Uzeyir Hajibeyli, composer
Uzeyir bey Abdul Hussein oglu Hajibeyli (1885-1948) was an Azerbaijani and Soviet composer, conductor, scientist, publicist, playwright, teacher, translator, and social figure. He is recognized as the founder of Azerbaijani written music and author of its first opera. Hajibayli was born into an educated family in a village near Shusha in mountainous Karabagh. The town’s rich traditions in the performing arts played a special role in his musical education. Hajibayli was educated at an Azerbaijani-Russian school. He then studied at the Gori Teachers’ Seminary in Georgia in 1899-1904. At the seminary he mastered the major works of classical music and learned to play the violin. He arranged folk music for the students’ choir and performed in the choir himself. In 1908 Leyli and Majnun, the first of 7 operas and 3 musical comedies, premiered in Baku. He based the libretto on the poem Leyli and Majnun by 16th century Azerbaijani poet Mahammad Fizuli. The music fused traditional Azerbaijani music and European classical opera, created a new musical genre that merged eastern and western culture and set a new direction for Azerbaijani music.
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