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2023  N7-8(220-221)
Honored Artist of Turkmenistan Sukhan Tuyliyev is a representative of the remarkable galaxy of Turkmen composers, who can be called with good reason the custodian and successor of the national musical traditions established in Turkmen culture in the middle of the 20th century.
“When I tell students about the classics of the Turkmen musical art, analyze the theoretical component of their works, I do not need to refer to special literature. I studied with some of them, others taught me. Among them, there were many colleagues and close friends,” Sukhan Allievich says. Fate brought him together with Veli Mukhatov, Nury Halmamedov, Rejep Rejepov, Aman Agadzhikov, Rejep Allayarov, Chary Nurymov. Despite different art styles, they were all unified by high professionalism and a school of composition that enabled them to create deeply national works that became part of the treasury of the national musical classics.
Being the author of many symphonic cycles, vocal and symphonic works, romances and songs based on poems by Turkmen poets, he invariably relies on folk sources and preserves the classical traditions of the Turkmen composer school. The national flavor of his compositions is expressed both in the themes dedicated to Turkmen history, culture, nature and in the organic fusion of the sound of traditional orchestral instruments with folk ones.
Undoubtedly, the origins of the artistic comprehension of the surrounding world are rooted in the composer’s biography. The master of Turkmen musical art was born on June 7, 1956, at the At Chapar collective farm in Yolatan district of Mary province, a region with an ancient and glorious history. When he was three years old, his family moved to the regional center – Yolatan. This is where he started learning the world of music. The accordion was the first music instrument that he mastered. Beginning the fifth grade, Sukhan Tuyliyev played in the school brass band, first the trumpet and baritone, and then, a few years later, he mastered almost all wind instruments. That is why he loves and understands these music instruments that help him in composing the orchestral scores for wind instruments.
A characteristic feature of the composer’s style is his perception of the orchestra as a living organism, in which each instrument and its timbre conveys a palette of human feelings, subtle emotions. Being a professional-theorist, Sukhan Allievich nevertheless believes that music is born in the soul, comes from the heart, and the content dictates the form. The basis of Tuyliyev’s theoretical knowledge, including in the field of instrumentation, was laid by the professional school that accumulated the achievements of national and European musical culture.
In 1972, at the age of sixteen, the future composer entered the Turkmen State Musical College named after Danatar Ovezov, the department of “choral conducting”. His mentor was Heinrich Stanislavovich Drzhevsky, a talented composer, conductor and teacher, as well as a polyglot, whom Sukhan Allievich considers his guide to the world of professional art.
His teachers at the school also included such prominent cultural figures as Aman Agadzhikov, Rejep Rejepov. The first works were composed for the choir. Under the guidance of young composer Rejep Rejepov, who over the years became his closest friend, Sukhan over the summer composed a cycle of piano pieces for admission to the Turkmen State Pedagogical Institute of Arts (now the Turkmen National Conservatory). Years later, out of 9 plays, he chose five, combining them into the cycle called “Children” and dedicated it to his eldest daughter Maya Tuylieva, who followed his path in art. A famous pianist, who did her PhD in music in the United States, she is actively touring the world, promoting the works by outstanding Turkmen composers, including her father.
At the Institute of Arts, the coryphaeus of musical culture, teacher Veli Mukhatov set a task for the future Turkmen composers, i.e. to develop national music, make it recognizable in the world. “You should not be regarded as musicians without origins. Your music, wherever it sounds – in America, Africa or at the North Pole – must be Turkmen,” Sukhan Allievich recalls the instructions of his teacher that he still follows and teaches his students.
Each of his teachers left his mark in the artistic biography of novice composer Tuyliyev. He speaks with gratitude about the orchestration and polyphony classes by Rejep Allayarov, recalls helpful hints from Chary Nurymov in composing music for children, while noting the extraordinary humanity and generosity of his talent.
