There is an article that recently was posted on the official site of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Dagestan (Russia). For your convenience I am providing a translation.
Gyuli Kambarova: "If you are a native of Dagestan, your heart will always burn with a bright fire of native melodies"
Dagestan composer and pianist Gyuli Kambarova graduated from the School of Music in Makhachkala and Rakhmaninov State Conservatory in Rostov-on-Don (Russia). She currently lives and works in the United States. Compositions by Gyuli are unique: they are an incredible mix of Eastern Russian melodies and rhythms in the framework of contemporary classical music. Hundreds of people come to listen to the music of Gyuli Kambarova. Recently in Louisville, the largest city of Kentucky, there took place a recital by the composer. "Pictures of Southern Russia” was the name of the recital. This title was more for the public, "to make it clearer."
Gyuli, how in your opinion should the concert have been called?
- It would be better to call it “Nostalgia for the Homeland" because almost all of my songs are dedicated to my Dagestan.
Where are you feel more comfortable playing your music, in Russia or in America?
- Sometimes it seems to me that such ethnic music here in America is better received than in some cities in Russia (I'm not talking about Dagestan). Here you feel the atmosphere of absolute attention and respect for the music. It is amazing and definitely wonderful because I love our folk motifs and I want to pass on this love to many people in various parts of the world. No matter how far you go from Dagestan, you will leave your heart on this small island of the Earth which is called your motherland! If you are a native of Dagestan, your heart will always burn with a bright fire of Dagestani melodies, rich flavor of authentic harmonies, the rhythms of the mountains and, of course, the extraordinary variety of colors of the musical palette, penetrating into people's hearts. These tunes bring to all of us bright moments of happiness, illuminated by the magical power of music.
You are a native of Makhachkala, and you are very fond of this city and of Dagestan. Why did you leave?
- That has been my destiny. It took me on its way. I was born in Makhachkala. My mother, Galina Kuzmina, is a piano teacher (she graduated from the School of Music in Makhachkala). My Father, Nizami Dadashev, is a lawyer. A huge role in my life was played by my grandmother - Gyuli Dadasheva, a former chief engineer of the factory named after Hajiyev, chairman of the women's council and a chemical engineer by training. She has always supported me and had every effort to help me to get a good education. When I turned 17 my grandmother and I went to Rostov-on-Don to study at the conservatory. In 2005 I married Samir Kambarov whom I met at the Conservatory during my years of study. After graduating from the Conservatory as a composer, I joined the Dagestan Union of Composers (2010), and a year later I joined the Union of the Composers of Russia. Soon I went to the United States with my husband where I continue to write music, play concerts and maintain relationships with people dear to me, who left in Russia. After several years in America my son Timur Kambarov was born and is currently 4 years old.
Who influenced you as a musician?
- My teachers played a huge role in establishing me as a musician. This is Ramazan Fataliyev - my first teacher in composition, Irina Nachtigall - my first teacher of music history, Zarema Butaeva - my first teacher of music theory, Galina Gontarenko - professor of composition at the Conservatory, Natalya Simonova - piano professor at the conservatory, and many other wonderful teachers and musicians. A considerable role in my career was played by the Rasul Gamzatov fund, paying for my second Master’s degree. As a young composer, I received a special grant named after Rasul Gamzatov. They supported my recital, which took place in 2007 in Makhachkala at Kumyk Theater and was organized by Irina Nachtigall. In 2014-2015 I received three diplomas in the competition in St. Petersburg for my choirs on poems by Gamzatov, one of which won the nomination "The Best Song of Patriotic Spirit”. In 2015 it was later performed at the festival in Makhachkala.
How did you prepare for the recital in America?
- We have been preparing for about six months. We rehearsed with musicians for 5-6 hours a day. There were three fine musicians who I very much appreciate for the great job which they all did: the violin player - Oleg Bezuglov, cello player - Felix Borges, percussionist - Kiko Serbian, saxophone player - Samir Kambarov. It was very difficult to get everything done by the deadline and organize the concert. To play at the rehearsal, my colleagues Oleg Bezuglov even had to come from Michigan State. But it was worth it! In the end we performed a good and interesting concert. The American public is very open to the perception of new music. Americans listened with great interest about the traditions and culture of Dagestan. As a musician and a public person, I feel responsible for spreading my musical culture. I believe that people can enjoy and understand the flavor of Dagestani music.
When you are coming to the stage do you think about the impression you make on the public or does it go by the wayside?
- I try to fully abstract from the audience. It is not difficult, because each piece is a memory of a particular person, it is nostalgia for the homeland. My favorite piece is "Romance" for cello and piano. This piece is full of drama, permeated sharpness and bright melodic harmonies. It is dedicated to my sister Irada Gasanova, who lives in Baku (Azerbaijan). She is a pianist too, and we are very close. Sometimes it is very difficult to play such a composition because every time you pass through a particular moment of your life, something special to you… The audience usually feels it very well. Probably, that is why some of the people at the concert even cried. It is important for me to pass to the listener the idea and purpose of my music.
Do you plan to play more concerts in the United States?
- Yes, we have already begun to prepare for the next concert, which is shaping up to be in classical - jazz style. I'm writing new songs and taking jazz improvisation classes at the University of Louisville where we played my recital.
Which musicians are idols for you?
- My idols are famous composers as S. Rakhmaninov, F. Chopin, C. C. Debussy, A. Khachaturian and many others. I admire the music of Shirvani Chalaev, Murad Kazhlaev, Sergei Agababov. I teach at the Academy of Music in Louisville KY and learn with my students music of many different composers including Russians. I am happy about the idea that somewhere in America, which is so far away from my homeland, the children, as a new generation of musicians can play and learn music of our wonderful composers. I want people to know as much as they can about brilliant Dagestani musicians. Also, I tell children stories about composers’ lives and their work in Dagestan.
When do you plan to release your second disc?
- The first CD "Dreams" was released 2 years ago. Now we are looking for some funds to release my second disk. It will include new works written in the last 2 years. I want people to hear my new music and would appreciate any sponsorship help.
Are you planning to return to Dagestan?
- It is difficult to plan anything for the future… My heart definitely belongs to the homeland. If you are a Dagestani composer, your mission is not to lose a single moment. The original contact that makes you share the musical culture of Dagestan, filling the planet with charming melodies of Dagestan are easily recognizable in the different corners of the Earth. There is nothing sweeter and richer than those feelings when the birth of the music makes you think about eternal values of life. Music of Dagestan revitalizes people of different nationalities, cultures and countries. It makes you feel the pain and joy, happiness and despair, love and betrayal; it teaches compassion, which we are lacking in at this complex world without peace ... Let's save our flourishing island called “Dagestan”! Let's sing its beauty in mountain songs and fiery dances of the people of Dagestan. Let the world know that there is such an amazing place that I am proud to call my homeland!