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Erzhan Kulibaev - Violin

Interview

1- Is your family musical?

My parents are pharmacists, but I have two sisters who are pianists.

2- You began your formal musical education in 1995 at the Republican Special Music School for Talented Children of Kulyash Baiseitova (in Almaty, Kazakhstan) in the class of Prof. N.M. Patrusheva. How do you remember this time and your first tutor?

I have very nice recollections of that time. The city was very beautiful, it still had not the modern style architecture of today and it was nice. Now I can’t recognize a lot of places from my childhood. It changes too fast. The first teacher is a very important concept in this country. Many famous Kazakh violinist came from her class. She thought me the basic level of violin playing.

3- In 1998 you moved to the Moscow Conservatory, where you studied in the class of Prof. A.V. Revich. What abiding impressions do you have of this period please?

Moscow caused a great impression on me. Everything was so different. The Moscow musical school has always been very strong in music theory and harmony. I had to train a lot to pass the entry exams. During my stay there I listened to a lot of interesting concerts in the Bolshoy Zal of Moscow Conservatory.

4- In 2004 you started studies in the class of Prof. Zakhar Bron at the Queen Sofia College of Music in Madrid. How was it like to be mentored by this professor?

It was very challenging. Prof. Bron is a very high class violin teacher and he asks his students to play very well. At the beginning it was a bit hard but then I managed to follow his rhythm of work.

5- You have won many prizes at international violin competitions, one of the first being the Demidovski International Violin Competition in Yekaterinburg (2003, First Prize and two Special prizes). How were your feelings at the time and do you remember what you played?

The most amazing thing to remember of this particular competition was an accident which happened to me on the final stage. The A String broke a few bars before the ending of the violin concerto by Sibelius. I had to finish playing on 3 strings. The public was excited by watching this. But I wouldn’t like to repeat that experience.

6- In the International Violin Competition in Lisbon of 2006, you again won the first prize and Special prize for the best interpretation of a work by L. Graça. Can you tell us the atmosphere at the time and the pieces you performed?

I very much liked Portugal, it is an extremely beautiful country and Lisbon has got very nice architecture. The public of Lisbon is very warm, I felt very comfortable playing there. The programme was difficult, I played Beethoven’s ‘Kreuzer’ violin sonata, Brahms’ violin concerto.

7- In the International Hindemith Competition in Berlin 2010, you won the Gold medal and Special prize for the best interpretation of a work by Robert Schumann. Can you tell us how this felt like and again which pieces you played?

By this time it was very cold in Berlin, I had to warm up a lot before playing. In the final stage I played Paganini violin concerto with cadenza by Emile Sauret. The most difficult cadenza ever!

8- Who would your dream accompanist be?

Martha Argerich.

9- How often and for how long do you practice?

I try to practice as often as I have time to do it.

10- Do you listen to ‘traditional Kazakh or Russian music’, how wide is you taste in music genres?

I listen to a lot of jazz and tango. And violin music.

11- In September and October 2013, you toured Argentina’s main cities: Buenos-Aires, Tandil, Parana, Mar del Plata, Salta, San Juan, San Carlos de Bariloche, San Martin de los Andes, Villa La Angostura, performing with different local orchestras. How did the audience receive you in this extensive tour?

The audience of Argentina is extremely enthusiastic and warm. They clap so loud! It is a great pleasure to play for them. I was very happy when the public from Mar del Plata made a standing ovation for my own arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Adios Nonino’. It is very important, because A. Piazzolla was born in that city.

I remember a lot of funny stories. After a concert in San Juan I had to sign 40 autographs for group of children of school age. Then, a little boy decided to ask me to also sign an entrance ticket. The whole group of children saw this and asked me to do the same. So I had to sign everything twice!

12- Would you like to teach music in the future?

Yes, in the future.

13- Do you have a musician that inspires you above all others?

Jascha Heifetz, David Oistrakh.

14- Do you have upcoming plans you would like to reveal?

I am a little bit superstitious, I do not reveal my plans until I complete them.

To return to Erzhan’s profile:

submission January 2015