Gaziza Zhubanova, the first Kazakh woman –composer, was born on December 2, 1928, in picturesque village in Jurun District, Aktyubinsk Region. From the age of six Gaziza Zhubanova attended school in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan’s capital; she completed school with a gold medal.
The girl grew up in a musical atmosphere: her father, Akhmet Zhubanov, is a universally educated professional musician, a connoisseur of folklore, and it was he who pointed out to her the road to art.
In 1945 Gaziza Zhubanova came to Moscow to study at the Gnesin Music College. After the College she studied composition with Yuri Shaporin, at the Moscow Conservatoire. Upon graduation, in 1954, she took a postgraduate course in composition, which she completed in 1957, embarking on an independent career of composer.
Actually, she composed works with a clear concept, which possessed certain artistic merits and showed her a sure craftsman, as far back as 1948. In 1954, she participated in the Seventh Plenary Meeting of the Kazakh Union of Composers, her first important social function.
Gaziza Zhubanova,s music is intimately associated with the Kazakh folk tradition. She borrows her subjects and images from the Kazakh people’s history and fairytales, from their life today and their dazzling plans for the future, which brings her music close to life and imbues it with throbbing vitality.
From the outset the composer has been trying her hand at various forms. Her pieces for piano and for violin, folk-songs arrangements for voice and piano and for chorus, Lyrical Poem for string quartet, unaccompanied choruses, songs to words by Abay and popular songs are characterized by fresh modes and original melodies and rhythms.
Her first major work, the simphonic poem Aksak Kulan (1953-1954) is based on popular Kazakh legend, with a tragic subject, usually recited to the accompaniment of the dombra. She presented as her graduation thesis Booming in the night, an opera to libretto by M. Auezov, on the subject of the Kazakh revolt against the autocracy in 1916. In these works much of the musical material stems from folklore. In spite of the tragic subjects, both assert the optimistic idea of the people’s eventual triumph.
The year 1957 brought the Violin Concerto, the cantata Night Light in the Ural (to words by Khamit Ergaliev) and incidental music to the play On the Banks of the Irtysh by S. Kusainov, all very important for the composers evolution.
The scope of Gaziza Zhubanova’s interests broadens with each passing year. The subjects of her songs reflect the momentous events in our country’s life, for instance, the Ode to the Communist Party, Glory to the Cosmonaut, Embrace, Ye Millions! Song of Virgin Lands Enthusiasts, The Song Is the Voice of My Heart. They have been written in recent years and show the trend of her creative pursuits and searching’s.
The composer maintains a close contact with the Kazakh Song and Dance Company, for which she has composed the ballet item The Earth, the Moon and the Sputnik (choreography by V. Vainonen), the cantata Ballade of Mukhtar Auezov and made numerous arrangements of folk melodies. All these works have been performed by the Company with signal success.
Always vitally interested in the theatre, Gaziza Zhubanova has written incidental music to the plays Abai by M. Auezov and L. Sobolev, The Matchmaker Has Come by K. Mukhamedzhanov, Dreamer of Daydreams by A. Abishev and Mother Earth by C. Aitmatov, all produced at drama theatres in Alma-Ata.
Her ballet A Legend of the White Bird is a major contribution to the musical theatre.
Gaziza Zhubanova is sensitive artist who can hear the tread of time. What is more, she knows how to put over her message to the audiences. She combines creative effort with social activities: Gaziza Zhubanova was Chairman of Kazakh Union of Composers, member of the board of the USSR Union of Composers and Deputy to the Alma-Ata City Soviet.