Author: Elia ENVERLI
Professor Jeyhun Allahverdiyev is the Honored Art Worker of Azerbaijan and a pianist, who teaches at the Baku Music Academy (BMA). He is the author of three symphonies, two poems, a cantata, concert for piano and orchestra, symphonic compositions Manzara, two sonatas, and chamber and vocal music. We interviewed the composer right after his successful show-program at the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic.
What was the program of your concert and who was the conductor?
The program included all my recent compositions. Four of them were performed for the first time. I have been preparing for this concert for many days. There was my symphonic poem The Pages, the second symphony dedicated to my teacher Arif Melikov, and the third symphony, which I dedicated to the conductor, People's Artist of Azerbaijan Fakhraddin Kerimov. I highly appreciate him for his professionalism, kindness, and worthy human qualities. He is a great friend of mine, and I asked him to conduct the whole concert, which he did brilliantly. That night, the Honored Art Worker Gulnaz Ismayilova sand my four romances set on lyrics by Almaz Ildyrym and Nizami Ganjavi. In the finale, the chapel choir of the People's Artist Gulbaji Imanova and the symphony orchestra conducted by Fakhraddin Kerimov performed my cantata The Eternal Love set on lyrics by Maya Heydar-gizi. In his interview, Arif Melikov praised me as a role model for the young people, and Farhad Badalbayli said that my music was modern, professional, national and that I was a good pianist. I was very pleased to hear such warm words of appreciation.
Do you have any musicians in your family?
I was born in Sumgayit, and my ancestry is from Nakhchivan. My father was a well-deserved constructor. My uncle plays tar and is the honored art worker Taghi Taghiyev, who is teaching at one of the music schools Nakhchivan. I have three brothers. My eldest brother, Vasif, is also a composer, honored art worker, professor, and works at the National Conservatory. I was graduated from a music school in Sumgayit. When I was nine, my uncle introduced me to Maestro Niyazi. I remember how I showed him my works. In 1986, with the blessing of Niyazi, I took part in a festival held in Syria, where I performed my piano compositions. After the festival, I entered the Afghan Salayev Musical College in Sumgayit to teach the piano classes. In 1989, I won the first place at the International Pianists Competition in Tiraspol. In BMA, I studied simultaneously at two faculties - Compositions led by Professor Arif Melikov and Piano led by Professor Elmira Aliyeva, which I graduated with honors. My diploma thesis was Azerbaijan, which has been performed many times by the State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rauf Abdullayev. In those years, I dedicated a sonata for piano and my second symphony to my beloved teacher Arif Melikov, who was my instructor during my postgraduate studies.
Have you ever performed your compositions abroad?
Yes, I have. I performed my Capriccio in the UNESCO Hall in Paris with the chamber orchestra. Nazakat Teymurova performed my interpretations of folk songs at the EXPO exhibition in Japan. A big concert was held in Tehran where many of my works and folk songs were performed by Rauf Abdullayev’s orchestra. The solo part was performed by Faramaz Gerimudi. Rauf Abdullayev also conducted my great concert in Vienna. I also gave concerts dedicated to the Days of Azerbaijani Culture in Russia, which was attended by presidents Ilham Aliyev and Vladimir Putin. I have performed three times in Istanbul and gave a master class, participated in the opening ceremony of the Peer Gynt Festival in Norway and was also a member of the jury. I was even invited to work in Turkey. But, despite the favorable terms offered to me, I have refused, as I want to serve my people. I remember my performances at the Uzeyir Hajibeyov Festival in Gabala...
Any news about your current activities?
We have just published five textbooks that can be obtained at the Conservatory’s library. In general, I am thinking about creating a major stage work based on Nizami Ganjavi's Iskandername. In fact, I am currently working on the dramaturgy for opera or ballet.
You can write works on various themes: patriotic (Eternal Love), lyrical (The Sea and The Sky and I Will Love), etc. You have devoted the concert pieces for two pianos The Sketches to your five-year-old daughter Deniz. Tell us about your pedagogical activity.
I have five students today. Two of my former students are the laureates of international competitions. One of them is Etibar Asadli, who is a graduate student in Paris, and the other is a native of Iran, Javad Abrahi, who has been working in Turkey for many years. This year, Togrul Salmanov graduated from the bachelor's degree with his symphonic poem for a large orchestra. Nigar Aliyeva is now a graduate student as well.
How do you work with your students? Is your teacher your role model? Do you get rid of the weak points and develop healthy and strong sides of your students?
I am happy that my teacher was Arif Melikov, because there is simply no composer of his rank in the world right now.
What is the significant thing that you have ever committed in your life?
I devoted six years of my life to editing the works of my teacher under the decree of the President of Azerbaijan. This includes 27 volumes of books each with up to 300 pages. The presentation took place in December 2016, and now I am the official editor of the works of Arif Melikov. In 2011, I was awarded the title of the Honored Art Worker of Azerbaijan. I became a professor when I was 41 years old. Now I am 46, but I am very optimistic about my career. For example, I am glad that my piano compositions are included in the programs of international competitions.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love the nature. I like travelling, taking Deniz to the boulevard for a walk. I also like swimming and running, playing chess, reading books (and not only about musicians).
What is your favorite instrument and the most favorite work.
My favorite instrument is my beloved piano. My most favorite work is not written yet. I will create it in the future.
And what is your greatest desire?
I am dreaming about creating a major stage work and knowing that the people love me through my music everywhere...
Now many composers are inclined to work in the variety genre to achieve rapid success, to become more popular. Do you know who enjoys listening to, performing, or even buying the symphonies?
It is wrong. One should be capable of writing a symphony, because it is the basic essentials. Everything else will go easily and successfully.
We wish you good luck!