by Heidi Trautmann
One of the great pleasures in the series of Bellapais concerts is the opportunity to be able to follow the progress of Rauf Kasimov’s students. Some of them I have been monitoring for some years now, for example Erol Emmioğlu, Ipek Zorba and Miriam Marancos and each year I say to myself, my God, they are growing fast, not only in body size but in their skills and playing technique.
It was on the evening of October 18, 2012 that the concert hall of Bellapais filled not only with proud parents but with many music lovers who keep being amazed just as I do about the talents available in North Cyprus. While the young musicians were anxiously waiting outside under the arches for their appearance on stage, some had cold trembling hands they tried to warm under their armpits, all beautifully dressed, the boys all in black and the girls in long evening dresses, I admired the care and love the stage was decorated. I want to reemphasize here, that the preparations for a concert, such as stage and dress code is an important educational side effect, and has something to do with respect for the music and for the audience, saying: I am giving my best.
And they did give their best. In the first half of the concert we heard young students who have been with Rauf Kasimov only recently or have less experience: Buket Dansiak (12 years), Batu Özgün (12 years), Ilke Aslim (11 years), Ismet Ersalıçı (14 years), Cemile Özçan (12 years). They all played two pieces and as a third one four hands with Rauf Kasimov. Although some of them seemed shy of the audience, they became fully concentrated when they turned towards the piano, something they knew and trusted. The programme contained popular classical and well known pieces from Bach…… Offenbach.
Many of us got dewy-eyed and kept fingers crossed for them. Beautifully done.
In the second part we heard the more experienced students Miriam Marancos (15 years), Ipek Zorba (13 years), Erol Emmioglu (15 years). I could feel their deep involvement combined with passion, and for one or the other eventually a profession for life. Miriam with her esthetic recital of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. I listened to Erol’s recital of J.S. Bach Sinfonia from Partita No. 2 and told him later: that is how Bach should be played and he answered, yes, like in a big church. And by Ipek Zorba we heard Rachmaninov Prélude C sharp minor played with full abandon, also in the following passionate 4-hand piece by Khachaturyan, together with her teacher.
And finally…….as a big surprise for all of us Suna Alsançak (5 years) who had to be lifted onto the stool, with three pieces she brought flawlessly, full of self-confidence, with a cheeky smile in her face towards the audience. Her parents sat next to us and I saw Mum’s lips tremble.
What an evening! Rauf Kasimov not only teaches his students to play the piano, he teaches them countenance and respect for life.
The concert was in support of KUSKOR, the North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Birds with further support by ZOOM and Kybele Restaurant.