Young composer's music path [INTERVIEW]
By Laman Ismayilova
Music has a great power to touch us emotionally, where words alone can’t. It opens us to who we are and to places within us that might have been closed.
For young composer Ilaha Israfilova, music has turned into a great passion which continues to this day.
Born into a musical family, she was surrounded by music from an early age.
"I grew up in a musical family. My mother is a soloist of the military orchestra of the Ministry of Defense, People's Artist Zumrud Mammadova. My father was good at tar. I have always been surrounded by music, which undoubtedly left a mark on my life," the composer told Azernews.
Further, the young talent was enrolled in the Bulbul School of Music in piano, mugham and composition classes.
Her road to success started in the fourth grade. Young talent amazed everyone with her military march.
The music piece was premiered by the Defense Ministry's Military Orchestra conducted by General, People's Artist Yusif Akhunzade. The military march was performed by People's Artist Zumrud Mammadova.
"Everyone was incredibly surprised that the military march was composed by a little girl. The audience burst into applause. It was my first standing ovation. At that moment, I realized that I wanted to devote my whole life to music and to be a composer," said Israfilova.
As the years rolled by, the young talent continued to master her skills. She graduated Baku Music Academy, where she studied in the class of eminent national composer Arif Melikov.
During her student years, Ilaha Israfilova granted Gara Garayev scholarship. Some of her music pieces like Scherzo for tar and piano as well as her romance entered the gold fund of Azerbaijani television.
Moreover, she also studied at the conductor faculty in the class of the chief conductor and musical director of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater Ayyub Guliyev.
For Ilaha Israfilova, nothing can be compared to the joy of spectators and long-standing applause.
The composer is ready to create musical masterpieces day and night.
Sometimes inspiration comes with the first rays of the sun. At this point, she sits down at the piano and lets the music flow through her soul.
The musician is driven by a strong desire to contribute to the development of Azerbaijani music and successfully present it in the international arena.
Speaking about her recent projects, Ilaha Israfilova noted her work dedicated to Azerbaijan's national leader Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan-Israeli anthem of friendship, music piece inspired by Azerbaijan and Turkish relations as well as composition which won prize at the contest initiated by SOCAR.
She also mentioned the work "Tango" to the words of the outstanding poet Bakhtiyar Vahabzadeh, which took first place at the Vocal Competition named after Tofig Guliyev. The music piece was performed at the Heydar Aliyev Palace.
Moreover, the composer has initiated the Jasus String Quartet and composed dozens of patriotic songs.
Over the past year, the young composer has successfully presented her musical projects both in Azerbaijan and abroad.
In 2019, Ilaha Israfilova presented her ballet dedicated to Azerbaijan's poet Imadaddin Nasimi in New York.
The event was timed to the 650th anniversary of the eminent poet. The music piece "The world of Nasimi" was a huge success.
Her other work "Mystic" for Kannel and tar aroused great interest in Estonia.
The composer brilliantly synthesized Azerbaijani and Estonian traditional music styles. The work premiered two years ago. The music piece was successfully performed by Ibrahim Babayev (tar) and Kristi Mühlin (kannel).
Another music project was implemented with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture. The composer's music piece sounded in the pantomime staged by Esin Aslan.
The young composer has also composed "Dede Korkut" ballet to mark Azerbaijan's victory in 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War.
The work on the ballet lasted for five years. The libretto for the ballet in two acts and six scenes were written by Iltifat Hajikhanoghlu.
The young composer says that her biggest dream is to stage her new ballet this year. Ilaha Israfilova is planning to present the ballet not only in Azerbaijan, but throughout the Turkic world.
Apart from that, Ilaha Israfilova implements many large-scale projects aimed at promoting Azerbaijan's musical heritage. Some of them are realized in partnership with the Azerbaijan Youth Foundation.
In 2017, Ilaha Israfilova and Zumrud Mammadova imitated the Public Union for Cultural Development.
The composer encourages young people to take part in projects and work hard to achieve their goals.
"I am working with young people at Composers Union's Youth department. Many new projects will be presented to the audience after the end of the pandemic. I would take time to engage women in composing. Our main purpose is to unite talented people and successfully represent Azerbaijan at the international arena," she said.
Apart from music, Ilaha Israfilova is also engaged in drawing. She enjoys creating colorful portraits.
Speaking about future projects, the composers noted new competitions, various cultural projects and gala concerts.
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