Pianist Behzod Abduraimov speaks about his career and his upcoming concert in Kansas City
Interview in Russian in the Russian America newspaper, the Russian Kansas City section, page 16.
Интервью на русском языке в газете Русская Америка, в подборке о Канзас-Сити, стр 16.
Author Lana Yeager writes and edits for the Russian Kansas City section of The Russian America newspaper
Today’s guest on our arts page is Behzod Abduraimov, a concert pianist whose remarkable talent has brought top awards at international music competitions in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Italy, the USA and other countries. At the age of 18, Behzod won the Grand Prix at the International Piano Competition in London in 2009. Since then, the young artist has played on the most famous stages of the world. We are proud to call Behzod one our own: for many years he has made Kansas City his home.
Behzod is originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where his mother, a piano instructor, became his first music teacher. He studied at a local music school, currently called the Uspensky Lyceum, as a pupil of the remarkable teacher Tamara Popovich. After graduating from the Lyceum, Behzod decided to continue his music education abroad, choosing the Juilliard School in New York. At the same time, Stanislav Iudenich, a widely renowned pianist and educator from Kansas City, learned about Behzod, and in 2007, invited the young musician to study at Park University’s International Center for Music, ICM.
-Behzod, you are back in Kansas City after a busy tour. What cities have you visited this time and which of the many concert halls is your favorite?
-I have performed in Tampere, London, Madrid, Lyon and other European cities. All the halls in these cities are wonderful. Perhaps, my favorite is the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, which has excellent acoustics.
-What composer and works touch you the most?
-I cannot name one composer or one piece. There are many names in the list of genius composers. But I would say that in the moment of rehearsing for a certain concert, the composer whose music I’m playing becomes my favorite.
-Who is your idol as a pianist?
-There are many of them: Vladimir Horowitz, Sergei Rachmaninoff, as well as my favorite teacher, Stanislav Iudenich, who, however, is more than a teacher. He is my mentor, whom I fully trust. I am grateful to Stanislav for how he helped me in my career as a professional pianist. He never dominated with his views about me. Instead, he allowed and encouraged me to create my music, my vision and interpretation of great opuses.
-You performed with some of the most famous conductors of our times. Among them are Vladimir Ashkenazi, Kshishtov Urbansky, Charles Dutua, and Valery Gergiev. With Gergiev you have repeatedly been on the same stage in different cities of the world and twice in Kansas City. What are your impressions of working with musicians of this rank?
-It is a great honor and, of course, a responsibility. About Valery Gergiev. It is easy to work with him. He gives me absolute freedom as a soloist. This is very important.
-Which concerts are the most important for you?
-Those where I have an opportunity to play music on great stages like Carnegie Hall, the Grand Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory or the Royal Albert Hall. When I realize what great musicians have played in these halls before me, I am honored and it is truly inspiring. I am thankful to destiny and to music for such moments.
-Have you had any cases of "unsuccessful" concerts?
-Honestly, no. There are certain standards and as a professional I am always ready for a concert. The only thing that sometimes complicates the performance is intensive traveling. Like everyone, I sometimes feel physically tired. Very often I arrive in the morning, and in the evening there is a performance. But when I find myself on stage, when the music begins, when I hear the applause, I forget about difficulties and challenges. This inexplicable, magic energy helps in those moments of tension and fatigue.
-Behzod, what work would you call the most lyrical and emotionally filled? In what work do you find that the sense of life itself is most fully captured?
-This is not an easy question, but I will try to answer. I think it is Rachmaninoff ‘s 3rd concert. This work is unusually large-scale and, moreover, it is especially difficult to perform. In it, I feel, are embodied all of the emotions and feelings inherent in man.
-What is your purpose as a musician?
-Perhaps to give the listener the beauty of great music. And I'm happy that by being a musician I have the opportunity to share “my version” of great music with listeners.
-On January 19, in the concert hall at the 1900 Building in Mission Woods, Kansas, you’ll play a concert called "Love and Death". Your fans are looking forward to your performance of List and Wagner.
-Yes, I am preparing a very interesting program. I would like to take this opportunity and invite all readers of the newspaper The Russian America and the Russian Kansas City section, their friends and relatives, to the concert. Happy New Year! I wish you all health and happiness, and, of course, new musical discoveries!
Kansas City, MO