Composer and outstanding teacher Yuri Alexandrovich Fortunatov played an important role in the formation of Tuyliyev as a theoretician. A teacher at the Moscow State Conservatory named after P.I. Tchaikovsky, where Tuyliyev had assistantship training since 1985, he was the initiator of establishment of a school for young composers at the “Ivanovo” House of Composers. All conditions for creativity were created at this distinctive “nursery” for young talents, where they had seminars and consultations by the masters of musical art, including Fortunatov and his pupils. The professor was a leading figure in instrumentation. He knew oriental music and philosophy, the secrets of a symphony orchestra. Sukhan Tuyliev also took these courses several times.
The lessons learned from Fortunatov and other teachers at the Russian school of music became the starting point for his own research in the field of national music theory. It was they who gave an impetus for composing large musical pieces that organically combine the scope of national instruments, for example, the dutar or tuiduk, with traditional orchestral instruments. In addition to including tuiduk in orchestral scores, the composer often resorts to imitating its sound by means of other instruments. Under the influence of folklore, there also emerged stylistic techniques characteristic of Tuyliev’s music.
The composer’s works include a large number of impressive compositions of various genres and forms, among which there are many works on the poetic creations by the great Turkmen poet-thinker, Magtymguly Fraghi.
The works by the great poet-thinker inspired Sukhan Tuyliyev to create one of the brightest compositions – the ode “Turkmen binasy” (Turkmen statehood) for a reader, soloist, choir and symphony orchestra. This work is imbued with the high spirit and festive solemnity of the anthem, which determined the decision to play “Turkmen binasy” at the official events held in Ashgabat, marking Week of Culture of the Turkic States on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of TURKSOY.
Representatives of the opera art of the Turkic states performed Tuyliyev’s symphonic composition in Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkish, Uzbek and Turkmen languages. The ode to Turkmen statehood in six languages was also performed at the opening ceremony of the new city of Arkadag.
Sukhan Allievich also has vocal dedications to outstanding Turkmen musicians, poets, figures of science and culture. And each of them reflects the hand and special style of the composer, inextricably linked with the roots of the Turkmen national art and musical traditions of the Turkmen people.
Composing and scientific activities mutually complement Sukhan Tuyliyev’s musical work. He wrote dozens of scientific and popular science articles, a Ph.D. thesis on the specifics of Turkmen folk music and their influence on composer’s artwork. In 2008, his textbook “Fundamentals of Music Theory” was published and republished in 2021. His “Theory of Turkmen Music” was published in 2014, in which a special place is given to folk melos and its influence on professional composing. Under the scientific editorship of Tuyliev, the well-known work “Turkmen Music” by V. Uspensky and V. Belyaev was published in two volumes in Turkmen language.
His lectures and seminars, revealing the secrets of the modern technique of composing, are very popular with colleagues. As Chairman of the State Examination Commission, teacher Tuyliyev annually visits specialized art schools in different regions of the country for state exams. His every travel around the country brings new topics for creative work.
Music is a powerful instrument of world cognition for Sukhan Allievich, and along this path he has generously shared his discoveries with his pupils at the Turkmen National Conservatory named after Maya Kuliyeva for more than 40 years. Being by nature a deeply intelligent, noble, gentle and tactful person, teacher Tuyliyev, however, is demanding of the future representatives of the Turkmen musical culture, for whom he devotes not only a lot of time but also his soul.
It should be noted that the composer entrusts many premier performances of his compositions to his students. One example of this is the symphony concert held at the Great Hall of the Turkmen National Conservatory in May this year, the program of which included the premiere performance of the composer’s milestone work “Uzuklar”. The five-part symphonic work for the reader, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin and symphony orchestra was performed in its entirety for the first time. The composer worked on it for 15 years.
Thanks to his generous and extraordinary talent, the name of the honored artist of Turkmenistan, composer and scientist Sukhan Tuyliyev is known in many countries on different continents. At the same time, Sukhan Allievich considers pedagogical activity to be an important part of his life. “The work of a teacher is noble, I never get tired of repeating to my students that creativity must be treated honestly, and one must keep moving forward along this path. And one needs to compose good music, send beauty to the Universe, and it will certainly return to people,” composer Tuyliyev says, setting an example with all his work of how music can heal, bring light and kindness to the world.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005