American musicians visit Turkmenistan, to play with local orchestra


ASHGABAT (TCA) — The U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat 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 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, the U.S. Embassy said.

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 master classes 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.

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 in Ashgabat.

Admission to all events is free and open to everyone.

Sergey Kwan