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Gazi Khan, an expert khartal player, dancing in the desert in Rajasthan


Cultural Exchanges
The Silk Road Ensemble conducts cultural exchanges and workshops with musicians around the world, such as master khartal player Gazi Khan (above) from Rajasthan, India. The khartal is a percussion instrument consisting of simple wooden blocks, held two in each hand.

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh


"It is impossible to make music if you ignore your feelings and just play the notes you see printed on a score. Music is something you must feel deeply. Having the ability to really feel music is like possessing a secret - a secret emotion, a secret understanding, a secret of music."

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh

Composer (Azerbaijan) Franghiz Ali-Zadeh was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 1947. At the Baku Conservatory, she studied composition and piano and received a doctorate in musicology. As a pianist, she is known for her performances of 20th-century composers including Schoenberg, Cage and Crumb, whose music she performed in Baku for the first time. She has toured in the United States as a soloist and with the Kronos Quartet.

In recent years, Ali-Zadeh has devoted herself to study of the Azerbaijani virtuosic improvisatory style called mugham. She has received international acclaim for her compositions, which fuse characteristics of traditional Azerbaijani music with modern Western techniques.

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh composed Dervish, a 2000 Silk Road Project commission. The Silk Road Ensemble also performs her composition Habil-Sayagy (In Habil's Style).

Other Ensemble members from Azerbaijan
Rauf Islamov
Ali Asgar Mammadov
Alim Qasimov
Fargana Qasimova