Ashgabat, March 13, 2016 – The U.S. Embassy is sponsoring three American music experts to work for a week with the State Symphony Orchestra of the State Cultural Center of Turkmenistan, culminating in a joint concert on Friday, March 17 at the Magtymguly National Music and Drama Theatre. The American musicians are traveling to Turkmenistan in honor of Women’s History Month and 25 years of American-Turkmen cooperation. The concert will feature music from both American and Turkmen composers, including a number of pieces by female American composers.
The three American musicians—percussionist Bonnie Whiting, conductor Michael Lewanski, and pianist John Ferguson—will spend a week working with approximately 75 Turkmen musicians from the State Symphony Orchestra. They will also offer masterclasses to students at the Music College named after D. Ovezov, and to students of the Music Boarding School in Ashgabat.
As part of the event, the U.S. Embassy gave 19 musical instruments—including a xylophone, a drum kit, and other percussion equipment—to the Symphony, as a symbol of U.S.-Turkmen cooperation.
This program builds on several prior visits by John Ferguson, who has visited Turkmenistan over a dozen times with his organization American Voices.
Bonnie Whiting is the Chair of Percussion Studies at the School of Music of the University of Washington. Professor Whiting has taught at the University of Alaska, DePauw University School of Music, and UC San Diego and has performed throughout Europe.
John Ferguson, a musician and teacher, is the director of American Voices, with whom we have partnered for many of our musical programs in the past 25 years. John is a classically-trained pianist, and has performed extensively in concerts, broadcasts, and masterclasses throughout Europe, North and South America, and the Middle East.
Michael Lewanski is a conductor and educator known for his work at DePaul University as well as with orchestras and ensembles, particularly in the Chicago area. He has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, among others.
American Voices is a nonprofit organization that has been conducting cross-cultural engagement with audiences in over 110 nations worldwide since 1993. The organization has showcased American jazz, classical, and hip-hop around the world, and regularly partners with the U.S. Embassy to bring American musicians to Turkmenistan.
In addition to continuing their work with the State Symphony Orchestra, the American music teachers will present American musical culture at a variety of public events:
Monday, March 13
17:00 Presentation on American Music and Cultural Exchanges by John Ferguson at the Information Resource Center (IRC) of the U.S. Embassy
Friday, March 17
19:00 Joint Public Concert in honor of the Women’s History Month and 25 years of American-Turkmen Cooperation, at the Magtymguly National Music and Drama Theatre
Saturday, March 18
15:00 Presentation about American music and jam session at the IRC
Admission to all events is free and open to everyone.
For more information about this program, please contact the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat at 47-35-06 (1) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.