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Music & Artists

Chicago schoolchildren drumming during the performance at Millennium Park

© TODD ROSENBERG

Passion-Driven Learning
Chicago schoolchildren participated in The Stone Horse: A Silk Road Journey, a story-concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble. Students had a hands-on learning experience with different Percussion instruments before having a chance to take the stage with professional musicians before an audience of more than 10,0000.


Alim Qasimov

© DAVID O'CONNOR

"Real music will find a path to the heart, regardless of who is in the audience."

– ALIM QASIMOV


Alim Qasimov

Mugham vocals (Azerbaijan) Alim Gasimov is a prominent mugham singer named a "Living National Treasure" of Azerbaijan. He has been passionate about mugham since his early childhood, but initially Qasimov sang mugham solely for his own enjoyment. Only at the age of nineteen, after having held various jobs as an agricultural worker and driver, did he decide to pursue a career in music. Qasimov studied at the Asaf Zeynalli Music College (1978-1982) and the Azerbaijan University of Arts (1982-1989). His teacher was well-known mugham singer Aghakhan Abdullayev.

Qasimov's first remarkable international success occurred in 1988 when he won first prize at the International Festival and Symposium on Traditional Music in Samargand, Uzbekistan. Since then, he has been traveling worldwide to spread the art of Azerbaijani mugham.

Alim appears on 12 CDs released in Europe and the United States, on one of them, Love's Deep Ocean (1999, Network Medien, Frankfurt, Germany) together with his daughter and student Fargana Qasimova. In addition to performing with the Silk Road Ensemble, Qasimov performs with the Kronos Quartet as part of his collaboration with the Aga Khan Initiative in Central Asia.

Qasimov has performed on Azerbaijan’s most prestigious stages, such as the Heydar Aliyev Palace and the Azerbaijan Philharmonic Hall. Since 1989, he has been a soloist at the Azerbaijan Opera and Ballet Theater. Qasimov teaches mugham classes at the Asaf Zeynalli Music College and the Azerbaijan National Conservatory.

Qasimov perceives and presents mugham not only as an ancient art and a part of Azerbaijan's musical and cultural heritage but also as a constantly developing tradition. His performing style is unique, as it combines deep knowledge of centuries-old rules of mugham with challenging innovations. It is distinguished by extreme intensity, which takes audiences to a spiritual world. Qasimov's approach to mugham is far from conservative, and he willingly juxtaposes mugham with other music styles, such as jazz and contemporary composition.

In 1999, in recognition for his musical contributions to world peace, Qasimov was awarded the coveted International IMC-UNESCO Music Prize. Past winners of this prize include Yehudi Menuhin, Ravi Shankar, Olivier Messiaen and Daniel Barenboim. Qasimov's numerous awards also include the title of the People's Artist of Azerbaijan, the highest artistic rank in the country. In 2007, on the occasion of Qasimov’s 50th birthday, the President of Azerbaijan awarded him the Medal of Glory.

Mugham Vocals

© DAVID O'CONNOR

Instrument
Mugham vocals


Profile
Times (U.K.)


Other mugham performers
Rauf Islamov
Ali Asgar Mammadov
Fargana Qasimova


Other Ensemble members from Azerbaijan
Franghiz Ali-Zadeh
Rauf Islamov
Ali Asgar Mammadov
Fargana Qasimova