About the Program
Oyan! / Awakening is a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through body, mind and emotions. It is an innovative investigation of Mugham, a devotional integrated practice of poetry, music and dance, in a contemporary context. This international multi-disciplinary collaboration facilitates an encounter between remembering, perceiving, and imagining in time and space. Oyan/Awakening is a physical incarnation of the emotional allegory, "Oyan!”, a masterpiece composition by Franghiz Ali-Zadeh.
Concept, Choreography and Performance - Sashar Zarif
Original Musical Composition of “Oyan” - Franghiz Ali-Zadeh
Musical Consultation/Collaborator - Franghiz Ali-Zadeh
Live Music Composition/Arrangements - Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Sashar Zarif, Elnur Mikhayilov, Miralam Miralamov
Dramatourgy - Elizabeth Langley
Kamancha/Azeri Fiddle - Elnur Mikhayilov
Mugham Vocalist - Miralam Miralamov
Writer and Director - Elchin Musaoglu
Production - AIF Company
Producer - Khaghani Hashimov
Editor - Jeyhun Turksoy
DOP's - Elkhan Nabiyev
Artistic Director - Sashar Zarif
Administrative Assistant - Mara Brown
Marketing Assistant - Anahita Negarandeh
Project Assistant - Natavan Mustafayeva
About the Artists
Firangiz Ali-Zada – Composer, Pianist, Pedagog, Musicologist, Conductor
Franghiz Ali-Zadeh is one of the leading composers of our time, highly regarded for her creativity and distinctive style. Throughout her career, she has made a significant contribution to dialogue between cultures, promoting exchange and the mutual enrichment of the spiritual treasures of East and West. Her compositions draw from the vocabulary of modern European classical music and incorporate the sounds of mugham music traditional to Azerbaijan. Ali-Zadeh was born in Azerbaijan in 1947. She studied the piano and composition at the Baku Conservatory, from which she graduated as a pianist in 1970 and as composer in 1972. In 1976 she began to teach musicology in Baku Conservatory, where she has been professor of Contemporary Music and the History of Orchestral Styles since 1990. She is one of the pioneers of the “new music” in the former Soviet Union and Azerbaijan. As a pianist, she performs at international festivals, playing programs that include the works by the Second Viennese School, as well as works by Crumb, Messiaen and Schoenberg, composers she has popularized for Eastern audiences. She is recognized as a master interpreter of works by 20th century European and American composers, the Soviet avant garde, and traditional Azerbaijanian composers. In 1976, Ali-Zadeh first introduced herself to a western audience at the Pesaro Music Festival with her composition Piano Sonata in memoriam Alban Berg. In 1999, she was the first woman “Composer in residence” to be invited to the Internationale Musikwochen in Lucerne. In 2000, she received a fellowship from Akademie der Kuenste in Berlin, where she has lived primarily since that time. In 1980 Ali-Zadeh received the prize of the Azerbaijani Composers’ Union and in 1990 she was named “Meritorious Artist” of the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic. In November 2000 she received the honorary title of “People’s Artist of the Republic of Azerbaijan” and was named “UNESCO Artist for Peace” in 2008. Franghiz Ali-Zadeh has been awarded many national honors by the Republic of Azerbaijan, including the Order of Glory in 2007, the Ugur award (“award of success”) in 2009, and the Zirve award (“top prize”) in 2011. Ali-Zadeh’s catalogue of works includes solo, chamber, ensemble and orchestral music. Ensembles and orchestras throughout the world play her music with enthusiasm. In a unique way, Ali-Zadeh succeeds in blending the musical traditions of her homeland with modern western compositional techniques. Her music is performed at festivals internationally. Numerous works of Ali-Zadeh have served as ballet music (in Helsinki, New York, Berlin, Singapore and London). Interpreters such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Evelyn Glennie, Ivan Monighetti, David Geringas, Julius Berger, Wu Man, Alexander Ivashkin, Alim Qasimov, Vladimir Tonkha, Elsbeth Moser and many others have all performed her music.
