February 20, 2006

A solemn ceremony of opening of the International Festival devoted to the 100th anniversary of composer of genius Dmitri Shostakovich was held

In the frame of Year of Russia in Azerbaijan, by the organizational support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan a solemn ceremony of opening of the international festival devoted to the 100th anniversary of the genius composer Dmitri Shostakovich was held in Baku, on February 20.

The audience at the Azerbaijan State Philharmony cheered the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva and the family members.

The festival`s president, renowned musician Mstislav Rostropovich was invited to the scene. Applying to the music lovers the famous violinist said: I am very happy the international festival is held on the 100th jubilee of Dmitri Shostakovich in my beloved city - in Baku. I know very well his love for Baku and its musicians. I am sure his music that will be performed in this festival will unite the musicians and listeners in the love for the beauty. Shostakovich was conferred the title of People`s Artist of Azerbaijan for contributions to development of Azerbaijani music. He was the teacher of the outstanding composers of Azerbaijan Gara Garayev and Jevdet Hajiyev. Realization of this prestigious festival in beautiful, stable and developing country like Azerbaijan is of great importance. Organization of such important events by the initiative of President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs Mehirban Aliyeva is very valuable form the point of view of development of inter-cultural dialogue in the world. I once again express my gratitude to the nation of Azerbaijan.

Then, the maestro conducted the first symphony and five interludes from `Katerina Izmaylova` opera of Shostakovich performed by Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra.

Ukrainian singer, laureate of international contests Oksana Dikan (soprano) performed two arias from `Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk accident` composed by Shostakovich in the 30s of last century.

The concert was welcomed with loud applauses for many times.

Appearing on the stage twice Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich expressed his deep gratitude to the audience, talked of the history of creation of `Tea for the two` of Dmitri Shostakovich and presented the work to the listeners in performance of the symphonic orchestra.

After the ceremony ended, President Ilham Aliyev met with the great composer Mstislav Rostropovich, congratulated him for successful performance.

Mstislav Rostropovich expressed his deep gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev, said the care and attention shown to development of culture and art in Azerbaijan is highly valued around the world. He met also with family members of the President.

Speaker of Azerbaijan Parliament Ogtay Asadov, head of the President Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev, other officials, public of Baku, musicians took part at the ceremony.