Month: December 2018

Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation: “In 2018 we have set a new course for multiple projectivity”

Many people used to associate the Foundation’s activities with the medical sector because of the large-scale principal project “Autism. One world for all” and the Burabike festival. But recently some important public initiatives were announced in other fields as well: reconstruction of public space, support of cultural projects, humanitarian aid and assistance to socially vulnerable young people.

Reconstruction of the Botanical Garden

In 2018 Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation allocated about 15 million dollars for the project of infrastructure renovation of the Central Botanical Garden in Almaty. Major works will be completed by the end of 2019. Employees of the Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction asked for assistance. Lack of financing led to the plant irrigation system becoming unserviceable, the infrastructure turning obsolete, the garden’s green resources decreasing, scope for scientific research and performance of the educational function diminishing considerably.
Pictured: Schematic design of the Central Botanical Garden of Almaty
A lot was done within a year: a press tour of the garden and public discussions of the proposed concept of reconstruction were held, feedback from city inhabitants and activists was received, a schematic design, whereby works will start as soon as in spring 2019, was presented and agreed.  
“Our main principle in this project is “to do no harm”. Footpaths, water reservoirs, plants will stay where they are. We will create an environment for preservation of the botanical garden’s uniqueness and will make it more modern-day,” says Yelizaveta Dyomina, the Foundation’s Communications Manager. – “We are doing everything in the most transparent and open way, take decisions together with the city inhabitants, activists and international experts”. “The Botanical Garden is a scientific organisation and a specially protected natural territory. That is why the garden will have a special lighting system – bottom-up, a special watering system – via aryks (irrigation ditches), all footpaths will be made of natural materials – gravel, and parterres at the entrances will be made of glass so that they wouldn’t block the view. The garden will become accessible for low mobility people, and the cognitive function will be delivered via a mobile application,” says Foundation Director Marat Aitmagambetov.
Pictured: Glass parterre

Assistance in preservation of cultural heritage

Cooperation with the Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation became another long-term project of the outgoing year. Its purpose is to preserve the heritage of the famed artist, to support young talented Kazakhstani musicians. For the first year of this cooperation Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation supported four initiatives:
  1. Award of five scholarships of 500,000 tenge each to talented students of the Chair of Wind and Percussion Instruments, National Conservatoire;
  2. Preparation and publication of the printed music collection of Batyr’s Kazakh songs;
  3. Organisation of the Republican Contest for Wood-Winders named after Batyrkhan Shukenov, with a prize fund of 5,250,000 tenge;
  4. Preparation of a gift CD and DVD edition featuring the entire solo legacy of Batyr. This project is being implemented jointly with Artemiy Lebedev’s studio and will be announced in 2019.  
To effect these four initiatives, 70 mln tenge were allocated in the outgoing year. Cooperation will continue in 2019, the Foundation will allocate some more 51 mln tenge, ensuring scholarships will be granted not to five but to ten talented students, and the Republican Contest will cover not only wood-wind instruments but brass ones too.
Pictured: Baurzhan Shukenov presents the “Sagym Duniye” printed music edition
“All that we are striving for in this cooperation is to bring up a new progressive generation of Kazakhstanis with whom you want to live in one country, and to form an adequate cultural environment here. For this, I have returned from Moscow. The same was done by uncle Batyr and my father at their time. It is great that here our vision and the Foundation’s vision tie together. Both they and us are disposed to the long-term cooperation – for 5, for 10 years ahead,” says Nargiz Shukenova, Director of the Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation.

Distribution of bank cards among river flood sufferers

River floods at the beginning of spring 2018 caused most damage to the East Kazakhstan Oblast. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, in cooperation with the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan and Fortebank, managed to render targeted assistance to 863 families in 20 localities. The Red Crescent staff gave people 82 mln tenge using an innovation method – bank cards.
“We thought this method of rendering humanitarian aid would be more targeted. Some need medicines, some – warm clothes, and some – food. In line with our project, representatives of the Red Crescent Society give Fortebank cards to every family and we transfer aid in the amount 30,000 tenge per person. Every family can use this money to buy whatever exactly they need,” says Marat Aitmagambetov.

