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Celebrating Music and Culture: Gabala International Music Festival Starts in Azerbaijan

By Gunay Hajiyeva July 26, 2023

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A photo from the 10th Gabala International Music Festival, Gabala, Azerbaijan, August 2018 / Trend News Agency

The 13th edition of the Gabala International Music Festival will commence in Azerbaijan this week.

The festival, organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and supported by the country’s Ministry of Culture, will grandly open on Thursday in the northern Gabala region.

The weeklong music festival will showcase performances by world-famous musicians, conductors, and music groups from Azerbaijan, the UK, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Türkiye.

Among the performers are the Baku Chamber Orchestra, “Clarte” clarinet quartet, “Gaitagi” instrumental ensemble, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, as well as folk artists, honored artists, and young soloists and mugham performers from Azerbaijan. Additionally, there will be performances by Dmitry Sitkovetsky (the UK, conductor), Mikhail Lidsky (Russia, piano), Henri-David Varema (Estonia, cello), Mariush Patira (Poland, violin), and others.

The festival will also include classical music and Mugham music evenings. Mugham, considered the national folk music of Azerbaijan, is an integral part of the Gabala International Music Festival. Performed by a trio of national instruments – the tar, kamancha, and gaval – mugham draws upon popular bard melodies, rhythms, and performance techniques.

Moreover, the festival will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the renowned Azerbaijani composer Arif Malikov, the 95th anniversary of the well-known pianist Bella Davidovich, the 150th anniversary of the great Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov, and the 190th anniversary of the prominent German composer Johannes Brahms with special musical programs.

Since 2009, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has been organizing an annual international music festival in Gabala. The inaugural edition of the Gabala International Music Festival brought together renowned musicians from 16 countries, including the USA, France, Israel, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Italy, and Spain.