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Published on:
Monday 29 April 2024
Arts and humanities

Wolfson College Enjoys World-Class Recital from Visiting Scholar

At the end of Michaelmas term, Wolfson was treated to a night of music performed by composer, pianist and Visiting Scholar of the College Rakhat-Bi Abdyssagin. The event was featured on Kazakhstani TV and is available to view on Wolfson’s YouTube channel.

The recital is available to view here.

Dr Rakhat-Bi Abdyssagin is a world-renowned pianist and composer, and joined Wolfson as a Visiting Scholar for Michaelmas of 2023. Dr Abdyssagin, who was born in 1999, began his undergraduate studies at the Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory in Almaty at the age of 13, and at 17 became a graduate student of the Kazakh National University of Arts. He holds two doctorates, from the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan and the Conservatorio Cesare Pollini in Padua, and by the age of 20 he had already written two operas and more than 150 compositions (no wonder he’s earned the nickname ‘the Kazakh Mozart’!)

Dr Abdyssagin came to Wolfson proposing to research the intersection of quantum mechanics and contemporary music, sponsored by Fellows from the College’s Quantum Foundations Cluster. As he told a rapt audience in the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, classical music came about at approximately the same time as classical mechanics, as exemplified by the work of Isaac Newton. If tonality is a kind of “analogue of gravity” and “sonata form is a reflection of dialectics in music,” then Dr Abdyssagin likewise sees parallels between the contemporary tradition in which he works and the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics that arose in the early twentieth century.

Dr Abdyssagin’s recital was structured to demonstrate this shift from the classical to the contemporary, beginning with the late baroque and concluding with the early twentieth century, drawing out the parallels with physics along the way. The full recital is now available to view on our YouTube channel.

The recital was also covered by the TV channel Khabar 24, based in Kazakhstan. Their interviews with Rakhat-Bi, College President Tim Hitchens, and other members of the College can be seen on YouTube.  

Concert Programme

  • Frédéric Chopin, Fantaisie-Impromptu in C♯ minor (Op. 66)
  • J.S. Bach, Partita No. 6 in E Minor – 1. Toccata (BWV 830)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major – 1. Allegro (K. 545)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (‘Für Elise’) (WoO 59, Bia 515)
  • Frédéric Chopin, Ballade No. 1 in G minor (Op. 23)
  • Frédéric Chopin, Ballade No. 2 in F Major (Op. 38)
  • Franz Liszt, Nocturne No. 9 from Années de pèlerinage I (‘Les cloches de Genève’) (S. 160/9)
  • Alexandre Scriabin, Etude in D♯ minor (Op. 8 No. 12)
  • Rakhat-Bi Abdyssagin, Rondine Piangente