WeArt centre for creative education of youth

The high level of youth unemployment is a pressing issue in Kazakhstan. According to data of the Committee on Statistics under the RoK Ministry of National Economy, there are more unemployed young people in Almaty rather than in other regions – 19.3% of the total figure nationwide.  In 2018 Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation took part in setting up the WeArt project – centre of creative education of young people from orphanages, low-income and multi-child families. Besides the Foundation, the project was supported by the Narxoz University and the DAR Ecosystem tech company. The grant amount comprised 21 mln tenge. This money was used to buy equipment, to renovate premises and to hire qualified teachers. In 2018 youngsters were taught free of charge in modern technologies of video editing and internet marketing. Teachers included, for example, graduates of the New York Film Academy. In 2019 the WeArt organisers plan to add culinary and design courses and to begin admitting for training people with special needs.
“It is important that right from the beginning WeArt has been selecting those professions where they can slot their graduates into jobs,” says Yelizaveta Dyomina.

Support of children with ASD

In 2018 the Foundation also did not overlook projects aimed at the health care of Kazakhstanis. The major project of the Foundation remained the “Autism. One world for all” project, thanks to which they managed to set up a network of Assyl Miras autism centres in six cities of Kazakhstan. Centres in Uralsk and Aktobe were opened in 2018 in partnership with local akimats (city administrations). The purpose of this programme is to introduce in Kazakhstan the most modern but at the same time scientifically proved international methodologies of assistance in adaptation of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The founder, Bulat Utemuratov, has allocated 12.5 mln dollars for these purposes. The centres render assistance free of charge, giving great attention to training of parents of children with ASD. The centres currently employ over 100 professionals who were trained by the best foreign specialists. The staff of the centres have already diagnosed about 5,000 children, 2,471 out of them – in 2018. To better inform the medical community, parents of children with ASD, public officials and non-commercial organisations, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation organised, for the third time now, the annual international conference “Autism. The world of opportunities”, where speakers were experts from the USA, the SAR and Russia. The conference was attended by 350 people.

Popularisation of philanthropy through mass sports

For the sixth time now, the Foundation traditionally held the Burabike festival of charity, music and sports jointly with the Rixos Borovoe Hotel. In 2018, a record 205 million tenge was collected, the money was spent to purchase vital medical equipment for children’s medical institutions, the handover of equipment will take place in early 2019.

Support of children with the ICP diagnosis

In 2018 the Foundation allocated 330 mln tenge to help the Association of Parents of Disabled Children (ARDI) and Public Foundation DOM (Mercy Volunteer Society) to open a Rehabilitation Centre for children with the ICP diagnosis. The approach to this project is much alike the “Autism. One world for all” programme, the Foundation plans to introduce the most modern and scientifically proved methodologies of rehabilitation in Kazakhstan, to disseminate and promote knowledge among parents, medical community and public organisations. The project also provides for an element of training for specialists to adapt the gained knowledge in Kazakhstan. Six staff members of this centre have already been trained in South Korea and listened to a course run by an expert from the USA.

“It was an instant understanding of the importance of our work”: the Shukenovs about their cooperation with Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation

The Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation was set up in 2015, after the tragic death of the renowned Kazakhstani. And three years later the foundation got a new manager – Shukenov’s niece Nargiz took over the management of the foundation, and the musician’s brother, Baurzhan Shukenov, chaired the board of trustees. New ambitious goals were set then – now the foundation supports young Kazakhstani talents, like Batyr himself once was, preserves and reinterprets the musician’s heritage. And Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation helps them in doing so.
Baurzhan and Nargiz Shukenov
“It was Bulat Zhamitovich who called me to talk, he asked what we thought about commemoration work. I shared with him my plans which are now being implemented under the patronage of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. It was an instant understanding of the importance of our work – Batyr’s name always knitted together a great circle of musicians and cultural luminaries. It is still serving and moving the processes related to culture and its perception in Kazakhstan,” says Baurzhan Shukenov.

Five scholarships

The first project implemented by the Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation jointly with Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was establishment of five scholarships for students of the Chair of Wind and Percussion Instruments, Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatoire. Every laureate received 500,000 tenge. The winners were selected by video applications. The jury of independent experts, conservatoire teachers, representatives of the Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation and Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation were assessing not just performance skills and artistry of candidates but also their motivation, to understand their vision of a creative career, to reveal the most talented and ambitious of them.
“When a musician reaches a certain level, he has to show himself off – as a performer or in international contests. To be prepared for this, one needs a good instrument, a programme and training – this requires investment. Thanks to good relations with the conservatoire teachers we are able to keep the track of achievements made by the scholars, and I think that, with the support rendered by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, we will have an opportunity to help them in their future careers if they show their worth and set high goals,” says the Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
This year the scholarship was awarded only to the students of the Kurmangazy Conservatoire, in 2019 the Foundation is going to expand and to divide the contest into several levels – higher educational institutions, vocational schools and specialised secondary musical schools – and to nominate laureates in each category, to render support to all participants of the music scene.  

