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FIRST INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF MODERN MUSIC IN DUSHANBE

An event of a great cultural importance - the First International Festival of Modern Music took place in Dushanbe on May 14-19, 2004. The Festival was held with the financial support of Dushanbe Mayor's Office, Cultural Dialogue Center under the International Foundation of Ziyodullo Shahidi, Embassies of France and Austria, and Cultural Center "Bactria" in the capital city of the Republic of Tajikistan. The event was advertised by posters and inviting sounds of a carnai informing people of the Festival devoted to the 90th anniversary of the great patriarch of modern Tajik music Ziyodullo Shahidi and the 80th anniversary of Dushanbe.
Besides with the classic and folklore music, modern Tajik musical thought is based on the music of other people of Central Asia, Russian and European classics and the world music, in general.

Ziyodullo Shahidi (1914-1985) studied and used these sources, trying to synthesize and creatively elaborate them. He was born in Samarkand, and moved to Dushanbe at the age of 18. Already a grown-up person and a well-known national composer, he entered the Moscow Conservatory having acquired skills of a world class composer. During World War II and up to the 1980-s, along with his contemporary composers, he was creating new forms of modern music.
Ziyodullo Shahidi's songs, theatrical music, his interpretation of national songs performed in Tajikistan, Central Asia, Russia, the Caucasus and the Baltic States, his music for the cinema, the first suites and choirs, musical comedies, symphonies and operas have become a true international heritage available in the vast space of the Soviet Union. Today this music is popular in Iran and the USA, Great Britain and France, Germany and Sweden, Austria and Canada, Japan and Egypt.
The latest decades of the XX century were decisive in the cultural life of Tajikistan that had to overcome a civil war with its serious impacts on the modern professional music. While many musicians, composers and singers left Tajikistan, the core group of composers and musicians remained in the country trying their best to revive the old fame of Tajik music and create modern music for the world. These efforts are highly appreciated by the world community.

Therefore, the Cultural Dialogue Center under the International Foundation of Ziyodullo Shahidi, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan, Tajik Academic Opera and Ballet House named after S. Aini, Embassies of France and Austria in Tajikistan in cooperation with the Composers Union of Tajikistan, the National Conservatory, Republican Musical College named after Z. Shahidi, and "Bactria" Cultural Center initiated an international festival devoted to the 90th anniversary of Ustod Ziyodullo Shahidi and the 80th anniversary of Dushanbe to which he dedicated his wonderful songs.
Ziyodullo Shahidi was an active creator of modern Tajik culture; for many years he was heading the Composers Union of Tajikistan, and for over 20 years was a member of the Supreme Soviet of Tajikistan.

The Festival was organized with the following objectives:
· Contribute to the modern image of Dushanbe capital city;
· Support the development of modern music in Tajikistan;
· Attract the attention of the world musical community to the Cultural Center and musical capacities of the country;
· Call upon the world community to publish the national, classic and modern musical works of Tajikistan on CDs or DVDs;
· Create a Musical Center in Dushanbe aimed at the coordination of international musical activity of the country at three levels: national, regional and global;
· Consider the existing regional contacts at the Parliamentary level;
· Create a large-scale Tajik and international information program;
· Appeal to the highest political circles on the necessity to support and use modern Tajik music in the cultural dialogue as an active tool of peace building of our days;
· Support and development of the world community interest to Tajik music, national and global interrelations in Central Asia and all over the world.
Following are the Festival participants from Tajikistan: the Symphonic Orchestra, the Choir and soloists of the Tajik Academic Opera and Ballet House named after S. Aini, Lead Conductor and Art Director Beron Merobov, Lead Choirmaster Kholmamad Madjodov, Lead Director Shamsi Nizomov, Chamber Orchestra of the Republican Musical College named after Z. Shahidi, Conductor Djurahon Obidov. The Festival concerts were organized by Tolib Shahidi and Farangis Nurullo-Khodja.

Of special interest was the performance of the Austrian musician Konstantin Weitz (violin), and Tore Sverradall - a great tenor from Sweden as well as of Tajik musicians - Burhon Mamatkulov, Mirali Dustiev, Akbar Mirradjabov, Nigina Obidova, Azalia Galiakhmetova, Surayo Abdullaeva, Shafak Kasimova. A ballet-film "Khayam's Rubayi" (composer -Tolib Shahidi) was demonstrated in the Cinema House. The audience applauded to the great ballet dancer Malika Sobirova for whom this role unfortunately was the last in her career.
We live in the era of intercultural dialogue. To really appreciate one's culture it is necessary to go beyond it; otherwise it will be deprived of its own specifics. A contemporary person should evaluate himself from various sides. This was one of the topics discussed at the scientific-practical conference "Cultural Dialogue as the Basis of Peace Building" held under the framework of the Festival.

The Conference was opened by a well-known cultural scientist Munira Shahidi who pointed out that the Tajik audience was enthusiastic about the performance given by foreign guests; among them - a French dancer (Lorence Levasser), an Austrian violin-player (Kostantin Weitz), as well as of the Tajik pianist Surayo Abdullaeva. "We have recognized the high value of the cultural dialogue. It was most important to me that after the concert was over, the Austrian musicologist Richard Schteiler talking to Tore Sverradal said that they had to come to Dushanbe to reveal their cultural aspects to each other. I would also like to point out that the peace-building position followed by President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmonov is highly appreciated by the world community.
The head of the country is demonstrating the openness of national cultural dialogue policy in all his activities. The other thing is that the legal base of the cultural dialogue and its present condition requires an urgent development. Quite recently I have been to Bishkek to participate in a round table devoted to the legal issues of a cultural dialogue. And I agree with Professor Rogozhevitch from Croatia who believes that it is the cultural activists who must push politicians to an understanding of the cultural factor. Tajik culture is bordering many cultures and is based on peace building, that is, on the desire of mutual understanding. Therefore, these kind of conferences are mostly needed to throw light on the Tajik culture and its place on the global level."
The Conference participants discussed the current cultural issues of our days, including the lack of qualified translators and specialists in the field of comparative analysis of cultures, compatibility of texts and music, on the revival of Tajik opera. They have come to a unanimous opinion that it is most important to treat inter-cultural relations as a significant factor contributing to conflict prevention, promoting peoples' friendship and peace building, and eliminating hostile attitudes. Culture should be above politics.

Prepared by
Mukharam Komilova

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