By Heidi Trautmann
Music. Piano. Music and Piano as lifetime companions. Music and piano filling your days and young years, your dreams; a world in itself replacing a normal child’s activities with games forbidden, no tree climbing, no ball games, your fingers could get broken or hurt. No distraction from endless hours of practicing.
That is what went through my mind when on Friday, May 28, I saw seven most talented young girls and women in their evening robes climb the stage of Bellapais Abbey and give us the proof of their successful work and musical training as students of Rauf Kasimov.
The concert was organized by the Deniz Temiz Derneği (Marine Environment Protection Association) and sponsored by Zoom Publications, Deniz Plaza, Telsim, ADA TV and Jasmine Court. A small portion of the income will be donated to the protection of the island’s coast and waters. The President of the Association, Mr Mesut Günsev, opened the concert and thanked the young performers and their tutor for the wonderful occasion to learn more about the young talents in the TRNC of which we all can be very proud of.
Rauf Kasimov, a passionate musician, born in Baku, a Russian and TRNC citizen, who graduated from the Baku State Conservatory and completed his PhD in 1980 – he has received many high awards for his work - has a long career as piano tutor in many parts of the world. He came to Cyprus in 2005 where he continued to train promising young musicians to help them on their way into their life as professional pianists.
There is Ilgim Öztürk, born in Lefkoşa, 12 years old; Ipek Fatoş Zorba, born in Cambridge, 11 years old, but back in Cyprus since the age of 7 months; Görsev Tepe, born in Ankara, 10 years old, daughter to the Cypriot Turkish concert pianist Öznaz Uzuner, Ilyada Aşgar, born in Nicosia, 14 years old; Bengisu Önder, born in Ankara, 15 years old; Selen Mesutoğlu, a young woman in her early twenties, working as communication consultant and graphic designer, who has resumed her training after 11 years of silence; Elnara Houssein, born in Baku, Azerbeijan, 26 years old, graduated as piano teacher from the Baku State Conservatory, married.
Most of them started playing the piano at an early age, some even at the age of five. When I read their CV’s I was not surprised to learn that they were all good students in other subjects like composition, art and dance. The concentrated schedule of musical education must have an automatic influence on their whole life style and the discipline which is asked of them and which they have to give voluntarily, has formed them into exceptional personalities. I had met some of the younger girls singing with the Girne Children Choir, which is another discipline of musical training added.
They all started taking lessons with Rauf Kasimov in the course of the last two years and one could feel the strong bond between tutor and student the moment when in one or the other musical piece they played four-or six-handed.
The concert programme was well arranged to show the audience the wide range of musical training and it was a touching moment for all of us sitting in the beautiful concert hall of Bellapais when the first performer Ilgim Öztürk opened the evening with a Beethoven Sonatina. One could feel the feelings of pride rising like a soft big smile and float in the air which did never stop during the entire concert, and sincere respect was expressed to the great talents we had in front of us. They tried their hands with Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart. Liszt, Rachmaninov and many others, also modern composers, and I was impressed by the sensibility and professional approach they all showed in their performance.
Rauf Kasimov has started early to take his students out to public concerts to gain security and to measure their level of training and also to take part in musical competitions stimulating their ambition to work even harder.
Young Görsev Tepe, who had won a honour prize in the 17th International Amadeus Piano Competition earlier this year and who will have her solo concert on June 8 at the same venue, was on this evening only seen and heard in two pieces for more hands, one being Valse from Rachmaninov, which was most impressive, together with Elnara Houssein and Rauf Kasimov.
At the end of the evening the young performers and their tutor were given a plaquette by Deniz Temiz to remember them of this special evening and to express the gratitude by the organiser and we - on our way home through the silent village of Bellapais – thought that as long as we have young people like the ones on stage that evening we can trustingly look ahead into the future of our world.