Sashar Zarif – Artistic Director, Choreographer, Soloist
Sashar Zarif is a multi-disciplinary performing artist, educator and researcher. His practice is steeped in the artistry and history of traditional and ritualistic performing arts including Sufi and Shamanic practices of the Near East and Central Asia. He has formulated a contemporary dance style by integrating classical poetry, music and the dance of these areas. It is called Dance of Mugham. His special pedagogy and creative approach to the development and practice of dance, is based on human experience and memory. Zarif’s interests are identity, globalization, and cross-cultural collaborations. During the last two decades and across 29 countries, he promoted cultural dialogue through intensive fieldwork, residences and performances. He has toured Europe, North Africa, Central and Western Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. He is a research associate at York Centre for Asian Studies and is on the board of directors of Dance Ontario. Zarif is the recipient of numerous awards working with acclaimed Canadian and international artists. He was a recipient of the 2006 Toronto International Dance Festival's Paula Citron Award. He was named the 2008 recipient of the Skills for Change New Pioneer Award for the Arts and was named an Artistic Ambassador for Diversity. He was awarded a Chalmers Fellowship Grant from Ontario Arts council in 2010. In 2011 for his contributions, he received the honorary title of Master of Dance and was made an Honorary Faculty Member by the Uzbekistan Institute of Choreography in Tashkent. In 2012 he was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Elizabeth Langley – Dramaturge
Elizabeth Langley's professional dance life spans fifty years and three countries. Australia provided her with dancer and teacher training, a performance and choreographing apprenticeship, and a seven-year period of professional life. New York, U.S.A. expanded her perceptions and experiences of the arts in general and offered her an opportunity to further her training at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Her years in Canada can be divided into three phases - the first being concerned with teaching and directing original performances in universities and the community in Ottawa: the second being absorbed by designing and chairing of the Contemporary Dance Degree Program at Concordia University in Montreal; and the third and present phase being involved in performing, directing, consulting, dramaturging, teaching and researching in Canada, Finland, Turkey, Cuba and Australia.
Miralam Miralamov – Mugham Vocalist
Miralam Miralamov is one of the rising stars of Azerbaijan Mugham and its vocal tradition. He was the winner of the prestigious Mugham Competition of Azerbaijan in 2011. Following this success he placed first in International Music of modal music of the east. He works at Azerbaijan National TV as a soloist and has given many performances across Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Iran. He is a disciple of Zabit Nabizadeh from Alim Qasimov school of Mugham. He has a great interest in folk songs as well as Ashiq Bard tradition of Azerbaijan. Born in the ancient city of Shamakhi, he caries the legacy that this region has offered to the Azerbaijani musical traditions for centuries. He is currently perusing his music degree at Azerbaijan National Conservatory of Music under the direction of Arif Babayev.
Elmur Mikayilov – Musician
Elmur Mikayilov is one of the most acclaimed young Kamancha (Azeri fiddle) players. He was born in the ancient city of Shamakhi, Azerbaijan. A graduate of Baku National Conservatory, Mikayilov started his music profession at the age of 19. He has been touring intensively nationally and internationally for the past twelve years. Mikayilov participated in numerous international festivals in Australia, America, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kirghizistan, Iran, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Netherlands, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Austria, Switzerland and others. Elnur's speciality is in music of classical Mugham and Folklore but he has extensive experience working with music of the other styles such as symphonic and Jazz. He is the principal Kamancha player for several acclaimed Mugham Music Ensembles. He was featured as a soloist at the closing ceremony of 2015 Eurpean Games in Baku.
Elchin Musaoglu Guliyev – Film Director
Elchin Musaoglu Guliyev was born on July 11 1966 in Baku, Azerbaijan. He is an award wining director and the writer and director of over 50 documentary films. He is a member of both The Union of Azerbaijan Cinematographers and The Union of Turkish Documentary Cinematographers. Mr. Musaoglu is also one of the founders of The Society for the Support of Documentary Films and Filmmakers. His films have received both critical acclaim and won numerous international awards. His latest work Nabat was Azerbaijan’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language category at the 2015 Academy Awards.
Natavan Aghayeva Faig – Writer
Natavan Aghayeva is an award winning writer, musicologist, educator, and journalist. One of the foremost Azerbaijani contemporary writers, she has worked, researched/followed and written about Mstislav Rostropovich, Yo Yo Ma, Montserrat Caballe, Bella Dadidovich, Franghiz Alizadeh, Denis Matsuyev, Dmitri Bertman, Gara Garayev, Niyazi, Fikrat Amirov, Muslim Magomayev, Alim Qasimov, Chingiz Abdullayev, Vagif Mustafazadeh, Vagif Samadoglu and others. She thought pianoforte, journalism and gender studies at Baku Music College and Western University. Ms. Aghayeva has worked at the Institute of Human Rights of the National Academy of Science of Azerbaijan and headed the Department of Culture of ‘Azerbaijanskiye Izvestiya’ (‘Azerbaijan newspaper’). Her acclaimed books on Azerbaijani modern, historical, and traditional art practices have been translated into many languages. Her mastery in Russian Literature has brought her numerous prestigious awards nationally and internationally. She continues to write on the culture of native Azerbaijan – its past and present - for local and foreign publications.
Arun Srinivasan – Lighting Designer
Arun Srinivasan has worked extensively in Toronto’s performing arts industry for the last 16 years in dance, theatre, music, and special events. For dance, collaborators have included Peter Chin, Danny Grossman, Robert Desrosiers, Clau- dia Moore, Denise Fujiwara, Ballet Jörgen, Carol Anderson and Holly Small. He was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Lighting Design in 2003 for Romeo/Juliet Remixed. Arun also teaches for the Dance and Theatre Departments at York University. Productions have taken him to Ukraine, Malaysia, Singapore, India and across North Amer- ica. When not working in the dark all the time, he can be found at the park on the monkey bars with his wife and kids. Arun is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.