By Laman Ismayilova
August 20 marks the birthday of a prominent Azerbaijani composer Niyazi Hajibeyov.
Niyazi, a descendant of the famous musical dynasty, has become Azerbaijan's first professional conductor to gain international recognition.
The formation and development of the Azerbaijani school of conducting is connected with his name.
His sense of rhythm, the fluidity of his music and incredible charisma mesmerized music lovers all over the word.
The authority of Niyazi in the world of music was huge and indisputable. This is evidenced by numerous enthusiastic reviews of colleagues, famous musicians.
A legendary conductor was born in Tbilisi on August 20, 1912. Niyazi Hajibeyov grew up in an extraordinarily musical family. Since his childhood, Niyazi was surrounded by some of Azerbaijan's greatest musicians.
His father, Zulfugar Hajibeyov (1884-1950), was one of the founders of the Musical Theater in Azerbaijan.
Niyazi was also the nephew of Uzeyir Hajibeyli (1885-1948), the founder of the Azerbaijani classical music.
Niyazi first wanted to become a military man, and then an athlete. He showed interest in football refereeing, and air sports. He even took part in the competitions in weightlifting of the society "Dynamo" and became the champion of Azerbaijan in the category of 56 kilograms. He also headed the Azerbaijan Weightlifting Federation.
He was playing the violin in "Qırmızı Kadet" Turkish military orchestra in 1921.
Then he studied at the Gnessin Music School in Moscow in 1925-1926. In 1929-30 Niyazi studied at the Central Musical Technical School in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), but dropped out due to health problems. He returned to Baku in 1931. Right after that he was sent to Dagestan where he met his future wife Hajar khanum. Her family would not approve of the marriage. So she and Niyazi decided to run away and secretly married. They lived a very difficult yet fulfilling life.
Despite all difficulties, the great love of his wife gave him strengths and inspired to create most of his masterpieces, which contributed to Azerbaijan's and the world musical treasury.
The first great success came to Niyazi in 1938 at the Days of Azerbaijani Art in Moscow. He conducted Uzeyir Hajibeyov's operas, "Koroglu" (The Blind Man's Son) as well as Muslim Magomayev's opera "Nargiz".
Niyazi's incredible ability as a conductor was innate.
He was the conductor and music director of the Azerbaijan State Symphony orchestra for 46 years.
His orchestra accompanied such legendary singers as Bulbul, Rashid Behbudov, Muslim Magomayev, Lutfiyar Imanov and other outstanding performers.
Niyazi’s most significant works include the opera "Khosrow and Shirin" (1942), and the ballet "Chitra" (1960). His symphonic mugham "Rast" achieved worldwide popularity and was included to the repertoire of many symphony orchestras around the world.
He also wrote a number of major epic pieces in the 1940s.
His military-themed music "Memoirs" and "In the battle" were included in the program of the Decade of music of the Transcaucasian republics in 1944.
The maestro was honored as the People's Artist of the USSR (1959) and received the USSR State Prize (1951, 1952) and highest title of the USSR, the Hero of Labor (1982).
The maestro died on August 2, 1984 in Baku and was buried in the Alley of Honor.
The Home-Museum of the great conductor and composer was founded in 1994 by the Decree and personal involvement of National Leader Heydar Aliyev.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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