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Moscow in My Heart

Celebrating Moscow’s 850th anniversary
Kazakhstan people talking about Moscow
Jania Aubakirova, people’s artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan, laureate of the International Piano Competition

Moscow is 850 years old. It is impossible to realize to the full extent this fact about one of the biggest megalopolises of our planet. My heart tells me that the immense and unconditional love to Moscow and to its citizens comes from a strong feeling of unity, sharing of the blessed atmosphere of the city, calm confidence that the city is meant to be the place of cultural, spiritual, moral and social life. People living on the 1/6th of the earth all share this one virtue which never loses its value – the spiritual and cultural space. It was created and nurtured by numerous generations of creators. Poets and writers, politicians and economists, culturologists and philosophers, musicians and artists created during “iron curtain” and during good times, creating masterpieces of human spirit, unreachable for speculators, and these masterpieces became national treasure of the people who have this strange and fading name – soviet people. Only when the time passes, and when the inevitable change of values comes one can see the uniqueness of the historical moment, where the access to the spiritual values for the people of a huge country was completely free.

The unique atmosphere of its cultural life and the talent concentration are the main ingredients of all the wonderful processes. Everlasting monuments – the Bolshoy, Great Hall of the Conservatory, Mariinsky theatre, Hermitage; Cultural guests – Kyiv, Minsk, Baltic countries, Georgia. Names – Sakharov, Solzhenitsyn, Richter, Gilels, Oystrach, Rostropovich. All the processes of bringing democracy to the society, magazines, newspapers, “backrooms”, stores, restructuring, hopes… Strong, deep and bright impressions of the theatre premieres, ballet shows, exhibitions, tours of the musicians – all these have found their place in the soul and left very special feelings.

I was lucky to study in the Moscow Conservatory. This was a place that cultivated such qualities as high professionalism, wise attention to cultural values, traditions, the ability to grow and bring new traditions, passion to the professional growth. It is so often that these necessary features of education are declared on paper, and remain being nothing more but good words and intentions. Nevertheless, every time the Conservatory successfully managed to create that highly demanded “product” that was carefully grown, nurtured and inspired by the teachers of this wonderful conservatory. Any prominent achievements in the musical world have to do with the graduates of the Moscow conservatory, and reveal their deep connection with Russian or Soviet musical school. This fact is acknowledged by the global musical community. The unique faculty staff resembles powerful tree trunk that grows beautiful crown of performers. I am naming only pianists – L.N. Vlasenko, E.V. Malinin, L.N. Naumov, V.V. Gornostayeva, V.K. Merzhanov, M.V. Voskresensky and many others. We have experienced together so many beautiful moments, sharing the “spiritual food”. We never missed a concert, passionately struggling for the tickets, and then listening to quartet art of Borodin, Virsaladze, duet of Kachan and Gutman, discovering Schnitke, Denisov, Gubaidullina. We all shared the thirst to play music, and now, thinking back to those moments, I realize how deeply they are embedded in the soul, always bringing never-ending longing for romanticism, spirituality and excitement.  

I remember how I had to play Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto, having G.N. Rozhdestvensky at the second piano. He is an outstanding conductor, and a virtuoso piano player. I remember that feeling that always comes when you sit next to the musical genius: the spirit goes up, and it seems that some superior force is moving your hands. It is impossible to understand why, but being close to a great musician, you yourself become something more: more brave, more daring, and all of a sudden you discover the true meaning of the music that was hidden before. I can never forget songs of Brahms, performed by Hungarian bass Laslo Polgar. This was the moment, when I, accompanying him, have felt for the first time a very fine, hardly noticeable but very important difference in sounding, intoning. As if I touched European vocal culture.  I feel so much joy that experiences we shared together, for example, with Misha Katz, are still alive in my soul. We spent hours playing cello sonatas by Brahms, Beethoven, never saying a word, without any pressure, purely enjoying the possibility to communicate through sounding. Out of all memories these bring thrill the most.

I feel special gratitude to the teachers – M.V. Milman, who lived 85 years of a happy teaching and composition life; G.A. Alikhanov, whose students, acquiring a great experience in chamber music, were surrounded by the atmosphere of humanity, humor and kindness. Always thinking fondly about most dear teachers – L.N. Vlasenko, people’s artist of the USSR, professor who has passed away too early in his life and about an outstanding musician of today – Mikhail Pletnev, who had a great impact on forming independent musical thinking. I was truly lucky that these people opened the doors to the musical world for me, who helped me to discover the wonderful world of piano.

One has to notice how contacts, international friendship influence art, innovations and attitude towards cultural values, and the lifestyle. I would like to give a few examples of this. Composition style of G. Zhubanova and Y. Shaporin – Moscow school, it continues today in its students. A. Mambetov combines traditions of Moscow’s drama school, and thanks to him best directors and plays are always performed in Almaty. T. Abdrashev is Rozhdestvensky’s favorite student. G. Murzabekova was accepted to David Oystrach’s class, and this was during the times when he had an intense concert life and would not accept anyone in class. A.Musakhodzhayeva – is the professor of Moscow Conservatory, V. Klimov’s student, over the past few years she managed to improve the quality of concert life, inviting world stars to perform in Almaty. A. Dnishev has achieved greatest artistic heights together with Russian folk orchestra and with a prominent concertmaster E. Shenderovich. D. Kaseinov – he is an everlasting fuel of cultural life, bringing together everything bright and talented, organizing unique concerts, competitions, festivals, research symposiums, international musical collectives.

Numerous graduates coming from Kazakhstan now perform on global level – M. Bisengaliev, violinist with a great potential and happy start of his musical career, Z. Kenzhbulatova – an outstanding pianist, who works now in the USA, S. Tazhibayeva – bright performer and talented musicologist live and works now in Germany, T. Yerzhanov – a gifted musician, and very fine ensemble player – he is giving concerts in Europe. This list could go on, but it illustrates a great community created during several years of studying and sharing life in the Moscow Conservatory. This musical fellowship grows over time, creating a true global musical space.

“Army” of the Moscow Conservatory alumni has all chances to conquer the world and set the regime of culture and spirituality, art and intellect, granting love and kindness with a strict schedule of fulfilling all hopes and dreams of the mankind. But in the beginning it starts with Moscow who turns 850 now.