Printed music collection of 14 songs by Batyr – “Sagym Duniye”

On 26 October the Foundation announced another important project – publication of the “Sagym Duniye” collection, notes edition of songs by Batyrkhan Shukenov set to music of Kazakhstani composers. It included 14 songs by Batyrkhan Shukenov in the Kazakh language. Notes are tailored for amateur musicians, musical school students. The publishers want “Sagym Duniye” to bring the Kazakh academic music to every home, to make it more accessible and popular. They have already sent the collections out to all Kazakhstani musical schools. One can buy notes from the “Meloman” network in all cities of Kazakhstan and online.
“Many pieces of music were lack of scores, therefore we had to not only buy out copyrights and publishing rights but also to pay for creation of orchestrations and piano reductions. Great job was done by Adilzhan Tolukpayev who adapted compositions and put them to notes. The entire work was financed by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation via our Foundation, and any proceeds from sales come directly to Batyr’s heirs,” says Nargiz Shukenova.
Pictured: Nargiz Shukenova with the “Sagym Duniye” printed music collection.

1st Republican Batyrkhan Shukenov Contest

As long as back in May the Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundationb and Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation agreed to hold the 1st Republican Contest for wood-winders named after Batyrkhan Shukenov – talented solo saxophonist – from 26 to 30 November. The contest was preceded by intensive preparation, as participants had to prepare a serious concert programme, including performance with an orchestra. The first round was held online, and the second and the third rounds were held in the concert hall of the Kurmangazy Conservatoire in Almaty where the relevant public attended: students of the Conservatoire, their parents, music community members and journalists. The event was attended by Batyr’s mom – Dilara Ibragimovna Shukenova, and Yakov Matveyevich Tkachenko – renowned Kazakhstani saxophonist and Batyr’s first teacher.
Yakov Matveyevich Tkachenko
The winners were selected in five categories: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and alto saxophone, among 28 participants who made it through to the second round of the competition – students and professional musicians. Competitors had to show themselves off in the solo performance, in duet, trio, quartet quintet and ensemble performance accompanied by the “Camerata Kazakhstana” orchestra.
“We have many contests for vocalists, for folk instrument performers, piano and violin players – at a high level. To our opinion, winders were a little bit in a shadow. One of the tasks is to use Batyr’s name to draw more attention to the wind instruments, to this contest and to organize it at a high level: to invite a reputable international jury, to define a level, a point of reference for further work,” says Baurzhan Shukenov.
On 30 November, during the festive gala concert, winners became known – all of them are from Almaty and Astana: Khadisha Yelibayeva won in the “Flute” nomination, Almat Zhailaubayev – in the “Oboe” nomination, Tlek Dautkan – in the “Clarinet” nomination, Olzhas Ashirmatov – in the “Bassoon” nomination, and Arukhat Mussaipov – in the “Alto Saxophone” nomination. Contestants were assessed by the recognised international jury: well-known musicians from France, Germany, Russia and Kazakhstan. Among them – Christian Elin (saxophone), Nikolay Popov (flute), Akim Mukhatzhanov, Nicolas Krauze (conductor), Nuraly Tanatar.
The jury and the winner in the “Alto Saxophone” nomination category
In two years the organisers are planning to enter the internal arena, to invite near and far abroad musicians to participate, that will help to expand the repertoire and to give an impetus for improvement to the Kazakhstani musicians. Baurzhan and Nargiz Shukenov note the importance of the fundamental approach attributable to Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation which allows them to nurture long-term plans of the Foundation’s activities.
“We have already approved the 2019 programme. Big job is planned for the contest next year – it was decided to hold the contest for brass winders and percussionists.”
In 2019 the Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation plans to produce a collection of audio and video editions. All solo legacy of the musician will be recorded on discs: two solo concerts and several editions found after his death. Many of them are now unavailable on information carriers, they are not on the Internet. This extensive and important work on preserving the heritage of the eminent culture figure of Kazakhstan carried out by the Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation management will also be supported by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. One will be able to buy collections in the “Meloman” network of shops where Batyr’s albums were sold when he was alive.
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