Wonderful music that gives butterflies in stomach [INTERVIEW]
By Laman Ismayilova
Music has always been one of the best ways for people to express themselves.
Every piece of music tells a different story and evokes a wide range of emotions in us.
Sometimes it's a sudden tightening of your chest or butterflies fluttering around in your stomach that makes you feel numb.
Music has always been associated with joy and happiness for Maryam Yusifova. She made the decision to devote her entire life to music at a young age.
The musician grew up in an intelligentsia family that valued children's overall development.
Her father and grandfather instilled in her a love of music.
" My grandfather was a brilliant tar player, and my father was a promising pianist. However, the father abandoned music and enrolled in a technical university. Furthermore, my parents determined that music is a good area for my overall development as an individual. I was only eight years old when I entered a music school. My father helped me with music lessons at home. Since then butterflies have always fluttered around in my stomach when I play music...," the pianist told Azernews.
When asked about her most vivid childhood memories, she mentioned her father's piano performances which left an indelible impression on her as a child.
Maryam Yusifova believes that her father, an incredibly talented individual, inspired her to pursue this career path.
The pianist also remembers her recordings on television when she took part in children's concerts and performed at the State Philharmonic with the Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Faig Mustafayev.
"I truly believe that a child who sincerely devotes himself to music has a life full of bright moments because he has the opportunity to enjoy works by such eminent classics as Uzeyir Hajibayli, Gara Garayev, Tofig Guliyev, Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and many others," Maryam said.
When she was twelve, a serious question arose about whether it was worth continuing to study music.
Despite the fact that her parents wanted Maryam to become a doctor, she could not imagine herself without music.
Finally, the parents supported Maryam's decision and she entered the Baku Music Academy's class taught by Adela Vakilova, a magnificent musician who played a significant role in the pianist's life.
"Adela Vakilova is a true professional, a superb pianist who understands all of the nuances of piano art. I owe her everything I know about music," Yusifova stated.
Following that, the pianist earned a master's degree in Adela Vakilova's class, from which she graduated with honors.
She studied as an accompanist in Tofig Badirkhanov's class.
She has been working at the Baku Music Academy in the Solo and Opera Singing Department since 2003 under the guidance of People's Artist Prof Khuraman Gasimova.
She has been working in the class of People's Artist Prof Gulnaz Ismayilova for 18 years.
"Gulnaz Ismayilova is a great musician who undoubtedly fostered my professional growth. Being both a brilliant pianist and vocalist, she carefully looks through the interaction between the singer and pianist. It's a real pleasure to work with her for so many years," said Yusifova.
Maryam Yusifova gives music classes at Children's Music School named after L. and M. Rostropovich headed by Prof Mammad Guliyev.
Speaking about her most beloved music piece, the musician said that it all depends on the vocalist.
"It all depends a lot on the vocal skills. A talented vocalist can make any music sound amazing...," said Yusifova.
From baroque to modern music, the pianist enjoys all great music pieces that touch the heart.
The works by Uzeyir Hajibayli, Gara Garayev, Tofig Guliyev, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Franz Peter Schubert, Giuseppe Verdi, George Gershwin are among music pieces much beloved by the musician.
Over the past time, Maryam Yusifova has taken part in numerous cultural events, including the Simurg Music Festival, the 2nd Azerbaijan International Festival of Vocalists, the 3rd International Festival-Contest "Future stars", the 3rd International Competition World Harmony, the 4th Nodar Andguladze International Young Vocalists Competition as a concertmaster and much more.
The 2nd Azerbaijan International Festival of Vocalists was one of the brightest cultural events in the musician's life.
The Festival of Vocalists aims to develop and promote classical music in Azerbaijan. The project also focuses on the formation of good musical taste among young people.
The author of the project idea and artistic director is Honored Artist Ramil Gasimov. The festival aroused great interest among music enthusiasts.
Speaking about one of the interesting experiences, Maryam Yusifova noted the Bulbul International Contest of Vocalists.
During the contest, Maryam Yusifova accompanied vocalists who joined the contest without a concertmaster.
It is quite a challenging task for a concertmaster to accompany vocalists unknown to him.
"This is quite a difficult job since you meet the vocalists for the first time. Thus, you are not familiar with their concert programs and vocal skills. So, you need to learn the whole concert program in a short time. For me, it was a truly wonderful experience to be a concertmaster at the Bulbul International Contest of Vocalists. The contest gave me a wonderful chance to challenge my skills and musical professionalism," she said.
The pianist also shared with Azernews her thoughts about the Simurg Music Festival 2021, which aims to identify all creative abilities in young people. Saida Taghizade, a talented pianist and multiple international competition laureate, is the festival's artistic director.
The previous festival was held only among pianists. This year, the festival's program is more diverse and spectacular as it brings together not only pianists but also musicians and even vocalists.
At the festival, Maryam Yusifova shared the same stage with the festival's head Saida Taghizade, associate professor of the Baku Music Academy Kamilla Sadirkhanova, Honored Artists Sahib Pashazade and Yulia Motorina, young vocalists Elmina Hasanova Ali Muradov, Emin Ismayilov as well as Lumineux ensemble.
The Simurg Music Festival 2021 was remembered for themed concerts dedicated to Tofig Guliyev, Baku romances, movie soundtracks, etc.
"I really enjoyed taking part in the Simurg Music Festival 2021 organized by pianist and public figure Saida Taghizade. I have admired her cultural projects for quite a while now. I'd really like to take part in her projects as much as possible," said Maryam.
In her interview, Maryam Yusifova also mentioned her performance with the Lumineux ensemble.
Founded in 2016, Lumineux brought together students from the Choral Conducting Department. The ensemble successfully performs at numerous republican and international festivals.
"For me, it was an unforgettable experience to accompany the Lumineux ensemble at the 12th Gabala Music Festival. The artistic director of the choir is Honored Artist Naala Baratelia, a fascinating musician," the pianist said.
In addition, Maryam Yusifova joined numerous concerts timed to the 100th anniversary of the Baku Music Academy, National Music Day.
She performed brilliantly at the joint virtual concert with St. Petersburg State Conservatory.
The musician accompanied young opera singer Elmina Hasanova.
At the same time, Maryam Yusifova shared the stage with People's Artist Gulnaz Ismayilova, who captivated the audience with Asaf Zeynalli's "My Country".
The concert timed to the National Music Day was held at the Central Scientific Library.
The musicians' virtuosity left no one indifferent.
Moreover, Maryam Yusifova accompanied talented vocalist Elmina Hasanova at the 4th Nodar Andguladze International Young Vocalists Competition and took part in competitions with young vocalists, including students of the Baku Musical Academy and Children's Music School named after L. and M. Rostropovich.
In addition to concert activities, Maryam Yusifova is also engaged in scientific activities.
" I am writing a scientific work about Azerbaijan's outstanding pianist and composer Elmira Nazirova. There's not much written about her. I would like to finish my work in the near future," she said.
In conclusion, Maryam Yusifova advises young pianists to work with great love and respect.
"Dear young talents, I wish you to always be passionate about music and respect your work. Listen only to good music and high-quality performances, thereby cultivating a good taste in music," she said.
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Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lamiva993