Gadzhibekov, Uzeir Abdul Gusein Ogly

Gadzhibekov, Uzeir Abdul Gusein Ogly


Born Sept. 5 (17), 1885, in the village of Agdzhabedy, near Shusha; died Nov. 23, 1948, in Baku. Soviet composer and public figure. People’s Artist of the USSR (1938). Academician of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences (1945). Member of the CPSU from 1938. Founder of modern professional music in Azerbaijan.

Gadzhibekov studied music courses given by the Moscow Philharmonic Society and at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (1914). His first opera Leili and Medzhnun (1908) began a new page in the history of Azerbaijani music. This work laid the foundation for the new genre of mugam opera, which combines a written musical score with solo, vocal improvisation (mugam) using text indicated by the composer. Gadzhibekov wrote five more mugam operas, including Asli and Kerem (1912) and Shah Abbas and Khurshid Banu (1912). His musical comedies Man and Wife (1909) If Not This One, Then That Other (1910), and the widely popular Arshin mal alan (composed in 1913; the film of that name received the State Prize of the USSR in 1946) resounded with protest against patriarchal-feudal customs. After the October Revolution, Gadzhibekov promoted the development of musical education in the republic; he established a music school, and from 1938 to 1948 he was a professor and director of the Azerbaijan Conservatory, which has borne Gadzhibekov’s name since 1949. In 1931, Gadzhibekov organized an orchestra of folk instruments and in 1936, a state chorus. In 1945 he became head of the Scientific Research Institute of Azerbaijani Art of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR.

Gadzhibekov composed the first popular Azerbaijani songs as well as chamber instrumental works, two fantasies for folk-instrument orchestra, and cantatas. The peak of the composer’s creative art was his opera Kerogly (1937; State Prize of the USSR, 1941), a heroic-epic work about the peasant uprising at the turn of the 18th century. This opera is distinguished by its unity of folk, graphically intonational structure and classical means of expression. The opera’s monumental choral scenes form the basis of the musical dramaturgy. During the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) the composer created patriotic works, for example, songs, the cantata The Motherland and the Front, and the ghazal Sensiz (Without You) and Sevgili dzhanan (The Beloved Woman) based on poems by Nizami. He also completed a work of many years on theoretical research into folk harmonies. Gadzhibekov composed the music for the national anthem of the Azerbaijan SSR (1945) and wrote literary works. He served as a deputy to the first and second convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and medals.


O muzykal’nom iskusstve Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1966.
Äsärläri, parts 1-4. Baku, 1964-68.


Vinogradov, V. Uzeir Gadzhibekov i azerbaidzhanskaia muzyka. Moscow, 1938.
Kasimov, K. Uzeir Gadzhibekov. Moscow, 1945.
Korev, S. Uzeir Gadzhibekov i ego opery. Moscow, 1952.
Agaeva, Kh. Uzeir Gadzhibekov. Baku, 1955.
Abasova, E. Opery i muzykal’nye komedii Uzeira Gadzhibekova. Baku, 1961.
Abbasov, A. Uzeir Gadzhibekov i ego opera “Kerogly.” Baku, 1966.