International contemporary music Festival
Dear music lovers, dear friends and colleagues!
The next, the VII Festival of Contemporary Music named after Kara Karaev, scheduled for April 12-14, 2018, will not take place - there aren’t necessary funds in the country to realize the event in the composer’s 100th anniversary year.
I would like to remind you that our Festival dates back to the Soviet times - the first two ones were held in 1986 and 1988 - during the so-called “Stagnation Period”, after having overcome the fierce resistance of state officials and bureaucrats.
Despite the enormous difficulties, we managed to carry out the III Festival in the hard 1990s, at a time when the country was on the verge of disaster.
IV, V and VI Festivals were reanimated at the initiative of the Minister of Culture and Tourism A.Garayev and principal conductor of the State Symphonic orchestra R.Abdullayev, and were held in an already free Azerbaijan, and we took pride in moving the Festival into the European orbit.
Over the years, the works of 20th-century classics -starting from A.Schoenberg, A.Webern and A. Berg, I. Stravinsky and J.Cage, F.Cerha and E.Křenek to P. Hindemith and D. Shostakovich- were first performed in Baku. As well as the composers of the second European avant-garde - K.Stockhausen, B.Nilsson, P.Boulez, and such outstanding representatives of the second half of the 20th century as O. Messiaen, I.Xenakis, L.Berio, B.Maderna, M.Kagel, G.Ligeti, W.Lutoslawski, B.Ferneyhough, G.Grisey, T. Takemitsu, S.Sciarrino, K.Saariaho and many others. Also the prominent composers of today’s Russia - A.Volkonsky, E.Denisov, N.Karetnikov, S.Gubaydulina, V.Tarnopolsky, A.Raskatov, V.Yekimovsky, A.Vustin- and a classic of the contemporary Ukrainian music V.Silvestrov -were repeatedly performed.
At each festival symbolically sounded one composition of Kara Karaev- composer who prepared the ways for the development of the new music in Azerbaijan- and the most significant works by Azerbaijani composers A. Melikov, H. Mirzazade, I.Hajibeyov and others, whose opuses fit into the context of the new music concept.
The world-renowned European music groups such as Asko|Schönberg (Holland), Reconsil Wien (Austria), Freiburg Percussion Ensemble and Ensemble Ascolta (Germany), AVA Dance Company (Germany/Spain), M.Pekarski Percussion Ensemble, Studio for New Music and Questa musica (Russia) came to Baku. Azerbaijan was represented by the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra named after Uzeyir Hajibayli, the State Chamber Orchestra named after Kara Karaev, Con tempo Ensemble, conductors R.Abdullaev and F.Ibrahimov, soloists F.Mamedova (soprano), R.Rzaeva, F.Ali-zadeh and G.Annaghiyeva (piano), E.Iskenderov (cello), R.Mamedov (guitar) and many others.
Among the foreign performers there could be mentioned conductors B.Wulff and T.Engel (Germany), I.Dronov and F.Chizhevsky (Russia), V.Runchak (Ukraine), pianists A.Lyubimov and I.Sokolov (Russia), N.Zhvania Georgia), K.Nishii (Austria/Japan), M.Vysotskaya (organ, Russia), vocalists K.Amano (Austria/Japan), Y.Kichigina, N.Zelyankova, A.Kaplanov, S.Malinin (Russia), violinists L.Isakadze (Georgia), H.H.Shneeberger and P.Kopachinskaya (Switzerland), S.Malyshev (Russia), cellists A.Ivashkin (Russia/England) and H.Woodenberg (Germany), guitarist Ch.Jäggin.
We worked with total devotion. I cannot but think of the brilliant moderator of the scientific-theoretical conferences, musicologist R.Farhadov, who turned the dry scientific communication into the intriguing act, musicologist J.Selimkhanov, a man of encyclopaedic knowledge, whose advices were invaluable for us, composer E.Mirzoyev- not only the author of the musical works presented at the festival, but also an artist, musicologist and translator of the wonderful festival brochures. Thanks to the efforts of A.Mikailov, director of the last three festivals, and Sh.Samedov- managing director of the Azerbaijan State Symphony orchestra- the festival concerts in various music halls of Baku were organized irreproachably.
Now, unfortunately, everything remained in the past.
The Festival’s life is over, and paraphrasing the famous “Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi” today is already impossible to say “Le festival est mort, vive le festival”
Therefore: "Farewell, Festival!"
And else: Feci quod potui, faciant meliora potentes.
member of the artistic council of I, II and III Festivals, artistic director of the IV and V Festivals,
and acting artistic director of the VI Festival, artistic director of the VII Festival
8 February 2018