Gabala city in northern Azerbaijan has been a focal point in the Caspian region this past week for classical and folk music aficionados. The 11th Gabala International Music Festival, which started on Thursday and wraps up today, showcased dozens of symphonic orchestras and bands, as well as soloists from around the world.
“The Gabala International Music Festival, which has been trending over the years, is also known as an important event that contributes to intercultural dialogue,” the First Vice-President of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva, said in a letter addressed to the participants, according to Azertag.
“This holiday of friendship and music, attended by numerous musicians from different countries, serves to discover new talents, to exchange knowledge and research in this area, and to promote intercultural dialogue.”
The Gabala International Music Festival was co-organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan and Gilan Holding. Tourists and music lovers flocked to Gabala to enjoy classical music and Azerbaijani folk music known as mugham, as well as vocal and chamber music performed by singers and bands representing 12 countries, including Azerbaijan, Russia, the United States, China, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Ukraine, Lithuania, Switzerland, Uzbekistan and Israel.
Mugham, considered the national folk music of Azerbaijan, is seen as an inseparable 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.
"Naz-Nazi" mugham group took center stage at the festival to perform some of the best pieces in the genre.
Musical nights held throughout the five days of the festival featured performances by the Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra from Ukraine, the Azerbaijan State Chamber Orchestra, the Student Symphonic Orchestra of the Baku Music Academy, Clarte Clarinet Quartet and the Turkish Miraculum trio, among others.
Virtuoso musicians such as Oxana Yablonskaya, Janna Gandelman, Edward Wolfson, Anna Koshkina, Zhanna Miniotas, Boris Andrianov, Sim Helen, Irina Starodub, Maria Buinosova, Umid Israilov, Modestas Sedlevičius, Ningvu Du, Dogu Kaptaner and Fyrat Semercioglu all performed.
“What can beat enjoying both the music and nature in the same place? This is incredible for a tourist who always seeks something unique in every place he goes. I should start planning my trip for the next festival in Gabala,” Galeti Kubilus, a tourist from Lithuania, told Caspian News.
The international music festival has been held each summer since 2009.