2021 2. Region Plus Azerbaijan News Agency Eng The Stars of Summer Teymur

Cleveland, Ohio. This is where the Rockefeller Park Cultural Gardens, a unique open-air museum surrounded by beautiful gardens, landscapes, and sculptures representing more than 40 countries and cultures, are located. Since May 12, 2008, there is a garden of Azerbaijan too. The main attraction of our national garden is the Hearth sculpture created by Khanlar Gasimov, which looks like a fusion of earth and sky, reflected on the surface of the bowl-shaped monument. Cleveland Gardens are famous not only for their picturesque landscapes, but also for the annual international festival of vocalists and pianists, The Stars of Summer. This year the Grand Prix of the competition was won by a young vocalist from Azerbaijan Teymur KAZIMOV, a student of the special music studio-school of the Baku Music Academy. This was one of the most important victories in his life! It encourages Teymur to continue to believe in his talent and expand the boundaries of his capabilities. The talented young man told us about his future goals, Shusha, victories, and love for music.

“Congratulations on your victory at the 2nd International Festival of Vocalists and Pianists, The Stars of Summer. How did you get an invitation to join the competition and how did you prepare for it?”

“Thank you. The Stars of Summer is a competition-festival of vocalists and pianists held in the Cultural Gardens of Cleveland, Ohio. Organisers are the Russian and Italian Cultural Gardens in partnership with the Yelena Obraztsova Cultural Center, whose director Irina Chernova invited me to join the competition. I am very grateful to her for this chance. At The Stars of Summer competition, I performed one of the most mysterious works of baroque music, Adagio di Tomaso Albinoni, which brought me the Grand Prix of the competition. This piece is so beautiful, and touching that I learned it in literally three rehearsals, during a pandemic, when it was not possible to practice normally. In preparation for the competition, my vocal teacher Ophelia Akhundova and accompanist Dilara Kerimova helped me.”

“The members of the jury invited you to participate in competitions held in their respective countries. Do you already know what these contests are?”

“Yes, I got invitations from three members of the jury to participate in festivals and competitions. And there was also a cash prize from the American Geauga West Rotary Club. Invitations are from the President of the Italian Cultural Gardens Cleveland, Joyce Mariani, and the Honoured Artist of Russia, professor of the vocal department of the N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg Conservatoire, Maria Lyudko. Currently, I’m going to take part in the competition organised by the singer, pianist, director of the Stars of Albion Performing Arts Festival in London, Yevgenia Terentyeva.”

“This is not your first victory in international competitions. Tell us about the 3rd All-Russian Competition of Vocal and Instrumental Art. Did you expect your victory?”

“No, there really were no such expectations. It was one of those routine evenings when I was browsing the Internet when I received the results of the competition. My mother and I could not believe this news, because becoming a winner at the All-Russian Competition of Vocal and Instrumental Art and to get the award of the Yelena Obraztsova Cultural Centre is a great achievement for any vocalist. This year the competition was attended by about 270 vocalists in five age groups (7-22 years old), and was a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the Centre.”

“There are various diplomas and awards on your Instagram account. What’s their role in your life?”

“Yes, there are indeed more than 20 diplomas (smiles). You know, each of these diplomas and awards means something. The Florida Keys competition was very significant for me; it was organised by Parvin Muradova-Dilbazi, the daughter of the prominent Azerbaijani composer Jovdet Hajiyev and renowned dancer and choreographer Amina Dilbazi. The competition has been held since 2018 in honour of the Azerbaijani composer Jovdet Hajiyev. In this competition, I won the first place and received a special cash prize from the Fikret Amirov International Association for the best performance of one of the prominent composer’s works and the promotion of Azerbaijani music abroad. You cannot imagine how proud I was to receive the award from the hands of Fikret Amirov’s daughter, Sevil Amirova. The Gara Garayev Competition in Moscow, the Nodar Andguladze Vocal Competition in Tbilisi gave me confidence. I also remember my very first face-to-face Harmony competitions in Turkey and Georgia organised by the famous Georgian pianist Tsitsino Bichikashvili.”

“Victory is an incredible feeling, isn’t it? But at the same time, many musicians argue that there are no victories in music and contests are just an exchange of experience and demonstration of capabilities. What do you think?”

