Azerbaijani composer who puts her own twist on music [EXCLUSIVE]

todayAugust 4, 2023 4

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Khadija Zeynalova has been passionate about music since
childhood and her love for it only continues to grow. Seeing her
shining eyes with delight at the sound of music, their parents
decided to enroll the young talent in a music school.

As for today, Khadija Zeynalova, who currently lives in Germany,
is known worldwide as the first Azerbaijani female composer, who in
2007 became a member of German Authors’ Society (GEMA).

Founder and artistic director of the Bridge of Sound Ensemble
(2016) and the Harmony of Sound International Music Festival
(2021), successfully demonstrates her musical masterpieces at
large-scale festivals and concerts in Azerbaijan, Turkiye, Hungary,
Germany, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Great Britain, France
and other countries.

Giving an inetview to AZERNEWS, a well-known composer has
shared her music path and experiences.

Q: How did you start your musical journey as a

A: Having started my independent creative path,
I worked as a teacher at the Azerbaijan State University of Culture
and Arts for five years. I also taught at Sumgayit Music College
and the Fikrat Amirov Music School for ten years. As a member of
the Azerbaijan Composers’ Union, I have performed my works at
plenums and festivals of contemporary music. I currently live in
Germany and work as a composer, organist, musicologist and teacher.
In 2000, my work “Symphonic Poem” was awarded first place in the
nomination “Symphonic Work” at the “Best Work of the Year”
competition held in Azerbaijan. During the award ceremony, the
National Leader Heydar Aliyev personally congratulated and
presented me with a diploma. Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra,
Gara Garayev Chamber Orchestra and the State String Quartet are
among musical ensembles, who perform music pieces composed by

My compositions are also played by Vienna Classical Orchestra,
DARIAN String Trio (Austria), Duo Simolka-Wohlhauser (Switzerland)
and others. My compositions have been published by such music
publishers as Laurentius-Verlag, Edition Avantus-Verlag,
Furore-Verlag, Ebert-Verlag in Germany, Donemus in Holland and
Edition Ferrum in England. In 2023, two of my compositions-Garabagh
Suite for Solo Piano and Garabagh Symphonic Poem For Symphony
Orchestra have been released with the support of the Azerbaijan
Culture Ministry. As a composer, I have written numerous music
pieces, including Absheron Suite, cappella works “Mountains”, “High
World”, “Magnus es Domine”, “Symphonic dances”, “Fairy tale”, “In
Memory of Gara Garayev”, “Longing for Garabagh”, music for
theatrical productions, etc.

Q: What inspires you to create music? How is your music

A: I truly believe that the most important task
for a composer is to find his own way of writing high-quality
music. Connecting with nature is the best way to boost creativity.
I always get a lot of ideas for my compositions in the midst of
nature. I also draw inspiration from masterpieces of such geniuses
of art as Van Gogh, Peter Paul Rubens, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro,
etc. When I visit other countries or cities, I always focus my
attention on the landmarks, especially the art museums.Some book
characters are also like a breath of fresh air for the composer. I
have composed several music pieces under the influence of Russian
writers Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Bulgakov. I am also inspired
by the great love for my motherland and most importantly, love for
my art. The whole creative process itself is very interesting and
exciting. It is such a divine feeling which can be compared to the
joy from the birth of the child.

It is very important for me to always be individual, to have my
own style and compose in such a way that sparks ignite in people’s
souls, so that my music touches the hearts of the listeners. I am
always inspired and energized by the creative process itself.
Before concerts, I am very worried and think about how everything
will go. But as soon as I start, all my experiences disappear.
Music knows no boundaries, but it knows how to unite everyone. It
does not know languages, but it can talk to everyone. I even
created my own ensemble called the Bridge of Sound to connect
everyone through music. Creative people should always be on the
lookout. Every day and every hour in search and always work on

Q: You are the artistic director of the Bridge of Sound
Ensemble. Could you share with our readers the history behind the

A: The Bridge of Sound Ensemble is inspired by
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “West-Eastern Divan” poem cycle and
was founded in 2016 by me in Detmold, Germany. That is, Goethe once
again proclaims this universal human value of Eastern poetry and
culture, showing the inner world of a whole culture, and not a
person. Our main goal is to build a bridge between cultures and
peoples. To date, the Bridge of Sound unites more than 25 musicians
from 15 countries. We have a lot of different projects in which I
demonstrate a harmonious alliance of European and Azerbaijani
musical traditions. From 2017 until now, the Bridge of Sound has
performed over 50 concerts and projects. We have released 2
CD-albums and were invited to broadcasts for interviews on such
famous German Radios as Deutschlandfunk, SWR, WDR3, RBB
Berlin,Radio Bremen, etc. The ensemble`s debut album titled “From
the Land of Fire – bridges between Azerbaijan and Germany” was
timed to the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic

In 2022, Shusha Symphony premiered at the concert in Berlin. The
concert under the motto “Peace and Coexistence” was dedicated to
the Year of the Shusha and Azerbaijan’s Victory Day (November 8).
Over 5,000 guests took part in the gala evening, including deputies
of the Bundestag, representatives of the German Foreign Ministry
and other government agencies. Supported by Azerbaijan Diaspora
Foundation, we released the 2nd CD album “Heinrich and Leyla”, to
mark the 200th anniversary of the German-Azerbaijani history. In
2023, the Bridge of Sound performed a concert “In Memoriam”
dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the National Leader Heydar
Aliyev. The concert program included works by Azerbaijani and world
classics Uzeyir Hajibayli, Johann Sebastian Bach, Astor Piazzolla
and other composers, my own music pieces- “In Memoriam”,
“Azerbaijani fairy tale” and “Ay Lachin”. These are just some of
the many projects.

Q: What musical projects have been implemented over the
past years?

A: After moving to Germany in 2005, I have been
actively involved in organizing certain concerts to familiarize and
popularize Azerbaijani musical art. There are a lot of projects, so
I will name only a few important concerts and projects from them.
The year 2021 was marked in Azerbaijan as the Year of Nizami
Ganjavi and the Year of Yunus Emre in Turkiye. As part of the Year
of Nizami Ganjavi and Yunus Emre I was invited to Turkiye by
TURKSOY as a composer. As part of these events, the Turkish cities
of Tekirdag, Edirne, Bursa and Antalya hosted a series of concerts
under the name “Turk Dunyasinin shah eserleri”, where two of my
works, including “Nizami” for a large symphony orchestra and “Ashk
Yolu” for a string orchestra were premiered. In 2022, I was invited
by the State Committee on Work with Diaspora to participate in the
5th Congress of World Azerbaijanis in April, 2022, which was a
great honor for me. Around 400 Azerbaijanis from 65 countries took
part in the congress held in Shusha. I will never forget these
experiences in my life. I was also awarded a medal for Diaspora

Q: What advice would you like to give to young composers
who have just started their musical journey?

A: I truly believe that every person is gifted
by God and can achieve a lot. Everyone has different abilities and
talents. Our Azerbaijani people are very talented. We have such
gifted and incredibly talented musicians and composers, who
successfully represent the country all over the world. I am very
proud of my compatriots. Don’t copy anyone and follow your own
path. Only personal experience can boost your individuality. If you
put all your spiritual, personal thoughts into each new
composition, then your own musical style will form over time. I
wish young composers success, patience and, most importantly, work
on themselves and love their art.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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