Q&A: Celebrated Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov “impressed by the festive atmosphere” at Expo 2020

DUBAI, 7 December 2021 – Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov, labelled “the most perfectly accomplished pianist of his generation” by the British newspaper The Independent, has won many international awards since rising to prominence in his teens.

He gave a rare interview after his rapturously received concert at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Jubilee Stage.

Can you tell us about yourself in one sentence?

My name is Behzod Abduraimov, I am from Uzbekistan, and I am convinced that I was born to be a pianist.

عبد الرحيموف: أبهرتني الأجواء الاحتفالية التي تعم أرجاء إكسبو 2020 دبي
DUBAI, 30 November 2021. Behzod Abduraimov performs at Jubilee Stage, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Suneesh Sudhakaran/Expo 2020 Dubai)

How did you prepare for your concert at Expo 2020?

I prepared a diverse programme, reflecting the diversity of the visitors to the international event and their different cultures, to present during this extraordinary ceremony – during which I performed a collection of the most beautiful international symphonies of classical music greats, such as Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev and other prominent composers. It was a selection I carefully chose to suit the taste of the largest number of listeners. I also played a piece from Uzbekistan composed by the Uzbek composer Dilorom Omonullaeva.

How did it feel to perform to a global audience as diverse as at Expo 2020?

I felt proud and excited, especially because my participation comes within the framework of the cultural programme of Uzbekistan, my beloved country, which [is participating] with a spectacular pavilion at Expo 2020 … I was impressed by the festive atmosphere throughout Expo 2020 site, as well as the state-of-the-art Jubilee Stage, and the diversity and enthusiasm of the audience that was in attendance, which made it a very special concert for me, and will remain in my memory for a long time.