Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the unveiling of a statue of outstanding composer Fikrat Amirov in Baku
19 September 2011, 12:20
It is a very remarkable day today. We are gathered for a ceremony to unveil the statue of great Azerbaijani composer Fikrat Amirov in the center of Baku. Let me heartily congratulate you on this wonderful occasion.
The unveiling of this statue shows that the Azerbaijani people and state have great respect for the memory of outstanding personalities. Fikrat Amirov is Azerbaijan’s favorite composer. He was a man closely attached to his people. His compositions, both classical works and songs, demonstrate the high level of his national feelings.
As you know, Fikrat Amirov was the author, the creator of the genre of symphonic mugham. Mugham is our national treasure. Mugham is our national identity, our national spirit. Today, the independent Azerbaijan is certainly capable of protecting its national heritage. At that time, in the Soviet period, Fikrat Amirov, as the author of a genre of symphonic mugham, saw the results of his quest. At the same time, his feelings for his people and popular culture helped him create this wonderful genre.
Today mugham is part of the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Henceforth, Azerbaijan is known worldwide as the birthplace of mugham. The mugham festivals and competitions conducted in our country show to the whole world that Azerbaijan is the birthplace of mugham.
Fikrat Amirov was also the author of great works. The opera “Sevil”, the ballets “Nasimi” and “Nizami” have earned him great fame not only in Azerbaijan but also in the Soviet Union. The ballet “The Thousand and One Nights” brought him worldwide fame. Today, “The Thousand and One Nights” is staged in many cities around the world. In 1981, the ballet “The Thousand and One Nights” was staged at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow with great success. I remember that day very well. It was a day of celebration not only of Fikrat Amirov’s talent and music, but also of Azerbaijani music as a whole.
As you know, great leader Heydar Aliyev had a lot of respect for the activities and personality of Fikrat Amirov. There was friendship between them. Sometimes I watched their meetings and saw how sincere their relationship was. The highest award of the Soviet Union, the title of the Hero of Socialist Labor, was awarded to Fikrat Amirov by the Soviet state on the initiative of Heydar Aliyev.
Fikrat Amirov served the people of Azerbaijan throughout his whole life, by all his works. I want to repeat that he had a very strong sense of patriotism – even though, I repeat, Azerbaijan was not independent and we could demonstrate the art of our country, the talent of the Azerbaijani people only through arts. Today, Azerbaijan is an independent state and, as such, it is successfully developing, living on and has earned recognition. In those years, in Soviet times, we could show the talent of the Azerbaijani people only in this way – through art, music and literature. To find out how talented the Azerbaijani people are, suffice it to listen to our music.
The Azerbaijani people are justly proud to have such great composers as Fikrat Amirov. Because his works carry on living. Fikrat Amirov died too soon. It has been nearly 30 years since he died. But his works live on. The memory of this composer will always live in the hearts of those who knew him. And his writings are living in the heart of every citizen of Azerbaijan. Because these immortal works really deserve the highest praise which has been given to them by time. If these works are still relevant and are causing interest today, it means that they will live forever. These works are immortal.
Azerbaijan marked the Day of Music yesterday, and we can see again how rich our musical culture is – classical works, works by composers and our national music. Our music is our national treasure. We must cherish our musical heritage, develop our music, do even more for the successful activities of the new young musicians.
Before coming here today, we celebrated the opening of the renovated music school named after Gara Garayev. It is a beautiful school. The school has been expanded more than twice, it has excellent equipment and musical instruments. Of course, thanks to the renovation and creation of such music schools, Azerbaijani music will live on. The Azerbaijani state has always been very attentive to the memories of outstanding personalities. I also want to indicate that a statue of great Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev will be put up in the center of Baku in the near future.
In general, as before, great attention is and should be paid to the issues of culture and art. This was the case in previous periods too. As you know, great leader Heydar Aliyev was always attentive to the people of art, was in regular touch with them and enquired about their activities. In Soviet times, he was actively involved in decorating them with the highest rewards. In the years of independence he did a lot for creative people. This policy is continuing. I am striving to keep in touch with the people who have done so much for Azerbaijani culture, art and music, to stand by them. I am very pleased to be alongside you on such wonderful occasions.
We are rightly proud of our culture. The independent Azerbaijan is asserting itself as a cultural nation worldwide. Along with the successes we have achieved in all other areas, progress in this field is particularly delightful. Our young people win highest places in international festivals and competitions. This generation of young people emerged in the years of independence. The works of our well-known composers, poets and writers are entering the international scene and are shown in various countries. In order to promote Azerbaijani culture, Days of Azerbaijan are held in major world capitals. Our country often plays host to music festivals. All our theaters have been renovated, and this work is ongoing. All our museums have been refurbished, and new museums are being set up. We have established the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the National Flag. Work is underway to establish the Museum of Independence. The Gala Archeological and Ethnographic Museum, which reflects our long history, is now open. In other words, we have a very rich history and culture. We are trying to show these wonderful assets to both our own citizens and the international community. I am confident that we will continue to carry out consistent work to promote our cultural heritage. Most importantly, the Azerbaijani state will take extra steps to ensure that the younger generation pays attention to this area.
I am very pleased that our young people are paying a lot of attention to national music. As you know, sometimes young people give preference not to their native music in this globalizing world. In Azerbaijan, we see exactly the opposite. Our young people need to grow in the national spirit. They should be familiar with our beautiful music. Of course, the legacy of our outstanding artists and their works in this area are of great importance.
I am very pleased that our youth is very interested in mugham. Even our stage is dominated by national motifs and melodies. We must cherish and protect it because a major role in preserving the identity of each nation is played by culture, arts, music, language and history. We were part of other countries and empires for decades and centuries, but have managed to preserve our national identity, including arts, literature and music. This is an example for future generations.
Today, the independent Azerbaijan is demonstrating its capabilities in all areas. Our great musical art deserves the highest assessment. I am very pleased that Azerbaijani music is known around the world.
Fikrat Amirov was a great composer, a remarkable man, an intellectual. His name is immortal. There are places and music schools named after him in Baku, Ganja and Sumgayit. The Ganja Philharmonic Society, the State Song and Dance Ensemble are bearing his name. This street is also named after Fikrat Amirov. Today, we are unveiling the statue of Fikrat Amirov. Let me congratulate all of you, Fikrat Amirov’s family, the entire music community on this wonderful event again. Thank you!