Gabala Festival impresses music lovers

By: Amina Nazarli

The legacy of the traditional International Music Festival has been left behind in Azerbaijan’s ancient city of Gabala.

The 7th annual Gabala International Music Festival was held in the country on July 25-31 and gathered many music lovers from around the world to enjoy seven days of eclectic music.

Organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the event hosted famous musicians from eight countries including Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, Croatia, Israel, and Russia.

The Festival became a musical holiday where alongside classical music, Azerbaijan’s unique musical and poetic phenomenon – mugam – embellished the festival with its colorfulness.

It featured brilliant performances by musical talents such as Oksana Yablonskaya, Can Carlo Pazolini, Janna Gandelman, Aleksandr Rojdestvenski, Jeremy Menuhin, Paul Meyer, Aleksandr Gindin, Taras Yaqopud and many other excellent performers.

The closing ceremony alone attracted thousands of guests and presented unforgettable outdoor experience for the audience.

Azerbaijani MP Fattah Heydarov, addressed audiences and exclaimed that the international Gabala festival is a significant event for promoting the country throughout the world.

The artistic director of the festival, Farkhad Badalbeyli, who is also the rector of Baku Music Academy named after Uzeyir Hajibeyli, in turn noted that Azerbaijan has always been distinguished for its music culture.

Lastly, Grigoriy Kovalevskiy, the director of the “Moscow Virtuosi” Chamber Orchestra congratulated the Azerbaijani people for another successful musical celebration.

The festival’s final concert began with “Moscow Virtuosi” and was conducted by the revered conductor Paul Meyer.

Commenting on his impressions of the festival, Paul Meyer said that he had “never witnessed such wonderful organization so far. The festival brought together people of different ages. It is gratifying that the audience includes both younger and older generations.”

Grammy-winning conductor Dmitry Yablonsky also showcased his talents at the festival alongside Farkhad Badalbayli on piano and famous Russian musician Sergey Nakarakov on trumpet.

The concert, which was mostly remembered for its European spirit (Mozart and Jean Arban), also saw performances by Azerbaijani Fikret Amirov, Vagif Mustafazade, and Argentinian Astor Piazzolla.

This year’s festival confirmed that Azerbaijan is a unique country that does well to equally convey the cultural values of the West and the East.

As a celebration of friendship and music, the Gabala festival seeks to promote Azerbaijani music traditions throughout the world. It also invigorates intercultural dialogue and creates favorable conditions for cooperation among musicians representing different countries.

For the past six years, every summer, Gabala has hosted popular art collections, soloists, and conductors from all around the world.