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Sоson Benyaminov

Apr 23, 1929 - Sep 11, 2022

15 Elul 5782

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On September 11, it will be a year since the departure of the People's Artist of Uzbekistan, Professor Sоson Benyaminov.

Sоson Benyaminov was born in 1929 in Bukhara. His father, Gavriel Patak, was a talented performer of Shashmakom and knew all its melodies. In 1939, composer Muhtar Ashrafi recorded 27 Shashmakom melodies with the help of G. Patak, which later became the musical basis for the opera "Buran." His mother, Mikhali Karkigi, was a renowned dancer at the emir's court and performed before a broad audience during the Soviet era, nurturing many students, including Tamara Khanum, Isakhar, and Margarita Akilova. During the Uzbek and Tajik art decades in 1937 and 1941 in Moscow, she led ensembles of musicians playing traditional instruments and folk singers.

Sоson learned to play the doyra and Tanbur as a boy, but his true passion was singing. His voice was bright, powerful, and had a beautiful timbre. His parents taught him to sing correctly in a high position, with proper diction and a smooth range. His musical upbringing shaped his vocal taste in the traditions of the Bukharan school, and singing became a severe passion for Sоson. At fourteen, he formed an ensemble that performed in hospitals for wounded soldiers during the ongoing war. The Young Spectator's Theater was created in Bukhara, and fifteen-year-old Sоson became one of its leading soloists.

In 1946, he came to Tashkent intending to study at the conservatory. In 1947, he became the responsible editor of foreign broadcasting at the Uzbekistan Radio Committee. Sоson started to be invited to participate in symphonic concerts, where he sang in cantatas and suites. His first remarkable performance was in the opera "Mirzachul" by S. Yudakov, and the composer highly praised him. In 1951, Sоson successfully participated in the Uzbek Art Decade in Moscow and was awarded the medal "For Labor Distinction" and an honorary certificate. In 1954, his cherished dream came true - he became a soloist at the Navoi Opera and Ballet Theater. He sang the parts of Nozim in "Tahir and Zuhra," Naufal in "Leyli and Majnun," Figaro in "The Barber of Seville," Onegin in "Eugene Onegin," and more.

Sоson Benyaminov's concert repertoire was vibrant, including arias from operas, romances, folk songs, and contemporary compositions. He found the right colors to convey the most delicate emotions and feelings. He traveled to many countries for guest performances. In 1956, Sоson Benyaminov became a laureate of the All-Union Competition of Vocalists and Ballet Artists. In 1963, he was awarded the title of Honored Artist of Uzbekistan, and in 1974, he received the prestigious title of People's Artist of Uzbekistan.

From 1960 to 1975, Sоson Benyaminov taught at the Tashkent Conservatory, and from 1976 to 1994, he taught at the Tashkent Institute of Arts and Culture, where he chaired the Department of Solo and traditional singing. Sоson authored several textbooks and methodological manuals on vocal art. After repatriating to Israel in 1994, he continued his creative activities. He taught vocal techniques to many young people who aspired to perform vocal works correctly and professionally. He collaborated with outstanding writer and playwright Aron Shalamaev to stage the play "Queen Esther" ("Esther ha-Malka"), where he not only directed but also played the role of King Ahasuerus. The premiere took place in 1996, and a year later, the play was shown on tour in New York. In the future, Sоson Benyaminov will participate in staging various performances and also lead choir groups.

Sоson Benyaminov was a great master of his art, a skilled organizer, and an intelligent and caring individual. He was deeply loved and respected by those around him. He left behind a tremendous creative legacy. His opera dynasty was continued by his great-granddaughter Linoy, a director and producer at the Israeli Opera.

We will forever cherish the memory of our extraordinary, talented, and bright Sason Benyaminov with great pride, reverence, and admiration.

From his daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all those who held him dear.

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