Scientific Simposium within the framework of "the World of Mugham" International Festival

March 18-20, 2009

On 18 March, an international scientific symposium has commenced at the National Museum of Azerbaijan History of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan as part of the International Festival “The World of Mugham”.

Opening the symposium, President of the Festival, First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO Goodwill Ambassador MEHRIBAN ALIYEVA said:

I say “Welcome to Azerbaijan!” to all guests having arrived from different countries of the world in our capital to partake in the symposium. I specially welcome guests representing UNESCO, also those acting at the mugham section of International Music Board. I am very delighted to see famous scholars dealing with analysis and propaganda of mugham, employees of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, our mugham masters and all mugham lovers. I hope this great mugham event will open a new stage in history of mugham. The high-level international symposium dedicated to mugham indicates great significance of mugham not only for Azeri culture and science but for the world music community. We – Azerbaijanis are rightly proud of our native mughams. Mugham is of special importance for every Azeri. Located between West and East, on the Great Silk Road Azerbaijan has formed its culture for centuries in the place where civilizations encounter. Despite in some times we existed under different empires, our religion, national values, language, culture protected us as a nation.   

Mugham, one of the nicest pearls of Azeri culture and history, is our national wealth. Mugham reflects the best features of Azeri people. Devotion to the land, origins, patriotism, national dignity, hospitality, mercy, kindness, emotional wealth – all these feelings form the basis of mugham. So, I would not make a mistake saying mugham is the symbol of beauty and love. In 2003 UNESCO included Azeri mugham in the World Intangible Heritage List. To us, every page of history of mugham is precious. Formed throughout centuries in early XX century this art was played in concert halls not separated from folk festivities, weddings, holidays. At the time the late Uzeyir Hajybeyli created a bridge between traditional mugham and modern music of Azerbaijan. This genius composer, who knew mugham deeply, created “Leili and Mejnun”, the first opera in East the 100th anniversary of which was solemnly marked last year within UNESCO. Thus, mugham entered the opera theatre stage. Uzeyir Hajybeyli wrote a unique work on bases of Azeri folk music that opened new opportunities for mugham. Rules of composing music in base of mugham principles were discovered and rich mugham became inspiration for Azeri composers. Mugham affected all genres of Azeri music culture. It all led to symphonic mughams by Fikret Emirov, Niyazi, symphonies by Gara Garayev and we saw these successes in XX century.

Nowadays, every genre of Azerbaijani music culture is under impression of mugham. Ballet, opera, pop, jazz – all reflect synthesis with mugham.

Mugham does not exist in the history only. It develops and gets enriched. A lot of works have been done lately in the country in field of development and promotion of mugham. With great pride I want to say both Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Azeri Culture Friends Foundation have made worthy contributions in this sphere. As you know, we have implemented a lot of large projects in the past years: mugham contests, release of music album “Garabagh singers”, publication of “Mugham” magazine and so on. Publication of “Mugham encyclopedia” has special place among them. I believe future release of this publication dedicated to Azeri mugham will be richer and more interesting.

Dear guests, I once again sincerely congratulate you on this holiday. I believe our symposium will be very interesting. I hope the symposium, the mugham festival will become not a music holiday only but also an event building the dialog of civilizations. I hope visitors having come to our capital will have time to closely know our beautiful Baku, view the synthesis of the past and present, West and East. I congratulate you again on Novruz, the holiday very precious to all us, wish you health, long life and success. Thus, I declare “The World of Mugham” International Scientific Symposium open. Thank you very much.

Then, participants saw film “The World of Mugham” presented by Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

Speaking at the opening ceremony representative of UNESCO, Professor of Paris National Scientific Studies Center Jean During highly valued the festival saying France admires mugham from the first familiarization. Vice-President of the International Council for Traditional Music Wim Van Zanten talked of mugham, studies held in this field. He said the reason to realization of the festival and the symposium is inclusion of mugham, one of the greatest values of Azerbaijan, in the world intangible heritage list. We believe Azeri music, culture will be studied more closely and loved by other nations.

President of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Academician Mahmud Karimov said works started by President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva in field of promotion of mugham have become universal culture programme.

After the opening ceremony Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva saw exhibition of Azeri music instruments at the Museum.

Then a plenary session of the symposium was held. Scholars from Azerbaijan, Germany, China, Canada, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan delivered reports on mugham.