By Laman Ismayilova
Being considered one of the greatest Azerbaijani composers, Gara Garayev synthesized Eastern and Western musical traditions. His works cover almost all music genres.
The House-Museum of the legendary composer solemnly opened in Baku last year.
The museum's collection includes personal belongings, posters, programs, photographs, books and other exhibits dedicated or belonging to Gara Garayev.
Various events are organized at the Gara Garayev House-Museum that operates as part of the State Museum of Musical Culture.
A concert of young musicians will be held at the House-Museum on July 29, Azertag reported.
Presidential scholars studying abroad – pianists Vurgun Vakilov, Ali Mammadov and flutist Agharahim Guliyev – will play the works of Gara Garayev as well as Frederic Chopin, Gabriel Urbain Faure, Alexander Scriabin, Francesco Morlacchi. The concert starts at 16:00.
Gara Garayev inherited his love for music from his parents. His father Abulfas Garayev was a famous pediatrician in Baku. Abulfas Garayev was known for his kindness and generosity. When patients were too poor to pay for treatment, he often left his own money under the prescription for them.
He knew Azerbaijani folk music very well and loved to sing. Garayev's mother, Sona Khanim, was among the first graduates of the Music School, the Baku branch of the Russian Music Society.
At the age of eight, Garayev first entered the junior music school at the Azerbaijan State Conservatoire. His exceptional musical talents let him study simultaneously in two faculties at the conservatoire. His teachers were Georgi Sharoyev, Leonid Rudolf, and the prominent Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli.
In 1938, Garayev composed his first musical piece, a cantata "The Song of the Heart" to the poem by Rasul Rza. It was performed in Moscow's Bolshoi Theater in the same year. He was only 20 years old at that time.
Garayev returned to Baku in 1941. He began teaching students at Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Society.
In 1945, both he and Jovdat Hajiyev wrote the "Motherland" opera, for which they were awarded a prestigious Stalin Prize. At the age of 30, Garayev was again awarded this prize for his symphonic poem "Leyli and Majnun", based on the same-titled famous work of Nizami Ganjavi.
In 1952, under the direction of the choreographer P. A. Gusev, Garayev's "Seven Beauties" ballet was staged at the Azerbaijani Theater of Opera and Ballet. Based on Nizami Ganjavi's famous poem, "Seven Beauties", it became the first Azerbaijani ballet and opened a new chapter in the history of classical music of Azerbaijan.
His ballet, "Path of Thunder", staged in 1958, was dedicated to racial conflicts in South Africa. In the same year, he wrote the score for the documentary film "A Story about the Oil Workers of the Caspian Sea", directed by Roman Karmen and set at the Oil Rocks.
Through his life, Garayev wrote nearly 110 musical pieces, including ballets, operas, symphonic and chamber pieces, solos for piano, cantatas, songs and marches, and rose to prominence not only in Azerbaijan, but also worldwide.
Garayev died on May 13, 1982 in Moscow at the age of 64.
The composer left a legacy of music that will be remembered by many generations to come. The memory of the great composer will always live in the hearts of Azerbaijani people.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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