The Abdullin Brothers

25.11.2014 3053
The Abdullin Brothers

The brothers Rishat and Muslim Abdullin were born to a Tatar family in Ust-Kamenogorsk, East Kazakhstan Region on March 14, 1916. Both of them developed an admiration of music in early childhood. Nature gave them exceptionally beautiful voices. Aged 15, Muslim entered the newly opened Music Drama College in Almaty. Rishat obtained education at the same establishment later. The up-and-coming musicians were sent to the Moscow Conservatory Music Studio. Their mentor was Professor A.Vishnevskiy. Having completed their education, the Abdullin brothers started a music career in Moscow. They worked as individual performers at the Abay State Academy Opera and Ballet Theater. 

Muslim Abdullin performed tenor parts (his most famous role is Lenskiy (“Eugene Onegin”), while Rishat Abdullin had a baritone voice (his parts included Germont (“La Traviata”), Escamillo (“Carmen”), Kiaso (“Daisi”), etc.) The Abdullin brothers performed in operas by Kazakhstani composers as well.  Muslim played the part of Tolegen (“Kyz Zhybek”), Kayrakbay (“Zhalbyr”), and Azim (“Abay”), while Rishat acted as Abay, Yer Targyn, and Kozhagul (“Birzhan Sal”). Rishat Abdullin is the only performer of Abay’s party in the history of Kazakh culture. The opera was chosen to present the art of Kazakhstan to the Moscow public during the Ten Days of Kazakh Art in 1948.

The government appreciated the Abdullin brothers’ artistic accomplishments – Muslim was awarded the title of a Merited Artist of the Kazakh SSR in 1947, and Rishat became a People’s Artist of the Kazakh SSR and was awarded the State Prize of the Kazakh SSR in 1967. Speaking about the Abdullin brothers, the first thing that occurs to Kazakhstani people is heir vocal duet. Rishat and Muslim were not just performers but leaders of a large cultural trend.

Rishat and Muslim Abdullin did not give chamber concerts too often.  Whenever they appeared on stage, it was a special event in the republic’s cultural life. They always sang to full house.

Rishat Abdullin mostly performed national music – songs in Kazakh and Tatar. Lyrical songs by the Tatar composer Rustem Yakhin held a special place among them.

Muslim Abdullin was famous for his performance of Russian compositions such as works by M.Glinka and P.Chaikovsky. Their Kazakh songs were also popular.

The Abdullin brothers had a very diverse repertoire. It included songs of many ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstani public came to admire the Tatar musicians greatly. 

The brothers Rishat and Muslim Abdullin contributed greatly to the forming of Kazakh national art. They devoted thirty years to it. The Abdullin brothers shared the beauty of Russian and international classical music with lyrics in Russian and other languages with the Kazakh public. They were the first to introduce the genre of vocal duet in Kazakhstan by performing Kazakh songs.

The brother’s descendants did not fail to inherit their talent. Rishat Abdullin’s son Zaur Abdullin was an individual opera singer. Zaur’s daughter Karina Abdullina is widely famous as a Musicola Band signer, which proves that the Abdullin gift has no faded and never will.  


Assem Zharymbekova