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In compliance with an official Kazakh request the British visitors performed under the direction of energetic, prizewinning Almaty-trained conductor Alan Buribayev, son of noted concert cellist Askar Buribayev and from the outset this genial 20-year-old bounded into his task with irresistible aplomb.

Kazakh conductor - winner of Nicolai Malko prize (2001) - Alan Buribayev. Photo: Howard Smith

On the eve of the concert Bisengaliev and orchestra representatives met and fielded questions from an excited crush of reporters, television crews, curious well-wishers and supporters plus a small contingent of British music press. TV reporters had arrived from as far away as the Kazakhstan capital, Astana, some 1500 km to the north.

Marat Bisengaliev at a press conference. Photo: Howard Smith

The first of two rehearsals began with a sizzling Russlan and Ludmilla overture; an immediate clue to the character of this one-off concert. Meanwhile technicians peppered some dozen microphones throughout the orchestra, five or six stage and auditorium camera teams vied for positions, and a giant head and shoulders portrait of the star, Bisengaliev, hung against the back stage curtain.

Rehearsals with Alan Buribayev and the RPO. Photo: Howard Smith


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Copyright © 23 June 2002 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand





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