«We need to look into the past in order to understand the present and foresee the future»
N.A.Nazarbayev

Kulpash Iliyasova: hard destiny of the first Kazakh violinist

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Kulpash Iliyasova: hard destiny of the first Kazakh violinist
In the fall of 2016 the book "Narrated story or Istanbul notes" about the 99-year-old Kazakh violinist Alim Almat who lives in Istanbul was published

This book, which is about a man with a rare destiny, who lived a hard life abroad, is written by a leading researcher of the Institute of History of State, candidate of historical sciences, associate professor Ilyasova Kulpash.

Who is Alim Almat, still unknown to the Kazakh readers? Where, in what years did he live? What is the importance of his works and life which has a special place in history? These and many other questions arise from our readers. In this connection, we were able to talk with the author K. Ilyasova.

Kulpash Myrzamuratovna, our readers know little about the character of your book Alim Almat. And information of him is very little. Who is he? What did he do?

Real name of Alim Almat is Galymzhan Absalamov. He was born in 1917 in Irgiz district of Aktobe region.

In the initial years of the Soviet regime formation, on uncle Temirbek Zhurgenov’s advice he studied first in Tashkent, then in Almaty musical college on a specialty "violinist". However, during the persecution of his relatives Uzakbai Kulymbetov and Temirbek Zhurgenev, for some time he was persecuted at school, but, fortunately, he was able to continue his studies and get a diploma. As a student, on behalf of his teacher I. Lesman, he gave lessons to Aytkesh Tolganbayev, called the first violinist in Kazakhstan.

You say Aytkesh Tolganbayev? Is he the first Kazakh violinist? If so, is the first Kazakh violinist his master Alim ata?

There is no doubt that it is so. But stereotyped opinion of competitive instincts, that may occur in our minds has no sense. Because, at the first world Kurultai of the Kazakhs held in 1992 in Almaty, the two musicians, a teacher and a pupil met. Both were very polite to each other. But we still have to admit the first Kazakh violinist Alim Almat.

In addition, a close relative of Alim Almat, Roman Rakhievich – a doctor from Aktobe, believes that the opinion of Galymzhan ata about it is a sign of modesty.

They say that he had a hard life during the war. Could you tell me more about that?

Galymzhan ata was drafted into the army in 1939, and when the war broke out, he was taken prisoner in Poland. It is known that in the camps, the prisoners lived in terrible conditions. However, Alim Almat caught the eye, skillfully playing the violin, and in 1943 he was sent to the Berlin Conservatory through Turkestan Legion. And when the bombing started in Berlin, he continued his studies in Vienna.

Is it true that Galymzhan Ata met with Mustafa Shokai?

After the war, through Karys Kanatbay he wrote Mariya Shokai a letter and was transferred from Berlin Conservatory to Paris Conservatory named after S. Rakhmaninov. Alim ata did not meet with a great figure, a fighter for the independence Mustafa Shokai. This he said in an interview with the poet Kasymkhan Begmanov, author of the expedition "Mustafa Shokai’s ways". But he maintained a close relationship with his wife Mariya Shokai and lived at their home for two years. After graduation, Alim Almat followed Mariya Shokai’s advice to move from France to Turkey in autumn 1950. Since then he lived in Istanbul, there he started a family. During the 25 years, he worked in the Istanbul Symphony Orchestra. With Mariya Shokai whom he worshiped as a mother he corresponded continuously from 1961 to 1969. As it is written in one of these letters, Alim Almat took part in the work of erecting a monument to Mustafa Shokai in Berlin, and also collaborated with "Turk Eli” Committee. In 1969, when Mariya Shokai passed away, Alim Almat met with his brother, cameraman Fayzolla Absalyamov in Istanbul.

Did he want to see his homeland? How did he meet the independence?

In 1992Alim Almat visited intentionally the first world kurultai of the Kazakhs and met with his home country. Since then, all the descendants of his grandfather Almat maintain close contact with each other. He has two grandchildren Murat and Niel of only son Tore.

At the time, Mariya Shokai entrusted Alim Almat personal belongings of Mustafa Shokai in the hope that he would carry it homeland. He fulfilled her request after our country gained its independence.

What is your goal in writing the book "Narrated story or Istanbul notes?" What will this book bring to readers?

The information about Alim Almat began to publish in Kazakhstan since 1996, but in different parts were different materials about him, and the idea to gather all the information into one occurred in 2014 in the framework of the program "People in the stream of history". Based on the available information, I as the author collected the full version of the biography of the first Kazakh violinist Alim Almat and published the Kazakh version letters of Mariya Shokai to Alim Almat from the book «Yoldas Alim'in defteri» of Turkish scholar Tarik Minkari and from the book "I am writing to you from Nogent" of domestic scientist, Mustafa biographer Bakyt Sadykova. It also increases the value of this book.

My main goal - to write on paper "oral history" stored in the memory of our compatriots who remained abroad on the will of fate, by writing biography of Alim Almat who underwent hardships of the war and forced to remain in a strange land. Because the fate of the prisoners during the war is the fate of the Kazakhs, its serious consequences have not disappeared yet.

Thank you for the interview. I wish you success.