Yaghob Zoroofchi is the greatest Azeri vocalist of our time, and shows why on his CD, “The Best of Zoroofchi”. He started his singing career at the age of eight in the Children’s Program on Radio Tabriz in Iran, and later on Tabriz Television. After his vocal training at the Academy of Arts in Tabriz he studied opera and classical vocals for seven years under the guidance of Iranian, Italian, and British masters.
He has exceptional ability and command in the tenor range, and has performed with Azeri master singer Rashid Behboodov. Zoroofchi’s rich and warm operatic voice is often accompanied by the Azerbaijani National Orchestra.
Rufat Hasanov was born in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1982. He started playing the tar at the age of seven. In 1997 he was awarded a First Degree Diploma in the 3rd Baku Competition dedicated to the memory of the national artist of the Republic, Haji Mammadov.
In 2000 Rufat Hasanov was awarded a First Degree Diploma in the VIII Republic Competition of National Music. That same year he entered the first course of Baku Music Academy named after Uzeyir Hajibayov.
In 2003 he was invited to the Modern Educational Complex named after Heydar Aliyev as a teacher of tar. On March 2004 he had his solo concert with the National Reassurance Orchestra in Istanbul, Turkey.
In 2004 he graduated with a Bachelor Degree from the Azerbaijan National Conservatory and was admitted for a Master’s Degree program. He was awarded a Diploma by the leadership of Modern Educational Complex named after Heydar Aliyev for his active work during the 2004-2005 academic year.
In October 2005 he participated in San Francisco World Music Festival via multi-media. In 2006 he graduated from the Master’s Degree program with an Honors Diploma and was admitted to its post-graduate course
Rahman Asadollahi, from Southern Azerbaijan, was born in 1951 and is considered the most accomplished garmon player, which is the Azerbaijani accordion.
He started playing the garmon at the age of 10 and a few years later was honored by the most prestigious awards by the Azerbaijan State Music University and Conservatory of Music of Azerbaijan. Rahman Asadollahi composed music, played in and conducted Azerbaijani concerts in Iran from 1969 to 1985 where he became known as the master of all accordion players. He is a remarkable composer and masterful improviser on the garmon.
Rahman Asadollahi has a vast knowledge of the Azerbaijani mugams and performs them with infinite devotion. He has won the first prize among 160 European accordion players in the 1995 All European Accordion and Harmonica Championship in Switzerland. He lived in Germany from 1985 to 1999 and has performed throughout Iran, Azerbaijan, the United States, Turkmenistan, England, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, arriving to the US in 1999.
For his recording Ana, Rahman Asadollahi teamed up with the Orchestra of Azerbaijani Folkloric Music, conducted by nationally renown Professor Nariman Azimoff, and his brother master drummer Vehid Asadollahi, to feature some of the best loved traditional Azeri music, poured out with profound sensitivity from Rahman’s 90 year-old garmon.
Ana was recorded with a 25 member Azerbaijani orchestra in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan with the famed conductor Nariman Azimoff.
In 2016, Rahman and his brother Vahid Asadollahi released Rima (Rahgozar Haft Eghlim), a duet for garmon and naqare (drum). All tracks were inspired by Azerbaijani melodies and Iranian the repertoire. Some of the musical pieces were composed by master Qolamhossein Bigjekhani and Rahman Asadollahi.
Fargana Qasimova was born April 23, 1979 in Baku, Azerbaijan. She is the daughter of celebrated mugham (Azerbaijani classical music) singer, Alim Qasimov and has an exquisite vocal style. Her repertory includes mugham and lighter songs traditionally performed by ashiqs (minstrels) who often perform with a small ensemble. Fargana accompanies herself on daf (frame drum).
Fargana has performed with Classical masters of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, Alim Qasimov Ensemble, Fargana Qasimova Ensemble, Kronos Quartet & Alim Qasimov Ensemble and Women’s voices from Central Eurasia.
Chingiz Sadykhov was a world-class pianist from Azerbaijan. Maestro Chingiz Sadykhov played piano as a concert pianist and accompanist to the greatest singers of Azerbaijan and Soviet Union for over 50 years. He garnered the coveted title of “Peoples’ Artist of Azerbaijan” and performed and taught music around the world.
His album “Songs of Azerbaijan” is a comprehensive musical presentation of love songs and poetic melodies as well as dance tunes of his homeland. In this unique recording, Chingiz Sadykhov arranged folk melodies and compositions by outstanding Azerbaijani composers of the 20th century. His colorful piano style suited the arrangements perfectly.
Chingiz Sadykhov died December 30, 2017 in California.
Born in 1953 in Ganja (Azerbaijan), Askar Alakbarov studied music in Ganja Technical Music. Later he studied at College Music Academy of Azerbaijan folkloric instruments such as ud and tar.
He worked as professor at the High Music Institute of Damascus specializing in ud and buzuk and later at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman.
