1- Who was your first music teacher or the person that recognised your talent?
The very first person who recognised my musicality was my mother who is graduate violinist from Akhmet Zhubanov School for talented children and Kurmangazy Conservatory in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
2- Is your family musical?
Yes, my entire family is musical. So, as mentioned above my mother is a violinist, her older sister is a pianist and a younger brother is a dombyra (Kazakh national instrument) player. Currently they all slightly changed their fields of work.Their parents, my grandparent have also graduated from Kurmangazy Conservatory in Almaty. So, my grandfather Omirbay used to play dombyra, piano and sing. My grandmother Kunsulu is a singer, soprano. She retired after working at Abay Opera House in Almaty and now still sings at concerts and teaches privately.
3- You studied at the National Academy of Kazakhstan in Astana with Professor Raissa Mussahadjayeva. How are your memories of this time and this master?
I always remember those days of studying with Professor Raissa Mussakhadjayeva with special warmth and love, because this wonderful lady is not only my beloved Professor, but mentor, advisor and huge motivator and my family friend. She is working hard every day not only as teacher, but communicates with people in several languages. Also teaches her young talented students how to use skills of communication practically. Being a musician is tough because of its lifestyle. You spend hours of practising by yourself and sometimes have troubles with socialising. I would say Professor Mussakhadjayeva is the person who taught me “how to speak”.
4- You completed your undergraduate studies at the Moscow Conservatoire, studying with Maxim Fedotov, graduating in 2014. What are lasting lessons and memories from this period of your education?
Being a student at Moscow Conservatory was a massive privilege that I was blessed with and Professor Maxim Fedotov made my studies truly memorable. He is not only an outstanding performer and teacher but also a sophisticated musician with his own style who taught me to be brave and play with confidence. I am always in contact with Professor Fedotov.
5- You won First Prize in the Giovanni Talenti competition in Italy. Can you remember what piece you played and your recollections of that moment?
The moment I went for a festival and competitions in Italy was my very first time abroad and that was nearly 10 years ago and it made a big impact on my playing and life vision in general. I remember my programme was quite big and I was thrilled to play it in front of foreign public. So, I played J.S.Bach Gavotte en Rondeau, Menuet I, Menuet II and Bouree from Partita No.3 BWV 1006, Paganini No.10 and No.20 Caprices, Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor Op.61, Meditation by Massnet and Bulgarian Phapsody by Pancho Vladigerov. The last piece I discovered with Raissa Mussakhadjayeva and I was absolutely astonished by it. There is bit in the piece where you have to retune the G string 2 tones lower and then towards the end you retune it back from E to G. That was a complete shock for jury members. Haha.
6- You were invited to perform Tchaikovsky’s Meditation at the Talanty Sodruzhestva, a new music festival dedicated to Fuat Mansurov, with the Vassily Nikolayev Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2013. How did this honour feel like and how was the performance received?
During my studies in Moscow I was a member of Student Union and President of Student Union asked me if I could play for this event as a representative from Kazakhstan and I happily agreed to do that. I knew Fuat Manssurov in person and I literally was in love with his personality and stamina, because he was a man of an incredible energy. He spoken seven languages, was master at chess, mountain hike, mathematician. I met him while I was a first year bachelor student at Kazakh National University of Arts in Astana when he conducted Eurasian Symphony Orchestra where I was co-leading second violins section. He always used to say that nothing is impossible when you work hard and I would say he inspired me with his volcanic energy even though he was 82 years old. So, in April 2010 I went on tour to Vienna, Paris, Rome and Moscow as a member of orchestra and that exact year I decided to move to Moscow to continue my studies. Unfortunately Fuat Shakirovich passed away in June that year and that is a big loss not only for me, for the entire music world.