Karaev, Kara Abulfaz Ogly

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Karaev, Kara Abul’faz Ogly


Born Feb. 5, 1918, in Baku. Soviet composer and public figure; People’s Artist of the USSR (1959); member of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR (1959). Member of the CPSU since 1949. Member of the CC of the CP of Azerbaijan since 1960.

Karaev graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied composition with D. D. Shostakovich, in 1946. He was artistic director of the Azerbaijan Philharmonic Orchestra and director of the music section of the Institute of Azerbaijani Art.

The music of Karaev, an innovative artist, is imbued with a lofty spiritualism and philosophical content. Its main theme is struggle for beauty in the life of man. Karaev develops the best traditions of world and national art and seeks new expressive means. His ballets stand among the great achievements of Soviet music—The Seven Beauties, based on motifs from Nizami (staged in 1952, Baku) and The Path of Thunder (staged 1958 in the S. M. Kirov Leningrad Theater of Opera and Ballet; awarded the Lenin Prize in 1967).

Karaev is the composer of three symphonies (the Third, 1965, is most noted) and a concerto for violin (1967). His other symphonic works include suites from the ballets The Seven Beauties and The Path of Thunder, the symphonic poem Leili and Medzhnun (1947; State Prize of the USSR, 1948), the Albanian Rhapsody (1952), and the symphonic sketches Don Quixote (1960). Karaev also composed the opera Motherland (Veten; with Dzh. Gadzhiev, 1945; State Prize of the USSR, 1946), art songs, a string quartet (1947), pieces for violin and piano, and music for dramatic productions (more than 20), including Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra (awarded the M. F. Akhundov Prize, 1965), and motion pictures (more than 20).

Karaev began teaching in 1946; in 1957 he became a professor at the Azerbaijan Conservatory (director, 1949–52). His students included R. Gadzhiev, A. Babaev, and A. Melikov. He became head of the Composers’ Union of the Azerbaijan SSR in 1953 and secretary of the Composers’ Union of the USSR in 1962. He was a deputy to the fifth through eighth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Karaev was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Karagicheva, L. Kara Karaev. Moscow, 1968.
Kara Karaev: Bibliografiia. Baku, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.