Monday, June 23, 2008

Redefining Wealth: Introducing The Almaty Conservatory, Conductor Jan Moritz Onken, Cellist Daniyar Kadralinov & Future Composer Tolegan Iklasov

... "Still, the road to New York is strewn with obstacles, not least the cost of the trip, which could exceed $600,000. Kazakh officials have said they will help, but they have been vague about how much.

For now, despite the oil wealth streaming into Kazakhstan, money remains scarce. The musicians must buy most of their instruments themselves or rely on ones supplied by the [Kazakh National] Conservatory that are of very poor quality.

Perhaps conductor Jan Moritz Onken's greatest challenge is convincing others here that classical music should matter at all. Communism bequeathed the country a state-funded system of schools and concert halls, and classical music flourished as a showcase for the system's achievements. Today, however, this system is breaking down.

As the country becomes increasingly saturated with the trappings of globalization and petro-wealth, symphony orchestras and those who support them seem increasingly marginal. In Almaty, especially among the musicians' peers, the primary goal often seems to be to spend as much time as possible in bars and clubs flaunting their wealth.

Tolegen Iklasov and Daniyar Kadralinov, sipping cappuccinos and watching the Hummers and Porsche SUVs speed by, say that they can hope to earn a maximum of $300 a month as musicians. Many of their classmates plan to give up music entirely to find a position in a bank or the financial sector. Yet they both intend to make classical music their life's work; Iklasov wants to become a composer.

Onken says he understands his students' feelings - that they may feel ridiculous compared with the newly rich Kazakhs or with friends who are pursuing more lucrative career paths.

"They want to be cool like Mafiosi," he said.

But he suggested an alternative. "They have to play Mozart like a Mafioso - they want to feel that what they do is important," he said. "'The Rite of Spring' gave them this momentum. You have these monster sounds, like the world is breaking apart. Even the Mafiosi have fear." ...

David L. Stern "Almaty Journal: Creating A Melody From Fear Of Failure" New York Times June 4, 2008

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Norman Foster + Partners. Khan Shatyry Entertainment Centre, Astana, Kazakhstan
Astana, Kazakhstan, 2006-2008

'The Khan Shatyry Entertainment Centre in Astana will become a dramatic civic focal point for the capital of Kazakhstan. The soaring structure, at the northern end of the new city axis, rises from a 200m elliptical base to form the highest peak on the skyline of Astana.'

Co-architects: Linea Tusavul Architecture, Gultekin Architecture

Photo credit: (c) Norman Foster + Partners. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. 2007.


See why the head of UNDP, the OECD’s Secretary General and the Chief Economist of the World Bank are among those who think the time has come to get serious about Measuring the Progress of Societies.


Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative


Climatically Astana, Kazakhstan is the second coldest capital in the world (behind Ulaanbataar, Mongolia).


Post a Comment

<< Home