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T.Purevsukh: Musicians take up every possible job to sustain their livelihood

Trans. by B.DULGUUN

 As part of the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of Mongolia-Swiss diplomatic relations and the 10th Anniversary of the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) Agency in Mongolia, the SDC initiated the Agula Swiss-Mongolian joint music production in partnership with the Arts Council of Mongolia (ACM). Argabileg, an  ethno-jazz band from Mongolia, was selected for the project.

The following is an interview with one of the best young composers of modern Mongolian music and pianist of Arga Bileg, Purevsukh Tyeliman, about his work in the joint Mongolian-Swiss music project as well as other issues.

Despite producing music of many genres, including contemporary, classical, rock, ethno, post-pop, and jazz, composer T.Purevsukh continues to infuse new styles into his compositions.

Arga Bileg was selected to participate for the Mongolian side in the implementation of the joint Agula Swiss-Mongolian Music Project, and held the first concert earlier in spring. How is preparation for the joint album coming along?

For our band and other Mongolian musicians, the Agula album is a huge project that will be released internationally  with formal intellectual property rights. The album requires a sufficient amount of time, as we have to work under contracts approved globally. We held our first concert in spring. The most important thing left now is the joint album. It will be ready in autumn. For starters, we’ll be performing the album in Switzerland and other European countries for introductory purposes.

Out of the few ethnic music bands in Mongolia, Arga Bileg was selected for the project by the Swiss. Why do you think that your band was chosen?

The SDC in Mongolia initiated a partnership with the ACM for a joint music production. Mongolia has several ethnic bands but no ethno jazz bands. Arga Bileg is producing music with a motive to develop and flourish music of this specific genre. Ethnic jazz is actually widely spread throughout the world. Mongolia can also advance its music to international levels with a new color. Mongolia has theoretical and methodological expertise in combining folk music with classical music. Many great musicians such as Biligjargal, Khangal, Jantsannorov and Sharav have combined and cultivated theories of classical music with folk music. However, our band is trying to infuse folk music with jazz, specifically with classic and modern jazz music.

You worked as a representative composer of Mongolia for the Agula Project. The two countries are different in terms of land, culture, traditions and mentality. Was it difficult to partner musicians of the two countries? What kind of a project is the Swiss composer working on? Was he afraid of facing disagreements with Mongolian artists?

All matters related to Mongolian and Swiss musician’s cooperation was handled by the ACM. The council gave me and Swiss composer Heinrich Kaenzig opportunities to exchange compositions, select our two favorites and rearrange them. Within the Agula Project, we’re writing and performing ten songs in total. I composed the remaining three compositions for this project.

In the beginning, I did worry about who’ll come and what would happen. Since we know which music suits which and have done a lot of research, there weren’t many difficulties. Also, many skilled professionals came from Switzerland. They fit in right into our motive to break the standard sound of Mongolia’s traditional music and perform at a different level. For instance, our band tries to approach and spread yatga (zither), which is famous in Asia, to European music trends at our every performance. Experts and the audience always compliment us after concerts on the usage of yatga in classic jazz music.

Lately, Mongolians are approaching professional musicians to have their children taught music at a young age. Although not all of them will become ballerinas or musicians, this may be the right attitude. Can you comment on this?

I agree. It’ll be useful for future social education if young children can get closer to the arts and grow up with artistic acuity. There’s nothing better than having your child mature with an education in the arts. This is very useful. I hope there are many places which give a musical education to children. In order to contribute to this, for three years, I have established a fund for supporting musical education and will be organizing a piano competition for young pianists. In order to provide musical education and not just organize competitions, I’m working in my own capacity to organize training and distribute books. Instructors have said it’s beneficial for students in music schools.

It’s said that pianists and violinists don’t do household chores because it damages their hands. Is the length of fingers and state of hands really important for playing instruments?

That’s a misunderstanding. Since it’s a hand, it can do everything any other person can do. Some people say that their child’s hands aren’t suitable for playing instruments. It’s never decided that a child can play an instrument depending on their fingers or hands. The most important priority is whether that child has an interest in playing an instrument.

Are you saying that any child can play instruments regardless of their fingers and hands?

Any child can. Truthfully, children can play better if instruments suitable for their hand size are chosen for them. Professionally, it’s a bit different. The reason that the Music and Dance College enrolls only a few students is because instructors know what sorts of difficulties a child with big hands will face when playing major professional music pieces straight away.  In other words, instructors calculate whether a child’s hand will become stronger as he or she learns to play required music pieces before graduation. Professionals only tell parents that their child isn’t suitable to play that instrument since they’ll face such difficulties in the future, but they don’t say that the child can’t play instruments. For instance, let’s say that 100,000 children play the piano in Mongolia. They don’t all have to play major professional music pieces. There are endless amounts of music pieces for the piano.

Why did you become a pianist? You could have chosen a different instrument.

I didn’t have a choice. Both of my parents are musicians. My father is a violinist and my mother plays the bass violin. I grew up close to music. When I was six, I was accepted into the piano class at the Music and Dance College. Mongolia’s honorary pianist Dorjpagma taught me everything she knew for 12 years. A teacher-in-training at our school advised that I should learn about jazz music and that I should learn independently, since there wasn’t a course for it in school.

Your hands look very delicate, almost like a child’s. It may be because you play the piano, but do you take part in household chores?

Of course I do.  How could I live without doing any chores? I clean the floor at my job (Laughs). I can’t develop muscles or make them too stiff. It effects how I press on keys. I mustn’t lift extremely heavy objects just because the arms are the strongest parts of the body.

Aside from being a member of Arga Bileg, are you associated with any other organizations?

I partner with some music projects at On and Off Production. I’ve been working with them for the last four years.

How do you spend your weekends? Or are you too busy to rest on weekends?

There aren’t any weekends anymore for the band. We’re really busy since we’ve got a lot to do. During concert preparation, it’s common to work all night, without getting any sleep. You can probably count how many weekends I was at home.

The word “busy” seems to have become the latest trend for Mongolians. How often do you use the words “busy” and “no”?

Lately, I’ve been using it a lot. Before, I couldn’t say no and accumulated too much work by accepting every request and favor. My friends used to even advise me to say no sometimes.

What is the Mongolian music industry lacking? As a young musician working hard to eliminate weaknesses, is music able to provide you with opportunities to live a content life?

I sustain my livelihood through music. It feels fantastic to do what I aspired to do. However, the classical and jazz music that I chose isn’t appreciated as much in Mongolia, compared to other countries. Even when classical music performances are free to watch at the Mongolian State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, the audience is considerably small. It’s worse for jazz music. I can’t learn to play all the music styles since it’ll require a long time, maybe even longer than my whole life. In order to sustain their livelihood, musicians have to work in many different genres. We musicians take up every possible job that doesn’t deviate from the arts.

 

Source: Unuudur news http://mongolnews.mn/w/53551

 

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=10891

Posted by on Jul 27 2014. Filed under Топ мэдээ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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