Kyrgyz American Foundation co-founder Jonathan Levin performs at Nichols Concert Hall in Chicago on November 5, 2016. The performance, titled “Sounds of Kyrgyzstan in Chicago,” was the Kyrgyz American Foundation’s debut event in the United States. (Photo courtesy of the Kyrgyz American Foundation)
The Kyrgyz American Foundation is staging a concert in New York on March 16, driven by the belief that music, rather than words, can often be more effective in building connections among people.
For the foundation’s co-founders, Azamat Sydykov and Jonathan Levin, the March 16 event, titled “Sounds of Kyrgyzstan in New York,” is not so much a one-time performance as it is the beginning of a long-term endeavor. “Music unites, and art makes us better. Music knows no borders,” Sydykov said.
The concert will bring a colorful celebration of Kyrgyz music to New York’s Merkin Concert Hall; the program features classical and traditional Kyrgyz and American music composed and performed by artists from the two countries. In addition to Sydykov and Levin, both experienced concert pianists, scheduled performers include soprano Nikoleta Rallis, pianists Joel A. Martin and Kairy Koshoeva, cellist Numira Greenberg, as well as Elvira Abdilova and Perizat Kopobaeva on the national instrument of Kyrgyzstan, the komuz.
The Kyrgyz American Foundation aims to build strong and enduring ties between Kyrgyzstan and the United States, Sydykov and Levin told EurasiaNet.org. All too often, the connections between nations are only strategic and political, Sydykov explained, adding that the foundation intends to move Kyrgyz-American relations beyond “temporary things such as Manas Air Base.” While others are focused on building walls, the foundation hopes to use music and culture to show that there are better ways to understand each other, he said.
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