“Yes, winning is really an incredible feeling! As for your question, I can reply in the words of my wonderful mentor Alexei Lavrov, the soloist of the Metropolitan Opera. He once wrote to me: “Teymur, take the maximum from different events. Each performance, each competition contributes to your promotion. That’s why you need, first of all, to find out who you are in the world of singing. What message you carry with your creativity. Do you warm souls or, on the contrary, wake them up? Do you make people to delve into themselves or, on the contrary, disconnect them from internal worries and clear their thoughts?.. All this is important at a deep level. There must be a mission. The sooner you find it, the deeper your sound and the atmosphere that you create in singing will become.” My communication with Alexei Lavrov gave me a lot; he has motivated me and given me useful instructions. So, I can say that I get something special from each competition. The competition is a demonstration of yourself, your achievements. And even if you fail to become a winner, it is still a great experience and motivation for the future.”

“Talking about the victory… What is our victory in the Garabagh War mean for you? How did you receive this news and what did you experience?”

“This is a special topic in our family. My dad is a native of Shusha. Before the occupation, his family could not believe that these were their last days in Shusha and that they would have to leave it for as much as 30 years. For obvious reasons, we have very few family photos related to their life in Shusha. My grandmother worked as a school director and did not plan to leave her hometown, despite the military situation there. But it was impossible to stay further, and they were forced to evacuate from Garabagh. My great-grandfather, an honoured teacher, worked in the city as a director of an orphanage. Their whole life was connected with Shusha, and it was very painful to lose contact with the city. From now on, for every Azerbaijani, the victory in the Garabagh War is a universal joy, and imagine what joy we experience. My teacher and composer Ayten Ogtaygizi wrote the patriotic song Zəfər Nəğməsi (Song of Victory), which we have repeatedly performed at various events and on television.”

“Do you wish to perform on the Shusha stage? What would you like to perform there?”

“The answer to this question follows from the previous one. Even before the Victory in the Garabagh War, I had said more than once that my dream was to perform in Shusha. And I would like to perform with the song Zəfər Nəğməsi, because in addition to being a lyrical and patriotic melody, it contains the words ‘Shusha, Garabagh, Kharybulbul and let the whole world know Azerbaijan!”

“What are your future goals?”

“In the near future, I need to get good education, gain experience in order to be able to perform on world stages and represent my country with dignity.”

“How did you decide to become a musician? What did influence your choice?”

“Since my early childhood, I gravitated towards music, although I did not understand it. Music has always been around me, and I was interested in it unconsciously. Interestingly, I’ve been interested only in classical music, nothing else, even today. It was my music teacher at the elementary school, who noticed my skills and insisted on entering a music school. So I ended up in this area. I then graduated cum laude from the Gara Garayev School of Music, piano class. And now I continue my studies at the special music studio-school of the Baku Academy of Music (BMA), class of academic vocal. I don’t know yet where I will continue my education later.”

“What is important for you in your activities, in your training?”

“Inspiration, calmness and expression of your emotions. And I believe that any feelings can be expressed through music, both singing and playing the piano. That’s why I even started composing music. I am especially inspired by the Hungarian-German composer, virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt. In his works, I find everything I want to get from music. He was a master of expressing emotions. In each of his works, there is a place for both tranquillity and rebellion. Quoting Liszt himself, “The highest tranquillity still remains an ideal of great art.”

“Who is your greatest support in your professional development?”

“There have been many such people in my life, including the director of our school, the Honoured Artist of Azerbaijan, professor of BMA Tarlan Seyidov, who creates all the conditions for the students. Of course, my vocal teacher Ophelia Akhundova and accompanist-teacher of the Baku Music Academy Dilara Kerimova are my support. Together with these people I really feel powerful!”

“September 18 is the Day of National Music, closely associated with the name of Uzeyir Hajibeyov. How did you celebrate the day?”

“I have been a member of the Support for Youth project for three years. The idea belongs to the director of the Muslim Magomayev Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Society, People’s Artist of Azerbaijan Murad Adigozalzade. Project coordinator is the musicologist Ayla Kerimova-Zakaria. The project provides support to young talented musicians of Azerbaijan and helps them to prove themselves. This year, our project celebrated the Day of National Music with a big concert at the Chamber and Organ Music Hall of the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Society. We performed the works by Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Niyazi, Fikret Amirov, Tofig Bakikhanov, and other Azerbaijani composers.”

“We wish you strength and inspiration. We look forward to your next victories!”

“Thank you and your magazine for the interest in my work.”

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