Nouruz Ensemble

Organised by Razia Sultanova

The aim of the group Nouruz, is to share with their audiences the atmosphere of celebrations and festivities, from Central Asia. Performed on authentic folk instruments, Nouruzís programme combines classical music, folk music and dances, wedding songs, meditative munajats, 19th century compositions, and womenís ritual music from Central Asia. Nouruz Ensemble, established by Razia Sultanova in 2005 at SOAS, has been performing in various venues, including Asia House (London, 21 March, 2006), the Asia Music Centre (London, 28 September 2007), and the Oxford Muslim Festival MECO (9 November, 2008), Forthcoming concerts are scheduled in Cambridge, London and Venice, Italy (Fondacioni cini, 2 December 2009).


Instruments used by the Nouruz ensemble

The Dutar is one of the most popular string instruments in Central Asia. It consists of a large pear-shaped body and a long neck with two twisted silken strings. In recent decades the instrument has created great fascination among Western audiences for its gentle sound and image, which is associated with the Great Silk Road.

The Uzbek Rubab is a long-necked fretted lute with a thin, skin-covered sound box. The instrument is often called the Kashgar rubab after the town in Uighuristan to distinguish it from other forms of the instrument, like the Pamir and Afghan rubab.

The Tanbur is the only Central Asian long-necked fretted medieval lute used both in plucked and bowed types, called respectively Tanbur (plucked) or Sato (bowed). The Tanbur has a small body and an extraordinarily long neck with three strings, which produce a characteristic thick sound.

The Doira is a traditional Uzbek instrument. It is a circular frame drum held in the hand and played with the fingers.


Members of Nouruz ensemble

The ensemble Nouruz has three members, which each bring a slice of their own culture and experience to the group, creating a multicultural style of performance. They come from different backgrounds and upbringings, offering a new insight for listeners.

Razia Sultanova (dutar, voice, doira) studied at the Uzbek State Conservatoire in Tashkent and the Moscow State Conservatoire, where she completed her Ph.D. She is an expert on Central Asian musical traditions in theory and practical terms. Her performing repertoire focuses on Uzbek female folk music traditions.

Kamilla Mirzabaeva (piano, voice, doira) Born in 1979, graduated at the Tashkent music Conservatory as a proficcient pianist. Since then, she has joined the ensemble, and performed at various destinations, notably touring in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Sardor Mirzakhojaev (rubab, dutar, tanbur) is an accomplished performer on Uzbek folk instruments, training from an early age and graduating recently from the Tashkent State Musical College and Uzbek State Conservatory.

Daniyar Ismailov plays Piano, Cello, and Doira (frame drum) performing for various occasions in the UK, Bulgaria, Spain and other places. In April 2011 he was involved in the concert performance for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Limerick University, Ireland which received critical acclaim.