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The journey of the first woman conductor in Uzbekistan
Dilbar Abdurahmanova strikes you at the first moment you meet her. This strong woman, People’s Artist, State Prize Winner, conductor of the symphonic orchestra of the State Academic Theatre named after Alisher Navoi, professor, she has broken all the stereotypes, becoming the professional of the highest level in this traditionally male profession. She is very dedicated to her job and even now at the age of 80 she continues her work as the senior worker of Alisher Navoi Theatre.
How have you made your choice of this career?
It is very important question: how people choose their professions. Very often children follow their parents in every way: in education, in behaviour, in raising their own children later. I grew up in the family of opera singers. My father even was Stalin’s Award winner for his solo singing. Both my mother and father studied in Moscow Conservatory when I was born. Actually famous Botir Zokirov was born 4 days before me, and our parents’ mentor Muhiddin Kariyakubov chose names for both of us with a wish that we become the citizens helpful for their society. I hope I managed to fulfill his wish in some way. What I want to say is that the environment a child grows in has a great effect on his/her future. I remember I once heard a man blaming women who get higher education and then don’t work, saying that the country wastes money on them. In such cases I always point out that investing in girls’ education is never a waste, because whatever occupation they choose, they will be mothers who bring up the next generation, and well-educated young generation is always a great outcome of any investment.
What obstacles did you face on your way? Was any of them connected with the fact that you are a woman?
There was not a single woman conductor at my time. It is always hard to be the pioneer and to make a way through the field. With the pace of time and emancipation, and support provided to women, there is now almost no profession left inaccessible for women. It is not even about that women are being supported. Women actually keep proving their competence, efficiency and professionalism. Now there are two women conductors in this Alisher Navoi Theatre – me and my colleague from Karakalpakstan.
What message would you send to young girls?
When trying to acquire a difficult skill, one needs a good mentor. So my message to girls would be the following: don’t be afraid to learn and ask for directions. It will help to break the walls of misunderstanding and mistrust by perseverance and professionalism. At the end of the day people see what’s inside and that is the actual value of a person – man or woman, it doesn’t matter. I succeed in conducting which I myself would call a man’s job. But it didn’t stop me. And today I am a professor and mentor for other girls.
A Champion's Perspective: Childhood and Parenthood30 June 2017