« Back to Press

"An artist is born only when he overcomes himself, sets the goal and reaches it"

Style Magazine
# 2-3 (27-28) 2009


“An artist is born only when he overcomes himself, sets the goal and reaches it”

Today, in the time of “maybe”, “somehow” and “something” it is hard to find people who manage to finish any project they work on, with all energy and time they have. It is harder to find those who take full responsibility for their actions and the results. Today’s lifestyle of enjoying the life, taking it easy and relaxing all the time has implemented irresponsible approach to life in our generation.

Still, it is possible to meet those, who are considered to be relics of the past by the majority of today’s “careless” generation. These people stand beyond time. These people transform their own Self, their life approach, they see the goal of their life and realize it to the full extent, and just by being there they prove wrong the thought that nobody needs anything today, and nobody cares about tomorrow…

A very bright example of this very rare sort of people is the famous pianist, People’s artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan, laureate of the State Prize, laureate of the “Platinum Tarlan” prize, Chevalier of the French Art and Literature Order, holder of the European Union of Arts prize, professor, rector of the Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory, Zhaniya Yahiyaevna Aubakirova.

She is energetic, goal-oriented, and incredibly communicative. Many people, politicians, students are drawn to enjoy her talent.

She has performed her favorite musical pieces both in Kazakhstan and abroad: in Europe, USA, Japan, Finland, Italy, Israel, Greece, Turkey. Many of her concerts gave audiences a unique chance to listen to the music of Kazakh composers, sometimes for the first time.

Zhaniya Aubakirova is not just a virtuoso pianist. She is also actively engaged in social life both at home, and internationally.

Every year she organizes international piano competition, which has become a launching point for many talented young artists. This competition now has attention of numerous international music experts, lovers of classical music and it is just a bright cultural event in the life of Kazakhstan.

Being a rector of the National Conservatory, Zhaniya Aubakirova is very much focused on growing the new generation of musicians, expanding international relations with leading institutions abroad. She invites foreign professors, and helps local students to go on exchange or internships abroad; this all helps to strengthen friendship and artistic bonds between the countries.

Looking in her kind eyes, warm smile, I’m thinking of the words Sukhomlinsky said: “In order to give a drop of light, the teacher should absorb the sea of sunlight”.

The floors of the conservatory are filled with the sounds of classical music performed by symphonic orchestras and musicians known all over the world. This atmosphere is brought here by Zhaniya Aubakirova. It is, indeed, a difficult task – to combine the lives of rector, concert musician, teacher, and social activist, easily accepting challenges and completing them. Not everyone can do this. This is why she is the role model to her students, having unquestionable authority among them.

All Kazakhstani people are curious about life of Zhaniya Aubakirova, STYLE magazine has asked her a few questions.

-          You do a lot to promote classical music. Do you think that today classical music needs promotion more than ever?

-          Classical music always needed to be popularized. The mankind always lacked a deep understanding of the culture, philosophy, and complex theories of the being. Classical music can give answers to these difficult questions, which many people today do not want to ask themselves, or are afraid of them. It is not just classical music that needs to be popularized – the need of spirituality is what lacks support and protection.

It seems that those who want to dedicate their life to music and concert activity also need this kind of protection and support. This is why musician and teacher Zhaniya Aubakirova since 2000 has initiated an annual program for children, called “Rising Stars”. It aims to support the talented youth. Every year more than 350 gifted children who have completed secondary musical education take part in the program,

One of the first nongovernmental educational organizations – Zhaniya Aubakirova’s College – started working since 1994. Its approach is dramatically different from usual routine of a musical school. This is why it was “in the air” right away.

- Zhaniya Aubakirova’s College is known by its unusual educational program – music is combined with math…how can you combine science and art?

- Indeed, this is an educational institution of a new type: the program combines secondary education, following the state standard. It is fostered by a complex of philosophical, cultural, artistic and sport subjects. It also includes a cycle of courses that provide specially gifted children with a professional education.

I am pleased that you know about the program “Music and Mathematics”, we are realizing it for several years already. We have won the grant from “Texaco Global Foundation” who announced the competition for the development of this program in 150 countries. The strategic goal of the competition is to support the research of the artificial intelligence. This research goes on around the world, we are happy to be a part of such global problems.

