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History of Music


The first information about the music of Azerbaijan was obtained in a number of monuments at the rock carvings during the archaeological excavations in Gobustan (XVIII-III millennium of BC) and Gamigaya (III - I BC). Rich information was given about medieval music, music genres, musical instruments in “Kitabi-Dede Gorgut epos (VII century), works of Nizami, Fuzuli.  In the risalas (journal) of such famous scholars like  Safiaddin Urmavi (XIII century), Abdulqadir Maragahi (XIV century), Mirzabey (XVII century), Mir Mohsen Navvab (XIX century) the high level of development of medieval musical culture, performance, and the theoretical issues of Azerbaijani  music.
The first stage of the history of Azerbaijani music consists of minstrel music art. In own creative work of art the minstrel genre of art combining the creation of poet, singer, and composer comprises the base of music genre with its genre and richness of form.
The next stage is the classical music-mughams. The creators and protectors of wealth of classical music of the past – mughams,  sazandas differ with high artistic skills. The creators of the mugam, music having classic heritage with ancient roots, singers and sazandas’  art lives today and develops.
Like all song creativity of the people, mugham is being one of important forms of Oriental art determines many things in the modern composer creation, and feeds different areas of modern music of Azerbaijan.
The history of Azerbaijani music art is known with the names of many well-known mugham masters. They are masters of the nineteenth century, the well-known Sattarkhan, Haji Husi had created the famous music school of singing. Names of well-known masters of the art of the XIX century like Haji Husu, Mashadi Ishi, Alesker Shirin, tar player Sadıqjan and others, and in the early of our century Jabbar Garyaghdi, Mashadi Jamil Amirov, Seid Shushinski are known to us. From instrumental performers of mugham Gurban Pirimov, Mansur Mansurov, Ahmed Bakikhanov, Bahram Mansurov, and others gained the fame, too. Mugam ‘s regularities, its traditions were taught and spread since ancient times in special schools - meetings, circles under guidance of  well known mugham masters  Kharrat Gulu (Shusha), Mahmud aga (Shamakhy), Mashadi Malik Mansurov (Azerbaijan), and others. They have played an important role in the formation of school performance of Azerbaijan.
As early as the beginning of century so many thought that as because of absence of temper in the folk musical instruments, it was not possible to write Azerbaijani music in notes. This problem in the development of musical art of Azerbaijan was solved only at the beginning of the twentieth century. Its solution shows that Azerbaijani music was included in to the overall system of professional musical culture of the world. In January 12 (25), 1908 the premiere of the opera of U. Hajibeyov Leyli and Majnun was held. The performance laid the foundation of the national opera and all professional composer creative development of Azerbaijan. This opera, as well as so called mugham operas written by U.Hajibeyov before revolution and his subsequent operas - Sheikh Sanan, Asli and Kerem, Rustam and Sohrab, Shah Abbas and Khurshud Banu, as well as opera of Zulfugar Hajibeyov  Ashiq Garib» , Muslum Magomayev’s Shah Ismail are deep specific examples of creativity included in the national history of music. Most valuable aspects of operas written in the following years were developed in the works. 
The synthesis of the musical style of European professional recording equipment and national music was shown self in the first work Arshin mal alan, which had brought the world fame for Azerbaijan and its music. Arshin mal alan, which had been translated into 40 languages more than 70 years are sound in  different countries, and regardless of age and music training captive all the audience.
30-th years of XX century is characterized as a period the rise in Azerbaijani music. During these years the  new performance collectives, symphonic orchestras (1920, presently Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra named after U. Hajibayov), Chorus (1926), Orchestra of Folklore Musical Instruments (1931), dance ensemble (1936), Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Society named after M. Magomayev (1936), the Union of Composers of Azerbaijan(1934), Musical Comedy Theatre (1938, now named after Sh.Qurbanov), House of the People\'s Creativity (1939), office of music for collecting and study of folk music of the Azerbaijan under the Azerbaijan State Conservatoire (1931) were organized.
60-80-years distinguish with creative activity of old generation music composers and the emergence of new composers earning success in all important genres, the expansion of international relations. Opera and ballet turn to be genre which addressed by Azerbaijani composers. A Melikov’s Legend of Love (1961), F. Amirov’a Legend about Nasimi (1973; Azerbaijan SSR State Prize, 1974), Arabian Nights (1979, USSR State Prize, 1980) ballets gained fame all over the world.
Works of Azerbaijani composers Gara Garayev, Afrasiyab Badalbeyli, Fikret Amirov, Niyazi, Arif Melikov, T. Guliyev, Vasif Adigozalov, Azer Rzayev, Rauf Hajiyev, Firangiz Alizade, Agshin Alizade, Faraj Garayev, Rahila Hasanova and others are an integral art of the twentieth century world music. R. Behbudov, Niyazi, Z. Khanlarova, M. Magomayev, etc. gained wide popularity. Artists F. Gasimova (1977, Italy, 1st prize), KH. Gasimova (1981, Athens, 1st prize; 8th International Competition named after P.I.Chaykovski. (1982, Moscow) 2nd Prize) , pianist F. Badalbeyli (1967, Qradets-Králové, CSSR, 1968, in Lisbon, Portugal, 1st prize), the young pianists M. Huseynov, M. Adigozalzadeh and others were laureates of various competitions.
