best in combining Kazakh, Scottish and contemporary music, without compromisingoriginal character,” Art Director of the Kazyna Choir Galymzhan Berekeshev said.

It was also said that Bisengaliev expressed his willingness to cooperate with the choir not only during concerts, but also in the near future in recording new tracks. The Kazakh violinist is famous for his progressive new ideas in music, which he showcases in his performances. His orchestra was the first in Kazakhstan to use LED instruments and touch-screen displays instead of sheet music, making in-the-dark performances possible.

Jenkins is not the only musician that the Kazakh violinist has cooperated with. It is expected that Bisengaliev will present his joint projects with Kazakh composer Sairambek Zhaksenbi, also known as Sairash and British composer Nigel Hitchcock in the near future.

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