By Laman Ismayilova
The 13th Uzeyir Hajibayli International Music Festival has solemnly opened in Baku.
Since September 18, 1995, Uzeyir Hajibayli's birthday has been celebrated in Azerbaijan as the Day of the National Music.
Many cultural events, including gala concerts and festivals, are being held across the country as part of the celebration.
The 13th Uzeyir Hajibayli International Music Festival, which was organized by the Culture Ministry, brought together talented musicians from Azerbaijan, the U.S. and Poland.
Spectacular opening ceremony
The festival's opening ceremony was held at the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall.
Speaking at the ceremony, Culture Minister Anar Karimov stressed the importance of the festival.
He pointed out that the tradition of celebrating the great composer's birthday as a celebration of music was initiated by national leader Heydar Aliyev who signed a decree in 1995 on the occasion of Hajibayli's 110th anniversary.
The minister emphasized that Uzeyir Hajibayli has forever inscribed his name in Azerbaijani music history.
"We have always dreamed of holding this festival in the composer's hometown, Shusha. We are very glad that today our dear Karabakh, our Shusha are free. Under the leadership of Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, our army has brought us this joy. Today we also celebrate this festival in Shusha. The Kharibulbul Music Festival and the Vagif Poetry Days have already been held in Shusha, our cultural capital. Starting next year, we will also host most of the Uzeyir Hajibayli International Music Festival in Shusha," he added.
Speaking about the originality of this festival, the culture minister noted that many young people are taking part in the festival.
For young talents, a new program "Youth echoes of the art of Uzeyir" will be presented as part of the festival.
The opening ceremony was followed by the performance of the State Symphony Orchestra, director of the State Philharmonic Hall, People's Artist Murad Adigozalzade under the baton of People's Artist Rauf Abdullayev.
The musicians performed overtures from Uzeyir Hajibayli's "Koroghlu" opera, Fikrat Amirov's symphonic mugham "Shur" and Arif Malikov's Concert for Piano and Orchestra.
Marvelous concert in Shusha
The festival's first concert was held in Shusha, known as Azerbaijan's cultural capital.
The Azerbaijani State Song and Dance Ensemble performed at the concert under the baton of People's Artist Agaverdi Pashayev.
The spectacular concert featured works of Uzeyir Hajibayli, Vasif Adigozalov, Suleyman Alasgarov.
People's Artist Mansur Ibrahimov, Honored Artists Gochag Asgarov, Anar Shushali, Nargiz Karimova, Arzu Aliyeva and others performed fascinating music pieces, unique examples of Azerbaijan's national music.
Public figures also visited the house of People's Artist Bulbul and Natavan spring, and laid flowers in front of the statues of poetess Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibayli and singer Bulbul.
For almost three decades, Azerbaijan's historical and cultural monuments were destroyed and looted as a result of Armenian vandalism.
Among them are busts of Uzeyir Hajibayli, Khurshidbanu Natavan and Bulbul in Shusha.
After the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, the cultural and historical monuments, including statues of the outstanding figures are being restored on the territories liberated from the Armenian occupation.
In 1985, a statue of Uzeyir Hajibayli was erected in Shusha to mark his 100th anniversary. The monument, designed by sculptor Ahmad Salikov, was completely destroyed in 1992 during the First Karabakh War by Armenia.
A new statue of the composer has been made on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's instruction.
The bronze statue was erected in Shusha through the Heydar Aliyev Foundation's support. The monument was designed by sculptors Aslan Rustamov, Teymur Rustamov and Mahmud Rustamov.
The festival, which is celebrated every year on the birthday of the great composer, has been also held in Shusha, in the park where his statue was erected.
In their remarks, President's Special Representative for Shusha Aydin Karimov, First Deputy Culture Minister Vagif Aliyev and Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia, People's Artist Polad Bulbuloglu said that life has returned to Shusha.
“Today's event is of special importance. The National Music Festival is held today in front of the statue of Uzeyir Hajibayli which was destroyed by Armenian vandals and unveiled on August 29 this year with President Ilham Aliyev's participation. Another interesting point is that the Fikrat Amirov Song and Dance Ensemble was created exactly 85 years ago by a great composer," said Aydin Karimov.
The speakers pointed out that Heydar Aliyev Foundation successfully restores historical and cultural monuments on the liberated territories.
The 13th Uzeyir Hajibayli International Music Festival will be held across the country until September 24.
A number of cultural events are also planned to be held in Baku, Ganja and Aghdam as part of the festival.
Entry to the events will be possible only by special invitations and with a COVID-19 passport.
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