Violinist Fatima Rakisheva performs at a concerto in Islamabad on Sunday. — Dawn
Violinist Fatima Rakisheva performs at a concerto in Islamabad on Sunday. — Dawn

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Study Group (ASG) hosted a violin concerto featuring Fatima Rakisheva at the Serena Hotel. The award-winning violinist hails from Almaty, Kazakhstan, and lives between Paris and Islamabad.

Aimon Fatima, the ASG coordinator for Comparative Cultures and Art, introduced Rakisheva, saying: “I welcome you to a magical performance by Fatima Rakisheva. She has completed her superior diplomas as a concert performer in chamber music and violin from the École Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot. She has performed as the principal violinist for the Camerata de Paris and Astana Philharmonic Orchestra.”

Fatima Rakisheva began her first segment with Silence Speaks by Rolf Undsæt Løvland, the renowned Norwegian composer and lyricist.

“I am very happy to be here tonight and I would like to thank the Asian Study Group for inviting me. I will play pieces from different genres of music such as baroque, classical, romantic and others. The first part consists of contemporary musicians. I will play with pre-recorded orchestra accompaniments. I hope you enjoy the music,” she said.

She performed the unforgettable film music by Ennio Morricone from the 1990 Cinema Paradiso which won the Oscar for best foreign language film. This was followed by Ladies in Lavender by Nigel Hess. Fatima’s rendition of a Tosca Remix by Giacomo Puccini was dramatic, befitting the tragic opera set in Rome amid the upheavals that characterised the turn of the 18th century.

Contemporary classical composer Max Richter followed, as Rakisheva interpreted Winter 1, a re-composition and re-interpretation of Vivaldi’s violin concertos The Four Seasons. Phased, looped, fast-paced – the piece gave elements of the original, a post-modern spin.

Moving on to the classical composers, fluctuating tempo characterised Mozart’s concert for Violin and Orchestra no° 5, played in A major, while Bach’s sonatafor violin and keyboard: Adagio Ma Non Tanto was deeply intricate – both performed with clarity and care.

Aaron Copland’s Hoedown was, much as the name suggests, a lively movement reminiscent of traditional Irish music and American culture.

Another classic performed was Chaconne by Italian composer, Tomaso Vitali. The profoundly crafted baroque composition, beautifully performed, evoked an emotional response. Changes in tone led the listeners be swayed between enthusiasm and melancholy.

Perveen Malik, president of the ASG, thanked Fatima for the mesmerising performance. She said: “It is a rare, rare privilege to have an artist of her calibre in Islamabad. I first heard her a year ago and that was with a rock band and thought that I must have her at the ASG.”

The audience consisted of music lovers from the diplomatic community, ASG members and guests, who requested an encore where she played La Vie en Rose of the Edith Piaf fame. The vibrant, optimistic melody was composed by Marguerite Monnot and Louis Guglielmi.

Sadia Akram said: “We were all very enthralled! It is, as Perveen said, rare to have such events in Islamabad and I wish we had more of them. She played the intricate pieces with such longing and skill.”

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2022

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