Airat Ichmouratov was born in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia. The beautiful university city has a rich history, is a major centre of Tatar culture and can claim Feodor Chaliapin, Gala Dalí and cellist Natalia Gutman among its progeny. Ichmouratov studied clarinet in Kazan before becoming associate clarinetist of the Tatarstan Opera Orchestra.
On arriving in Quebec in 1998, Ichmouratov joined the renowned klezmer ensemble Kleztory, where his dazzling virtuosity continues to astound. He also maintains a very active career as a conductor and composer.
The Overture Ville Cosmopolite is a celebration of the cosmopolitan character of Montreal. The composer explains that the fanfare unfurled at the opening is the metropolis itself. The following theme, played on the cor anglais, evokes the arrival of the vessels from France 400 years ago. Then, five sections represent some of the cultures to which today’s Montrealers belong: we hear, in order, fragments of Armenian, Russian, Jewish and French-Canadian music before ending with a traditional Tatar melody that recalls the composer’s native culture. A final fanfare and joyful coda bring this captivating score to a close.
© Claudio Ricignuolo
Translation by Craig Schweickert