Playing Together continues with a tour of six Central Asian cities in October 2016

pt-day-1Twenty-five musicians from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the U.S. met today for the first time in Almaty and immediately found a common language — music.   They are all participants in the Playing Together’s latest project — a celebration of 25 years of cooperation between the U.S. and the countries of Central Asia.   The project is supported by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and organized by CEC ArtsLink in collaboration with organizations throughout the region.  Over the course of three weeks the musicians will present concerts in six cities throughout Central Asia.

The talented members of the Tashkent-based contemporary music ensemble Omnibus  have designed a program that introduces the musicians to the concept of collective composition and results in the creation of a concert program  that blends the traditional and the contemporary.  The day began with their famous game zip, zoup, zap that immediately brought smiles and energy to the group and ended with the creation of their first collaborative work.

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The Bandistan Ensemble continues its triumphant concerts in New York!

Eleven young musicians from three Central Asian countries continue to conquer the generous hearts and ears of New Yorkers in this series of concerts around the city.

Yesterday the band had the Opening Night of its tour at Asia Society New York.


The musicians also continue their work with American music professionals in a series of workshops. Today before the concert at The Met the guys worked with Katie Geissinger, an outstanding music teacher and musician at Meredith Monk studio in TriBeCa:

Right after that The Bandistan headed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art where they presented traditional  music of Central Asian countries in the Court and Cosmos exhibition’s galleries. The concert became possible through partnership between CEC ArtsLink and MetLiveArts:




Tomorrow we are waiting for everyone in the South Bronx, where The Bandistan Ensemble will improvise with Mott Haven and Port Morris’ musicians and members of the local community.

More music to enjoy and to think about…


Bandistan has arrived and is Playing Together in New York!


We are happy to welcome the Bandistan Ensemble in New York. Eleven outstanding musicians landed in JFK airport last Sunday carrying music instruments from three Central Asian countries and bringing cultural and musical traditions extraordinaire to American audiences.

During coming 2 weeks the ensemble will be playing on different  stages around New York City, opening the tour by magnificent concert at Asia Society on July 14. The tour will be continued by the performances in the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on July 15, participation in Waterfront Celebration in Mott Haven / Port Morris, the Bronx on July 16 and improvisational concert in conjunction with the screening  of Sergey Paradjanov’s iconic film The Color of Pomegranate at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn on July 17. Click here for concert schedule.

After concerts and workshops in New York City Bandistan will travel to MassMOCA where the ensemble will participate in Bang on a Can’s Summer School of Contemporary Music.

Besides the intensive concert schedule the musicians participate in a number of meetings and workshops organized in cooperation with Jeremy Thal from Found Sound Nation. Guys took a tour of Juilliard School and Lincoln Center on their first day:


And traveled to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to have their first workshop with Frank London and Antony Coleman of Klezmatics.


Follow our blog and there is more to come!!!




Last Stop – Dushanbe

Despite some last minute complications resulting in a slightly smaller line-up and a last minute venue change, the Central Asian Academy of Contemporary Music’s Tour ended in Dushanbe with another fantastic concert featuring new and traditional music from the region and a workshop for young Tajik musicians.

During workshops at the American Corner in Dushanbe, Omnibus musicians and Kenny Savelson introducted local musicians to contemporary music and gave them the opportunity to perform an improvised live accompaniment to a film by Christian Marclay.

Thanks to the determination of our Tajik and Uzbek colleagues, we were able to find a new venue for the Dushanbe concert in less than 12 hours.  We are very grateful to the Institute of Art for hosting Playing Together’s final concert on November 19.

Although the tour concluded on November 20 and the thirty musicians returned to their home countries, this is only the end of the first phase of the Playing Together project.  These young musicians are determined to not only use and develop the skills they learned during the project, but to continue their collaboration and friendships between musicians from four Central Asian countries, the United States, and India.  Stay tuned for Playing Together updates this spring.

Playing Together Rocks Almaty

We awoke in Almaty to a winter wonderland.  The view of the rehearsal room at the National Conservatory of Kazakshtan looked out at the beautiful snow covered trees. Almaty Workshop 3

The workshops by Omnibus musicians, Kenny Savelson, and Nurlanbek Nyshanov were well attended by about 50 Conservatory students; many who participated in the warm-up training activities and exercises.

On our second day in Almaty, the Central Asian Academy of Contemporary Music performed their unique program of original compositions and traditional music to a very enthusiastic audience.  One audience member even had the opportunity to try conducting the group with the improvisational piece “Body Painting.”

First Stop — Tashkent

Over the course of three days, the Playing Together participants participated in workshops and rehearsed their program of collectively composed compositions. Their concert at the Ilkhom Theater was magical, displaying the musical talent and diversity of the participants and, perhaps more importantly, how they have become close friends and learned to collaborate and create music together. The audience in the packed theater felt the magic and congratulated the performers with a long standing ovation.

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Playing Together Continues: The Central Asian Academy of Contemporary Music Tour Begins in Tashkent


The twenty young participants in CEC ArtsLink’s Playing Together project were joyfully reunited in Tashkent yesterday.  These musicians from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan will be performing concerts and participating in workshops with musicians from Omnibus, the Kyrgyz musician Nurlanbek Nyshanov, and Bang on a Can Executive Director Kenny Savelson over the next 10 days.  Stay tuned for news and photos from their unique tour.