He has received several awards in his life for his work and is also a very recognized author of some important music publications such as: The role of Classic Oriental Maqams in the Esthetic Education of students, Selection for Oud and Piano 1, The school of playing Oud, Selection for Oud and Piano 2. He has also recorded several albums: Classic music of Azerbaijan Oud & Tar, Classic music of Azerbaijan and Oriental Maqams Oud & Tar, and Oriental Maqams- Oud & Bouzuk.
Music of Azerbaijani Composers for solo Oud and Tar (2002)
Music of Azerbaijani Composers and Maqam for solo Oud (2003)
Classic Maqams of Azerbaijan for solo Oud and Buzuk (2004)
Music of Azerbaijani Composers for solo Oud (2009 )
World Premier, Oud and Organ (2010)
Concerto for oud and Orchestra with Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (2014)
Imamyar Hasanov was born in Baku (Azerbaijan). He is a virtuoso of the kamancha, a spike fiddle that is the ancestor of the violin and one of the most important instruments in Azeri music. Hasanov started playing the kamancha at the age of seven and eventually became the youngest soloist in Azerbaijan’s National Orchestra and National Dance Ensemble. He has a Master of Music Degree in Conducting from the Azerbaijan State Conservatory. During his conservatory studies, he worked with Professor Agha Jabrayil Abasaliyev and became interested in the art of mugham.
In addition to contributing to the preservation of traditional music, Imamyar Hasanov has created a body of work which has brought this music to the forefront of both the classical and world music fields.
Hasanov now resides in the United States of America. He has performed in Canada, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkey and the US and has collaborated with artists such as Chingiz Sadykhovm, Aziz Herawi, Pejman Hadadi and Hossein Omoumi.
On stage, Imamyar is a dynamic virtuoso who performs Azerbaijani and Middle Eastern traditional improvisations as well as European classics. His programs interweave acoustic music with informal talk.
Featuring one of the best classical, folk and dance music masterpieces from composers of Azerbaijan and traditional Azerbaijani mugham improvisations.
In 2013, Imamyar Hasanov taught music from Azerbaijan as a Lecturer for the San Francisco World Music Festival Lectureship in the Department of Music at Stanford University.
Alim Qasimov, born in 1957 in Shamakha is an Azerbaijani musical legend, revered as one of the five best singers of all time. Qasimov is known for his work in traditional Azerbaijani music and more specifically his renderings of mugham and ashiq.
Mugham is a traditional, or classical, musical style which has its origins in the Caucasus and the Turkish-speaking peoples of Central Asia. The word mugham itself derives maqam, denoting the modus in Arabic music, The notion of mugham also applies to the performers: the singer, and the ensemble. Within the latter you’ll always find three instruments: the tar (lute), the standing kamanche (violin) and the daf.
Ashiq, the rural bardic tradition that is found in Turkey, Azerbaijan and the Azeri region of Iran.
Qasimov has released several albums, toured the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals and in 1999, won the prestigious UNESCO Music Prize, one of the highest international accolades that a musician can hope for. Previous laureates have included Dmitri Shostakovich, Leonard Bernstein, Ravi Shankar and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Alim Qasimov has also participated in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, a celebration of the art and culture of the ancient Silk Road.
Fargana Qasimova, Alim’s daughter, has absorbed her father’s musical gift, and is well on the way to becoming a great singer in her own right.
In 2019, Qasimov released an avant-garde album titled Awakening, together with French serpent (a serpentine predecessor of the tuba) and bass player Michel Godard. Awakening includes Alim Qasimov on vocals and frame drum; Michel Godard on serpent and bass; Salman Gambarov on piano; and Rauf Islamov on kamancheh.
Violinist Sabina Rakcheyeva is the first ever Azerbaijani graduate of the Juilliard School in New York.
Sabina Rakcheyeva was born in Baku, Azerbaijan and began studying violin at the age of six. She graduated Magna cum Laude from Baku Music Academy and has completed Master’s Program at Juilliard School in New York and the Royal Conservatory of Belgium. She also holds diplomas from Academia Chigiana (Italy) and Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts (France).
Sabina is passionate about the fusion of Eastern and Western music and has performed her improvisations on traditional Mugham to critical acclaim.
In 2003 Sabina addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on behalf of the Music Youth and was featured on BBC, CNN, Voice of America Radio and U.S. Government Television.
In 2011, the Sabina Rakcheyeva Ensemble released its first album titled UnVeiled, featuring a unique fusion of instruments and styles. Since 2013, she is also a member of DECO Ensemble, a group specialxied in Nuevo Tango.
Sabina Rakcheyeva is a member of the European Cultural Parliament and has completed her PhD in cultural diplomacy from SOAS, University of London. She serves as the Cultural Advisor at The European Azerbaijan Society and the Arts Global Foundation.