Author: Salatin MIRZAYEVA
As soon as one hears the unusual performance of talented singer Orkhan Jalilov, it retains in memory. The young and talented performer, who has a passion for music, strong musical background and an extraordinary (gifted!) voice, makes his way to big scenes. The ambitious musician has grandiose plans: to study abroad and to conquer world opera scenes to glorify Azerbaijan. In his interview, Orkhan Jalilov told us about the need for academic education, his present and future projects, as well as his state of mind during performance, and so on
"How did your start as a musician?"
"Of course, education has played a huge role in my establishment as a musician. Actually, I did not start as a vocalist. I first studied at Music School no.3 in Sumgayit to learn playing violin. I was already singing and had performed on stage, but my voice was childish, rough, if you will. Then I graduated from the U. Hajibayov Baku Music Academy; again, not as a vocalist, but as a music theorist. I am still there to get my master degree in vocal."
"Violin, music theorist and then singer?"
"When I was in the 8th grade of the Bulbul Music School, our principal was the most brilliant musician of the time, an outstanding conductor Teymur Goychayev. I was taking violin lessons at that time. By the way, it worked very well, but I had a spoiled performance. Of course, it was difficult to hide this from the master, and Teymur-muallim strongly recommended me to change my specialty."
"Was it easy?"
"Well, our school has been checked periodically. Students with poor grades, lacking knowledge of solfeggio, musical literature, and harmony were excluded from school. Moreover, these guys could have good performance in specialty, perform on stage, have good achievements. I, on the contrary, had good grades in all these subjects, but a poor one on my major subject. That is why Teymur-muallim gave me a year to improve myself. A year later, he told me that he did not see any progress (laughs). But the bad news was that I was going to be expelled from school."
"Was that a blow?"
"And a powerful one. Because I always believed in myself. It was a shock. But I was rescued by a happy accident. Before the exam, we had an open lesson where our vice-principal Samira Dbilova was present. I had a wonderful ear. I say this not to boast, but to show how this school works to make students show their talents. Samira-khanum was very surprised at my hearing. After Teymur-muallim’s words about my exclusion, she put forward a proposal to transfer me to a class of musical theory. So I stayed at school and left the violin class, fortunately (laughs). However, I have always seen myself as a singer, although Teymur-muallim once kicked me out of stage with the words: “What are you singing?!” (laughs). Actually then I had a voice mutation. And now I continue my education as a vocalist and my knowledge of music theory helps me a lot."
"And, of course, it wasn’t without musical genes?.."
"Yes, I was born in a musical family. My grandfather Asad Jalilov was playing kamancha professionally. My grandmother Sona Jalilova was ashig, father Yusif Jalilov - singer, and uncle Elchin Jalilov, the greatest Azerbaijani singer. These are not my words, my people considers him the greatest. But, unfortunately, they are no longer alive. In 2005, both my uncle and then my father died."
"Can you imagine your life without music?"
"No. For me, there is no life without music, just as I can’t imagine that I can do something else with the same enthusiasm and excitement."
"What is your goal?"
"My goal is to continue my education abroad. I want to become an opera singer. To obtain sufficient knowledge in this area, to improve it and, of course, to represent and glorify my country on world stages."
"Are you doing something in this direction? Tell us about your tours. You often tour with the orchestra. What is more important for you - to conquer the souls of people or to conquer the scene?"
"It is a difficult question. It is probably difficult to imagine the existence of one without the other. To begin with, one must win the hearts of people. The conquest of scenes will come by itself! The more you are loved, the more you are admired by what you are doing, the more concerts you have. I am on tour with and without orchestra. In 2017, I had a solo concert in Vienna with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra conducted by Mustafa Mehmandarov, who at that time lived there. The concert was dedicated to the anniversary of the legendary Azerbaijani composer Tofig Guliyev.
"In 2018 I was with a concert in Norway (Oslo), where I performed both Azerbaijani and foreign classical and pop works. Also in 2018, I performed in Ankara with the Turkish Presidential Symphony Orchestra conducted Yalchin Adygezalov with his sister. The concert was dedicated to the centenary of the democracy of Turkey and Azerbaijan. I performed Bismillah Aygun Samadzade, Azerbaijan by Vasif Adygezalov. I was also at concerts in Germany, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, etc."
"Many foreign listeners consider our music melancholic, especially mugham."
"I do not think that our music is melancholic. Most of our tunes sound in major, and, on the contrary, famous world known tunes, which we used to think of as funny, are composed in minor."
"What do you think about the future of academic music?"
"I am pessimistic about it. Unfortunately, many performers do not understand that if they are not familiar enough with academic music, it is impossible to create something meaningful and high quality. But we can see that people do not run for knowledge. So, it’s difficult for me to speak positively about the future of academic music."
"Majority of your songs are about love. For example, Sevgilim, Sevgili Janan. Should the heart of a musician be fed with love in reality to be able to convey the sensuality of such melodies?"
"I think it is extremely important. But this does not mean that if the heart is free, then a vocalist will not be able to adequately perform songs and convey the mood of the composition. I believe that this is what distinguishes a professional who can create an atmosphere of sensuality on the stage and make his listeners believe that the musician is now in the mood of the music being played. In the end, at every stage of our life, we always feel love - love for a mother, for our family, relatives, God. This is an incredible feeling that always manifests itself in different ways. Everything that motivates and encourages us in this life is love. Without it, we could not take a step forward."
"Thank you for interesting conversation!"