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Aziz Shohakimov: “Always Want to Play with Native Orchestra for My Favorite Audience”

Aziz Shohakimov, giving his first concert at the Turkistan Palace with the National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan within the Golden Autumn 2016 Fashion Show, has left the country in order to return after two weeks and give another concert as part of the same festival of art.

“Aziz, you have rather a busy schedule, constant touring, don’t you get tired?”

“I am a very mobile person. My life changed dramatically after I won the Mahler International Competition of Conductors and made my debut with the Dresden State Chorus. I began receiving invitations to play with various orchestras in Europe and America. Today I had the opportunity to conduct some 50 orchestras, and 90-95 percent of them invited me repeatedly. Last season I had 65 concerts in different cities around the world.

“There were some periods when I almost every day flew from city to city. Fatigue, of course, it happens. But this is a normal international practice. Abroad, there is such a thing as a guest conductor. Get the program of any orchestra and you will see that almost half of the concerts are organized with guest conductors. With most of the orchestras I work as a guest conductor. People often ask me where, in what city I like to live. I answer that to live comfortably is possible anywhere. Most often I am in Düsseldorf, Germany, because there I am a conductor at the opera house.

“In general, I am a citizen of Uzbekistan and it is forever, because my roots are here, my parents.”

“What does the participation in the Golden Autumn 2016 Festival mean for you?”

“I always find time to give concerts in my native Tashkent. Every year, I come for that three times. Concerning the Golden Autumn 2016 Festival, it is another meeting with my compatriots and the opportunity to work and perform with my native orchestra. After all, I was a member of the National Symphony Orchestra, and I am still its chief conductor.”

“How did the program of the first concert of the festival map out, and in your opinion, did you cope with the challenge?”

“As you know, two works were performed in the concert. Those included the First concerto by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, which we played together with the famous pianist and composer Vladimir Sverdlov-Ashkenazy. The choice was made by mutual agreement. The day before the concert we met and had a long conversation. As it turned out, we have a lot of friends in common, in same tastes. And, we agreed that the best product is the First concerto of Tchaikovsky, and made no mistake.

“In the second part of the concert we performed the 7th Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was my choice. As you know, three months ago, this August, with this composition I won the Salzburg competition for young conductors. And I really wanted to perform it in my home country. By the way, all the concerts that are warmly welcomed abroad, I perform for our audience.

“As for the evaluation, then it is better to ask from those who came for the concert that evening. I never try to catch the reaction of the audience, as it would be very wrong. The audience is unpredictable.”

“According to the program schedule of the Golden Autumn 2016 Festival, you have another concert to play, don’t you?”

“Yes, it will be held on December 3. Before that I planned rehearsals and concerts in three cities in the world. As for the program of the upcoming concert, I know nothing more than you. This will be a concert with our outstanding pianist Bekzod Abduraimov. And all the rest you will see at the concert, otherwise it is not interesting…”

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