To Independence Day:  Turkmen-Austrian orchestra «GALKYNYSH» with the eyes of the conductor

To Independence Day: Turkmen-Austrian orchestra «GALKYNYSH» with the eyes of the conductor

Today I want to acquaint our readers with Professor Wolfgang Harrer, Secretary General of the Austrian -Turkmen society, art director and conductor of the Turkmen-Austrian symphonic orchestra «GALKYNYSH».

– On September 27 Turkmenistan will celebrate the main state holiday – 29th anniversary of independence. Let me share thereupon the thoughts on Turkmenistan and on my work in the Turkmen-Austrian symphonic orchestra «GALKYNYSH», – Professor Harrer started his story.

For the first time I arrived in Turkmenistan in 2008. It was an invitation to the international festival «Musical art – a spiritual treasury of mankind». I acted as the contrabass player of the small ensemble (4 instruments and a singer) which represented Vienna. For the first time having arrived in Ashkhabad, all of us knew about Turkmenistan very little, therefore were amazed by modern and aesthetic architecture, and also friendliness and geniality of people, living here.

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who took the higher state post one year prior to my first visit, revived all cultural life of the country from dream. Under his initiative the joint orchestra from Turkmen and Austrian musicians also was created.

As a conductor and musician, I together with head of the Austrian-Turkmen society Neda Berger supported at once the idea of the president of Turkmenistan to create a unique symphonic orchestra.

In July, 2008 Neda Berger presented the project of creation of the orchestra «GALKYNYSH». I will not describe here all steps which were necessary for undertaking for official establishment of the Turkmen-Austrian symphonic orchestra «GALKYNYSH». In January, 2009 preparation promoted already enough, and I arrived in Ashkhabad to prepare the orchestra debut. Then I also learnt a lot of new Turkmenistan about cultural life. The first concert of the orchestra «GALKYNYSH» took place in May, 2009 in the Mukam Palace, in the building of the philharmonic society of Ashkhabad, and in the presence of president of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, members of the government and the international diplomatic corps. The concert made a big success and was very important for development of diplomatic and cultural relations between Austria and Turkmenistan, and for the orchestra, and for me personally.

Prof. Wolfgang Harrer during the performance in the Viennese ball in Ashkhabad

For the last years the Turkmen-Austrian symphonic orchestra «GALKYNYSH» played big concerts in the Mukam Palace, also other stages then were gradually added, new tasks were put. The first concert served as orchestra presentation, and it was its main objective. One more important task was performances of the orchestra in the last four Viennese balls in Ashkhabad, surprising performances in the open-air with a considerable quantity of the invited visitors, including from diplomatic corps, on the huge area at the Mukam Palace and with a fine view of the Kopetdag mountains, admiring all invited.

Our concerts are regularly organized in the musical-drama theatre of Turkmenistan named after Mahtumkuli, and in special cases the orchestra acts in the conference hall of “the Centre of the congresses».

All these tasks are a basis of existence of the orchestra. Since that moment as I have started to work as the conductor of the Turkmen-Austrian symphonic orchestra «GALKYNYSH», there have passed 11 years. Then there was no such quantity of the big concerts and performances, as today. During the past time the Turkmen national conservatory continued its work, and musicians continued to teach and study. Playing in the orchestra demands a permanent job and joint game constantly to remain at high professional level. Playing in the orchestra can be compared to sports – for example, the soccer team without regular trainings will act at very low level.

Then, in 2009, the Turkmen-Austrian symphonic orchestra «GALKYNYSH» into which musicians of the State symphonic orchestra of Turkmenistan, senior students of Turkmen national conservatory and the Austrian musicians entered, was created. It was simple to unite these groups because the musicians playing the classic music, all over the world speak in one “language” and have the identical relation to music and similar mentality, but, nevertheless, all of us needed to play and train much.

For the first several years the main conductor of the State symphonic orchestra of Turkmenistan was Orazgeldy Berdiyev. In the third year of my work in Turkmenistan Rasul Klychev, very talented young man became a new main conductor. Under his management the orchestra «GALKYNSH» perfectly developed and develops now, and from the very beginning we had very good friendly relations which provide fine conditions for work, and art level of the Symphonic orchestra of Turkmenistan quickly grows and develops.

I, as a conductor, would like to underline especially the high level of the Turkmen musicians completely giving classical music. When you see that enthusiasm with which after the first rehearsal Turkmen and Austrian musicians play together, then the impression is made that they for years constantly played together. Undoubtedly, the big merit in it belongs to the main conductor of the Symphonic orchestra of Turkmenistan Rasul Klychev.

But for the further development of the orchestra «GALKYNYSH» equally the free concerts opened for all comers have a basic value as well. Close contact with the enthusiastic public, and that fact that these concerts are held in small halls without microphones and the intensifying technics, are a necessary part of work of the orchestra for development of creative abilities of musicians.

Performance in the conference hall of the “Centre of Congress» with stars of the world opera: Vesselina Kasarova (Switzerland), Neil Shicoff from the Metropolitan Opera (New York) and W.Harrer

Cooperation with national actress of Turkmenistan Orazgul Annamuradova was one of the significant events of my work in Turkmenistan. The indelible impression left on me the opening in 2015 of the “Centre of Congress» with the assistance of world stars of the first magnitude of Vesselina Kasarova, Neil Shicoff and Lucy Aliberti where honour to conduct their performance was given to me.

In conclusion I want to express my personal views. On September 27 Turkmenistan will mark the 29th anniversary of its independence.

Thereupon I want to use an opportunity and to congratulate Turkmenistan and President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on the main state holiday.

Turkmenistan – the independent neutral state which basis is the political system taking into account international law, customs and traditions of Turkmen people.

I want to express the profound gratitude to President Berdimuhamedov for his huge personal contribution to development of culture and art of the country, and for constant support to all performances of the Turkmen-Austrian symphonic orchestra «GALKYNYSH». We, from our part, will use the best efforts that celebratory concerts and the Viennese balls in Ashkhabad will for ever remain in memory of grateful Turkmen public.

I am very glad that the Turkmen-Austrian symphonic orchestra «GALKYNYSH» is the hallmark of cultures of two countries and brings a big contribution to the development of mutual relations.

I very much hope that our orchestra has a big future, and more many concerts and performances in Turkmenistan and Austria for fans of world classical music will take place.

Neda Berger,
Staff reporter ORIENT with accreditation
in the press-service of the chancellor of Austria