The Societys Main Activities in 1997

   1997 was marked by two major events organised by the Society - a visit by Turkmen artistes to perform in Oxford and London and a poetry reading by Brain Aldiss in Reading.

   In May 1997 the Society was fortunate enough to welcome two artistes from Turkmenistan to perform in Britain.  They were the pianist Orazgul Annamurat and the baritone Atageldy Garyagdy.  Both are consummate artistes who were widely acclaimed both in the former Soviet Union and abroad.  Both were trained at the Moscow Conservatoire.

   Their arrival in Britain was fraught with bureaucratic problems, the Oxford venue was the Holywell Music Room, which has excellent acoustics and a superb Beckstein piano, which Orazgul enthused over.

   The concert was divided in two halves, the first being devoted to Western classical music, the second to music by Turkmen composers.  Both artistes were inspired by their surroundings, remembering that this was the first purpose-built concert hall in Europe, at which Mozart, Handel and Haydn has played.  The audience, though not large, responded enthusiasticay, and it can be said that the event was a success.

   In the interval Turkmen journalist Maya Sapar presented a specially commissioned rug to our Makhtumkuli versifier, Brian Aldiss.  The rug had been commissioned by the Society and woven in Turkmenistan.  It carries his name, the date, and the name of Makhtumkuli.

   About a week later our two artistes gave a similar concert at the Conway Hall in London.  This was much better attended and also included a selection of Makhtumkuli's poetry in English.

                 The next major event was in October in Reading.  Waterstone's Bookshop organised a poetry festival, during which, every week, poets came to read their works in public at the bookshop.  One of the evenings was devoted to Brian Aldiss's versification of Makhtumkuli.  About fifty people attended, many of whom were old friends of Makhtumkuli, but also, encouragingly, there  were several new faces.