By Breon O’Farrell
Elvira Bekova was born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, the place Russians joke about when they want to say “The Middle of Nowhere”. It is a barren and desolate place without trees, where coal was extracted by miners during the Imperial era and with mostly slave labor during the unsuccessful, Soviet regime.
Elvira was born in this unwelcoming place where political dissidents were sent to be punished with “internal exile”. There were few realistic opportunities for artists and musicians in Karaganda. Being accepted into the conservatory at Moscow would be required for a career, and it wasn’t even something to dream about as so few from Kazakhstan had ever been admitted.
There was a school with an exceptional teacher, a cellist named Roman Mazanov who Stalin had exiled for having surrendered to the Germans instead of fighting to the death. Between his teaching skill and her natural ability, her talent would thrive. Elvira made every appropriate progress for a student pursuing a professional career. She studied the Russian method which is admired throughout the world, and she became one of the very few Kazakh instrumentalists ever to be accepted at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.
She would become the first Kazakh graduate to be awarded gold medal honors which made her the pride of all Kazakhstan. She was awarded the title of “Honoured Artist of Kazakhstan”. Her list of accomplishments continued to be of the highest order, playing with important international orchestras and making many recordings. Most gratifying among these accomplishments was the forming of The Bekova Piano Trio with her sisters Eleanora and Alfia. Their musical unity is notable as was remarked by Gennady Rozhdestvensky world reknowned conductor and one time artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater, ‘The Bekova Sisters Trio is without question one of the best piano trios of our day.
Performing a wide variety of genres, these talented musicians demonstrate faultless command of style and outstanding virtuosity together with a keen sense of ensemble.’ Nineteen years of mar riage have passed since Dr Michael Humphreys was first smitten by Elvira Bekova. Together, here in Italy, they started their String Instruments Course: Citerna MasterClass of Music which seeks to instill “Mastertzvo” or mastery of Chamber Music.
High level young professionals and amateur students from around the world are enrolled from July 7th through July 20th. During this same period the music makers and the music lover soffer the entire community a free concert series. Visit www.felcinobianco.com for the concert schedule or to register for the MasterClass course.