Azerbaijani composer and pianist V. Mustafazade had an important role in the development of the jazz in Azerbaijan. V. Mustafazade was a head of Sevil and Mugham ensembles, organized by him and was awarded the 1st prize at the 8th International Jazz Competition (Monte-Carlo, 1978).
In the history of the Azerbaijani music singers Kh. Shushinski, R.Muradovar, Sh. Alekperova, A. Aliyev, S. Qadimova, F. Mehraliyev, T. Ismayilov, A. Babayev, I. Rzayev, Z. Adigozalov, H. Huseynov, G. Rustamov, J. Akperov, A. Kasimov, A. Bakikhanov, from  tar players H. Mamedov, B. Mansurov, A. Guliyev, R.Guliyev, A.Dadasov, M. Muradov, F.Alekberov, kamancha players People\'s Artist of Azerbaijan H.Aliyev, honored artist H. Mirzaliyev, T. Bakikhanov, Sh.Eyvazova, F. Dadashov, drummer Ch Mehdiyev, accordion players Abutalib (A. Yusifov), Kor Ahad, Kerbalayi Latif, T. Demirov, A. Israfilov, saz players A.Nasibov and etc had special services.
At present, the subject of Karabakh comprises an important part of music history of Azerbaijan. Among them are V. Adygozelov; Karabakh Shikeste and Caravan of Grief (1999) oratorio, T.Bakikhanov’s  Karabakh cry (2001) symphony, A. Alizade’s Motherland (1993) ode, 7th Symphony (1998) of N.Mamedov, dedicated to Khojaly tragedy, R. Mustafayevs’ \'Truth with you, Azerbaijan (1992) cantata, H. Khanmammadov’s My saz will cry in hands poem for folk instruments (1991, dedicated to the Garabagh martyrs), S.Ibrahimova’s Country martyrs (1990) cantata, I miss you, my Shusha (1999)  for tar and string orchestra, and others occupy a special place. In 2002, the ballet of A. Alizade,  Trip to the Caucasus based on work of A. Duma was staged for the first time. During these years one-act ballet of T. Bakikhanov’s Good and Evil (1990), N.Mameov’s  Sheikh Sanan, O. Zulfugarov ‘s Alibaba and 40 Thieves (1990) ballet was written.
During the period of independence Azerbaijani composers had opportunities to participate at the various music festivals, international contests, world cultural musical projects in abroad, to represent the music of Azerbaijan in the world, to introduce it again. Works of A. Malikov, V. Adygozelov, X. Mirzazade, A. Alizadeh, T. Bakikhanov, F. Garayev, I.Hajıbayov, F.Alizade, J. Guliyev, E. Dadashova, R. Hasanova, G. Mamedov, F. Huseynov were sounded in Turkey, Norway, Holland, Cyprus, USA, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, etc.  countries, were the winners of prestigious competitions. Premieres of A. Melikov (Symphony No. 7), V. Adygozelov (Chanaqqala oratorio) in Turkey, T. Bakikhanav (North Cyprus Seasons, North Cyprus suite) and others were held in Cyprus. In Holland works of F. Garayev (Kutba, Mugham, Sura Babylon Hour 2000), F.Alizade’s (Mirage), R. Hasanova’s (Sky) were performed. In Silk Road project F.Alizade’s (Dervish), and J. Guliyev’s (Caravan) participation resulted in the success. F. Huseynov was the winner of competition held by UNESCO and Japan (Time travel concert for symphonic orchestra) and has been awarded with United Nations’ award (Let the peace be in the world oratorio) 
In 1999 skilful mugham performer A.Kasimov was awarded the gold medal of the UNESCO for his contribution to the development and perfection of the mugham art. In the International Festival held in  France, with performance of the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra (artistic director and conductor, people\'s artist R. Abdullayev) works of U. Hajibayov, G. Garayev, and F. Amirov were performed successfully. In Germany, at Expo - 2000 International Exhibition  a brilliant performance of Azerbaijan State Chamber Orchestra, the State Song Theatre, the State Dance Ensemble and a group of art workers has been at the focus of the music life of this era. 
In 2003, there was the premiere of Khan\'s daughter Natavan (2003, December) opera of V. Adygozelov dedicated to the poetess Natavan. This work of our famous composer has taken a worthy place in the history development of the national opera.  
In 2009, I Gabala International Music Festival, held in the city of Gabala had a unique role in the history of the Azerbaijani music and turned into some kind of a tradition. The II Qabala International Music Festival held in 2010 caused a great resonance in the world.
 After the restoration of state independence of Azerbaijan international relations in the field of music were e expanded, too. International music festivals are organized in Baku with the participation of foreign musicians. At the same time world range musicians - Mstislav Rostropovich, Bella Davidovich, Dmitry Sitkovetski visited Baku with great enthusiasm, performed in concerts, have open lessons.
Of the recent events Silk Road - the First Symphony and Chamber Music Festival (2010) caused a great resonance.

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