Good Wednesday Morning To Everyone!
I had the privilege to ask Mr. Rovshan Mamedkuliev (1st place 2012 GFA Competition) a few quick questions the other day so I could share them here on ClassicalGuitarTraining.com.
Here is a quick clip from his bio:
Rovshan Mamedkuliev was born on 12th May, 1986 in Baku, Azerbaijan, laureate of All-Russia and international competitions. He started his studies in classical guitar at the age of 11. Graduated from school of art №7 and Music College named after M. A. Balakirev in Nizhny Novgorod (Russia) as a higher achiever. In 2004, he entered the Nizhniy Novgorod Conservatoire (academy) named after M.I. Glinka and in 2009, with honours completed his education at the classical guitar for an associate professor, laureate All-Russia competition of Aleksey Petropavlovsky. He also is currently in graduate school. As evaluated by a teacher, R.Mamedkuliev possesses such important for musician qualities, as an “excellent ear, tenacious memory, developed sense of rhythm and form, bright artistry”, which contributed to his rapid professional growth. Since September 2009, a graduate student of Nizhniy Novgorod Conservatoire, he teaches in the Department of folk instruments, as well as in the Arzamas Music College.
I could’ve easily asked him 100 more questions about pieces and technique etc… but I didn’t want to keep him for too long so I stayed pretty close to the ‘basics’ as well as his GFA/Competition experiences. Please note that Rovshan asked me to edit his grammar in a few places as English isn’t his first language, I only did so where absolutely necessary to help the reader understand the point he was trying to make – I wanted to keep the ‘character’ of his responses as close to the original as possible!
Could you tell us a little about how you got started playing guitar? Did you start out with classical? How old were you?
I started my guitar lessons at the age of 11 years in the city of Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). And it was strictly the classical guitar from the beginning. I’ve always been attracted to and liked the guitar from my childhood, thanks to its wonderful voice. But it is strange, the fact that I started playing guitar due to the accident. In the beginning, I did not think I would pursue a professional music career. I’m just a campaign with a friend, went to school… My parents, to whom I am immensely grateful, always supported me. But they are not musicians, and so they could not help me in professional moments. In the music school, I the first teacher I studied with, whom I later studied at all levels of my education (College and Conservatoire) – is Alexey Petropavlovsky. He really drew me into the world of music. Then came the first performances, competitions, success… And I realized that playing classical guitar – it’s mine!
How about influences when you were younger? Teachers, Composers, Players?
Of course, at first the greatest influence on me is my parents and my guitar teacher Alexey Petropavlovsky. Then, it is difficult to talk about the influence of a particular person. I guess I was trying to “absorb” everything that surrounded me! And technical moments of brilliant performers (like Segovia, Bream, Williams, Russell, Barrueco), and plunged into a world of interesting and my favorite composers of guitar (Tarrega, Villa-Lobos, Brouwer, Dyens…). Of course, I would like to say about the influence of cultures and traditions of other music instruments, most of all is piano music and orchestral music. And of course, I want to say about the great influence of the cultural environment of the city of Nizhny Novgorod, with its outstanding musicians and teachers (such as Victor Golubnichy (bayan), Vladimir Mityakov (guitar), Sophia Propishyan (violin), and others).
What guitar and strings are you currently playing?
I play guitar by the Spanish master – Manuel Contreras, model – 10th Aniversario with spruce top. Strings – Savareze 510 AJ.
Could you talk a little about your “professional education”? Did you study at a conservatory or university? Who were your main teachers?
I studied all the time in the same city (Nizhny Novgorod) and with the same teacher (Alexey Petropavlovsky). I graduated from Nizhny Novgorod Conservatory named after M.I.Glinka, and currently I am studying and this year will try to finish my post-graduate in Nizhny Novgorod. Since 2007, I have often travelled abroad to participate in various competitions and concerts. There I attended master-classes with many prominent artists such as Leo Brouwer, Fabio Zanon, Roland Dyens, Marcin Dylla, Marco Tamayo, and others.
Are there any non-classical influences you would like to tell us about?
And again I want to say that I find it hard to talk about some influences… At first, because I’m still in the learning process and am constantly trying to “grow up”. And secondly, because each man somehow is affected by everything around him. I can say that I listen, of course, not only to classical music. I listen jazz, different folk music, some pop and rock music. And it is interesting. I think I could to say about the influence of different cultures on me. It is a culture of Azerbaijan, since I was born in Azerbaijan and I am the Azeri half (my father’s line). It’s numerous instrumental folk music, mugam (specific Azerbaijan traditional folk genre), beautiful and emotional dances, beautiful nature of Azerbaijan… And of course, culture of Russia, in which I live from 7 years old. It’s genious works of Russian composers, artists, and also the amazing Russian nature, with its breadth and simplicity.
The GFA win must have been quite a thrill! Could you tell us a little bit about the experience? And have you participated in any other competitions you’d like to tell us about?
>Yes, the victory on the GFA – it is really great! Before that I took part in a number of different competitions. The greatest achievement of my competitions – is a victory on the Competition Heitor Villa-Lobos (Salamanca, Spain, 2011), Competition Alexander Frauchi (Moscow, Russia, 2011), Competition Leo Brouwer (Antony, France, 2009). Contests – this is really a great opportunity for the artist to realize – concerts, money, fame, to share experiences with other guitarists…
You obviously have to do a lot of prep work for a big competition like the GFA – Can you share a little about how you approach working up a competition programme?
Yes, I really focused on this competition for a long time and tried to put all of my previous experience into my preparing for the GFA . First, it is a choice program. I tried to choose my program, on the one hand, to be most contrasting, on the other hand, it needed to reflect my own properties, and be loved by myself. Secondly, the work on the program. I tried to engage in the process of preparing by all of my friends and teachers, I played the program to them, listened to their advice. So, I can say that it’s not just my victory!
Are there differences in how you approach a competition than a recital?
Yes, of course. At the competition you focus and stress more, try not to make technical and textual mistakes. The recital is a creative atmosphere, you have more trust your feelings, concentrating more on the imagination and emotions.
What are your plans for the coming year?
In the near future I’m going to learn some new works, to prepare and to make recording on the studios of Naxos and Melbay. And there are a number of concerts and projects in Russia for the season from September 2012 to May 2013. I also continue my education as post-graduate and continue to work as a teacher at the Nizhny Novgorod Conservatory and the College of Music in Arzamas (Russia). Well, and from June 2013 to April 2014, I think I’m always busy with a GFA tour!
Anything else you would like to share with our audience of aspiring classical guitarists?
I suggest as much as possible “to fall in love” with our beatiful instrument. Well, then – a confidence, a sea of work, a drop of luck and a positive attitude, and All will be!
Check out some of Rovshan’s playing here:
You can check out Rovshan’s website HERE
Once again, thanks for Rovshan for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions!
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