Actually, many scientists focus now on studying the “musical brain”, musical talent – these components of a highly organized intellect. We are always happy to hear about new discoveries and try to promote them as much as we can.

- It was a common belief before that children living in educated families should play the piano. Is this still present today? What instrument is preferred today?

- Well, my family was like this: father is an academician; mother is a professor at Kazakh State Univresity. When I was growing up, my hobbies were not very usual: I would go to the Lenin’s library and read Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. I was determined to write a candidate’s dissertation in philosophy. These hobbies were not in vain, because when I became thirty years old I could clearly express my thoughts, and experiences some troubles in communicating with the peers for being too “nerdy”.

I think, that children in educated families, especially girls, should indeed play the piano, and know main classical pieces, composers of the times, in order to be considered cultured and educated. Today our society follows again this wonderful tradition – to teach their children music. Piano is the preferred instrument, because it is one of the most universal instruments. Violins, cellos are popular, but not as much. Parents teach their kids to play the dombra, and also saxophone and flute. And of course, everyone wants to sing.

-          You have mentioned in one of your interviews: “Every minute I am a student: scared, a little lost, but carrying on anyway…” What are trying to achieve all the time?

-          I cannot answer this question by listing specific goals and objectives I have in mind. All my life I am interested how can I express the richness of the music through the instrument. It seems to be a technical, not artistic task, very professional one. In order to solve this problem and satisfy my everlasting interest towards the piano I have to do a lot of other work that can seem not important and not necessary at first glance.

People often ask me: how do you manage to combine artistic and administrative, social work? I think that if you do not know that something is hard, you can do it rather easily. Really, I know so many examples of people who work hundreds of times more, and have tremendous success anyway.

Zhaniya Aubakirova always had a special attitude to the words. She doesn’t just perform what is listed in the program, she first tell the audience the meaning of this or that musical opus, the feelings it brings, her attitude to the composer and its piece. She does it incredibly sincerely and with a professional subtleness.

Being a person with a huge artistic experience, living active social life, and having met numerous talented and interesting persons, Zhaniya Aubakirova has a lot to share in her book, where she has put a lot of time and energy.

- I have heard that you have worked on a book. Did it ever get published, what is it about?

- I work on this book all my conscious life, because I write a lot of articles, interviews, speeches and reports. I think I have enough material not just for one book. I only need to edit it, put away unnecessary things and find a publisher.

- You often travel away from home. All family experts say that you cannot leave your husband alone…

- This is a difficult question. Nothing has a hundred percent guarantee. You say “I am not afraid of it”, and this something happens all of a sudden. We both are very vulnerable about this: leaving him alone, I am myself alone for a long time. One thing that calms me down is that our relationship is funded on a deep feeling of mutual respect and healthy rationalism. We almost never get jealous of each other. Still, sometimes I ask him – who is calling you?

I think I wasn’t born a family person, in its commonsense. I am happy that I have a good husband and family who love and accept me the way I am. I work a lot on social life. I think, this is the way I am made: the most important for me is what is going on in the Conservatory, in the musical world, in life…

- Please tell us about your children…

- My sons – Almas and Alikhan are smart and rational. The older one is one of the developers of “Music and Mathematics” program, and has graduated from school with golden medal. What makes me proud the most – he was the captain of the basketball team, which has won teams of all private and state schools of our city. We have special hopes for the little one – he is a unique artist. Really, both of my sons are incredible.

- Whether or not the woman’s image is whole and complete depends on harmony of outer and inner. How do you understand “Style”? What does it mean to you?

- Style is a very large term. In its wide sense it means that every person has individual style. I do not mean “stylish”, which has more to do with fashion and person’s exterior. Style is individuality. One has to know and appreciate their uniqueness; otherwise the person starts to mimic and copy someone, following some standard, not daring to be different. This is very common among the youth. Growing older, we start understand the life more, we start valuing the sincerity, warmth of the soul, humor. These things indicate the harmony of outer and inner. Of course, it is important to be attractive: we all want to look good.

My recipe is very simple: the more intensively I work, the more I hear “You look wonderful!” I think, many women in Kazakhstan know and apply this recipe of hard and never ending work to preserve their divine beauty. This is why we have so many beautiful women!