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The idea of the present Baku festival, first held in 1986, is deliberately and emphatically "non-conceptual" in 2015. According to the organizers' strategy the time of radical declarations and manifestations has long gone and now it is time to just listen to the live Music, which has almost ceased to be audible in the stream of conceptual and quasi-conceptual disputes and discourses. Art lovers and guests of the Festival are supposed to be presented rare and little known music to the Baku listener, hiding a lot of discoveries and revelations for the true connoisseur.

Christoph Jäggin, a Swiss guitarist presents a master class at the Qara Qaraev Central School of Arts in the afternoon of April 20 for the music school pupils as a kind of a prelude to the Festival.

The Opening Ceremony of the Festival takes place in the hall of the Azerbaijan State M. Magomayev Philharmonic on the same day. The U. Hajibeyli Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra under direction of its chief conductor Rauf Abdullayev performs compositions by Q. Qarayev, W. Lutoslawski, K. Saariaho, E. Denisov, F. Cerha, V. Soyfer and A. Berg. The name of one of the parts "A Sad Night" of a not accomplished symphony by Qara Qarayev has been taken as the epigraph to the concert.

The highlight of the program of the 6th Festival is a multimedia opera "Jenseits der Schatten" ("Beyond Shadows") by Vladimir Tarnopolsky, that will be presented on the stage of the Azerbaijan State Theatre of Young Spectators performed by the Studio for New Music (Moscow) and conducted by Igor Dronov (Russia) and Fuad Ibrahimov (Azerbaijan).

The two operas belonging to the best examples of the genre and composed in the late XX century will be shown as a video recording at the Museum Center. Marianna Vysotskaya, a Professor of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory tells about the opera by the Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino "Oh My Betraying Eyes" on April 21. The second opera by the English composer Harrison Birtwistle "The Minotaur" will be shown on April 22, reports the Doctor of Arts Tatiana Tsaregradskaya.

The program "Around Laut Käfig" starts in the Chamber and Organ Music Hall with the Swiss ensemble écoute and soprano-solo Asako Motoshima from Japan. The performance is built around the eponymous vocal cycle by J. Wyttenbach and merges the names of Y. Pagh-Paan, A. Zimmerlin, N. Castiglioni, I. Zelenka and Azerbaijani composers.

The Azerbaijani-Russian project "Love Stories" includes compositions of A. Schönberg, A. Webern, A. Berg, A. Zemlinsky, H. Pfitzner and F. Schreker, will be presented as a kind of a "variation" on the theme of vocal composition of the XX century. It focuses on one of the "leitmotifs" of art at all times, including vocal and opera art. The performance takes place on April 22 in the International Mugam Centre with Farida Mamedova, soprano solo(Azerbaijan) and Gulshan Annagiyeva, piano Azerbaijan. The idea of the project belongs to Rauf Farhadov, video director Rauf Mamedov (both — Russia).

The final concert of the Festival takes place in Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall on April 24 with compositions by B. Furrer, B. Nilsson, A. Wustin, I. Stravinski, I. Hajibeyli, D. Tavener, A. Schoenberg and W. Lutoslawski, united by a common idea "The Sermon, the Prayer, the Flood".

We hope that the varied and extensive program of the Festival reveals to the Baku audience unusual features of the vocal genre and opens the new composers' names and compositions.

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Musicologist Rauf Farkhadov:

In April 2015 Baku hosts the 6th Qara Qarayev International Contemporary Music Festival. The First Festival in 1986 in Soviet Union was a loud, radical and alternative breakthrough, but today it is a solid and respectable event. The reason is that every reference towards radicalism or avant-garde as a tradition in the XXI century, resolutely refusing from academic understanding of reality, loses its former actualization. Culture nowadays ceases to be a battleground of different artistic ideologies, practices and schools. The period from 1986 till 2015 is a more than a serious distance. The received experience allows us to conclude that the time of "musical wars" between representatives of different composing directions has long lost its former sharpness. The idea of a permanent avant-garde innovation has either disappeared or gradually migrated into the academic mainstream. The need for any radical compositional riot, coup or revolution has gone and therefore a different model of musical space has appeared where the most contradictory artistic movements, trends and individualities peacefully coexist. It was especially clear after the conceptualization of the avant-garde in the end of the XXI century, when it began to describe itself. The latter has accelerated its historical completion, and determined to certain extent the appropriation of the avant-garde function by mass culture. Not only the terminology has changed, but also semantics and structuring of contemporary art that influenced the ideology of new music festivals. Although most of them are still focused on the various "-isms" and "post-s", focusing on these aspects only, often missing the main thing — the Music itself.

In this context the 6th Qarayev Festival becomes almost a pioneer, refusing not only such terminology as "avant-garde", "alternative" and "underground"… The main thing is that it must be MUSICAL, the rest is unimportant and is up to the listener, to choose "-ism" or "post-", concept or deconstruct, happening or multimedia.

One more difference of our Festival is the absence of any festival format or standard, that rules all the other programs and which deprives a festival of any stylistic, technological or ideological dissimilarity. Each time the Qarayev Festival is a certain space, filled with a variety of musical performances, forms and meanings. The Sixth One is the space of singing and vocal music of XX-XXI centuries. So it turns out that the vocal art in addition to the usual and so beloved bel canto has other vocal worlds and traditions. These worlds are not less interesting, exciting and intriguing; however they may be still unfamiliar and even unknown to many listeners. It means we are facing an intrigue and a musical adventure. It means, that singing discoveries by W. Lutoslawski, J. Wittenbach, W. Tarnopolsky, K. Saariaho, B. Furrer , D. Tavener, A. Wustin and I. Khajibekov are travelling of listeners along the new vocal lands and territories. A separate emphasis put on "Brief an Gösta Oswald" by B. Nilsson. The Swedish master, almost forgotten, almost non-performable, "the genius of Malmberget". Meeting him on April 24 in Baku!

The Qara Qarayev Festival is the territory of music of the XX-XXI centuries. On the one hand, it is a continuation of a centuries-old musical path, and its great variety and diversity on the other. Perhaps it is the reason why each concert of the Festival is one of the faces of new music, one of its possible options. The program of the Festival looks like two large symphonic arches with "A Sad Night" (the part title of a planned, but unrealized Symphony by Qara Qarayev) and "Contrasts" between them, which are different projects and concepts.

The distinctive feature of the Festival is the selection of artists focused not on celebrities, but namely on the professionalism of a musician. The practice of inviting a "star" is vicious, so the Festival does not need such an advertisement. The music and the level of its performance is of primary importance. Therefore, there are a lot of old friends among the participants of the Festival, whose high level of skillful performance has long been known not only in Baku, but is also familiar for the European audience.

So, we await all music lovers at the 6th Qara Qarayev International Contemporary Music Festival. The event must not be missed, for the next Festival starts only in three years. The year 2018 is the year of Qara Qarayev's centenary and his memory. And the Sixth Festival starts on April 20!

Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council            Medeniyyet TV           YOL Magazine           'Muzikalnaya Zhizn' magazine, Moscow