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Press Releases

Artists from Kyrgyzstan and America Unite in a Historical Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

June 16, 2017
Kyrgyz American Foundation in partnership with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts present a historical gala concert featuring classical and traditional music from Kyrgyzstan at the Millennium Stage in Washington D.C. on August 26 at 6 pm.

The gala will feature world-class musicians, concert pianists Aza Sydykov, Jonathan Levin, soprano Nikoleta Rallis, cellist Nurmira Greenberg, and special guests, Perizat Kopobaeva and renowned jazz pianist Joel Martin, who will demonstrate their mastery of improvisation on the komuz (Kyrgyz traditional instrument) and piano in a spectacular duo.

“Through this special event, Kyrgyz American Foundation will present the incredible musical art and cultural heritage of Kyrgyzstan to the US capital,” says Levin, foundation’s Vice President. The August 26 concert will bring together internationally acclaimed Kyrgyz and American musicians to perform works from the Kyrgyz folk and classical traditions as well as music by modern Kyrgyz and American composers, some of which have never been heard in the United States.

Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan is a young sovereign country located in the heart of Central Asia, but its traditions stretch back to the ancient Silk Road civilizations of Eurasia. “Through our unique artistic and educational programs and events, we seek not only to strengthen Kyrgyz identity here in the States, but to enrich the already diverse culture of this country with something new and fresh,” says Aza Sydykov, the Foundation’s President. Mr. Sydykov is a co-founder of KAF, along with Vice President, Jonathan Levin and Programs Coordinator, Nikoleta Rallis.

“It’s important to us to have great diversity in our programming and also to share the stage equally with Americans and other nationalities,” Sydykov explains. “KAF is not just an organization for Kyrgyz people; we want everyone to be able to enjoy Kyrgyzstan’s unique culture.”

A unique feature of Kyrgyz culture, which the concerts of KAF will develop, is that it has preserved the traditions of improvisation in both literature and music. “In a world that is increasingly programmed and packaged, we believe that the improvisational spirit of Kyrgyz culture can inject notes of spontaneity and originality that are often lacking in musical performance today,” says Andrew Wachtel, President of the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek and a member of KAF’s Advisory Council.

Kyrgyz American Foundation, a non-profit, humanitarian arts organization has existed for less than a year, but it has already organized an impressive number of educational and artistic activities. KAF’s mission is to strengthen civil, humanitarian and cultural ties between Kyrgyzstan and the United States by advancing intercultural awareness, preserving the multicultural heritage of Kyrgyzstan, and promoting the values of freedom, unity, and enlightenment through arts, education and science.

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