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Birzhan Khasangaliyev: “Our competition pays a great deal of attention to the role of the teacher”

Today, October 21, is the final day of the 2nd Republican Competition “Koshpendiler Auyeni - 2018” (“Nomad Tunes”) among young performers on national musical instruments and folk songs in Almaty. In an interview with, the director of the Almaty Musical College Birzhan Khasangaliyev spoke about the importance of this competition, his first performance, and his main childhood lessons and memories related to music.
Birzhan Khasangaliyev: “Our competition pays a great deal of attention to the role of the teacher”

The contest is organized by the P. Tchaikovsky Republican Musical College, Almaty, the First President Foundation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Elbasy, as well as the Nomad LIFE JSC.

- Birzhan Eskendirovich, there are quite a few creative competitions in Kazakhstan today. What is so special about your competition?

- Obtaining independence has opened up great prospects for the revival and development of Kazakh folk-professional music. Among the different strata of our society, there is a desire to study and master folk instruments and traditional song art, which origins go back centuries, in times of nomadic lifestyle. The contests which purpose is to support talented young people have begun to appear in different regions of Kazakhstan. Today, the competition tradition has shifted towards the western regions, as well as to the capital, Astana.

The creation of the competition “Koshpendiler Aueni” sets the task to bring together in one competition the main directions of the Kazakh national performing art - dombyra, kobyz, and traditional singing. Each nomination is named after the great figures of folk music Kurmangazy, Korkyt, Mukhit.

The difference is that in our competition a lot of attention is paid to the teacher’s role. The provision states that 50% of the prize money should be received by the teacher who prepared the laureate.

This year, “Kushpendіler Aueni” has become a full partner of the International Festival of Artistic Youth “Zhas Star” organized by the First President Foundation Elbasy, which will certainly expand the boundaries and scope of the project.

- Do you remember your first competition?

- It was the Dvarionas international competition of young pianists in Vilnius, Lithuania. I was only 6 years old then. Of course, my parents accompanied me. What is interesting, I did not worry at all back then, apparently, because of the young age. As a result, I became a diploma winner. I remembered those times very well, because it seemed to me that I got on a different planet. Though it was one country the USSR; the city was very different from ours. People were different as well, real Europeans.

- What bata, parting words, can you give to the contest participants?

- First of all, do not be nervous; stay collected during the performance of the competitive program. Go ahead and not be afraid! Most importantly, be prepared.  And this is achieved only by intense studies. Participation in the competition is the result of many months of preparatory work. Therefore, practice, practice, and practice again!

- What are the main lessons given to you by your teachers?

- I had a lot of mentors and teachers in life. Therefore, to me the main lesson is to choose the path with your heart, do what is interesting to you, listen to the music that affects the strings of your soul, and implement projects that will be beneficial for many people.

- What is your favorite folk tune and song?

- I love Kazakh folk songs very much, especially the song “Ak Bayan”, for its simplicity and genius. I like to listen to different music. The key point is that it should be written by a gifted composer and performed by a talented musician. And no matter what style or direction this music is in. I myself like to sing songs that are the combination of beautiful lyrics and melody.

- What are your childhood and youth memories related to folk music?

- When I was 4 years old, my dad took me to a concert. As far as I remember, it was a government concert dedicated to some event. I fell asleep, and apparently missed many acts. However, I woke up when the Otyrar Sazy orchestra led by Nurgisa Tlendiyev started playing. I was impressed by the manner of the conductor, and music that I heard. I think it was the poem "Makhambet". The sounds of folk instruments, the very sound of this wonderful composition stuck out in my mind. It was my first acquaintance with the Kazakh folk music back then.  That is when my love for folk instruments originated in me, which has remained in me for the rest of my life.


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