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Afrasiyab Badalbeyli was born on April 19, 1907 in the family of the national enlightener Badalbey Badalbeyov in the city of Baku. His father, who dedicated all the life to the concern of popular schooling, came from hereditary nobiliary family of ancestry Garabagh. His mother Rahima khanim was the representative of shah Hajhar's well-known genes.

In 1912 Afrasiyab Badalbeyli went to Russian-Muslim school # 6, and in 1916 he left the school with distinction.

In 1917 - 1924 years he continued his education at the real specialized school #1 in Baku. From 1923 to 1926 year Afrasiyab Badalbeyli was a participant in Azerbaijan Drama School and willingly acted in the spectacular displays organized by students.

20-th of the XX-th century were organizational years in history of the Azerbaijan music culture. These years in quest of new ways there were a tendency of denying of national operas and operettas created in the early 20th century. During that period 17-year old Afrasiyab Badalbeyli published an article in the "Communist" newspaper, where he argued against this negative reformatory tendency.

In 1924 in aid of development of vocational competence Afrasiyab Badalbeyli entered Azerbaijan State Turk Music Training College and synchronically studied at Azerbaijan State University in the linguistics department of the East faculty.

In Music Training College he pursued a profession of violin in S.L. Bretanitski's class. The talented young musician was soon notable for mastery.

On May 22, 1925 the College students directed Uzeyir Hajibeyov's operetta "Arshin Mal Alan", where Afrasiyab Badalbeyli participated in orchestra as a concertmaster of the second violins.

Besides violin, A. Badalbeyli perfectly mastered a national instrument tar, and in 1926 he participated in the orchestra of folk instruments as a concertmaster of the second tar players, as well as in tour concerts in Moscow and Minsk.

Premiere of the drama "Fiancee of a Flame" by J.Jabbarli was staged on February 16, 1928. Afrasiyab Badalbeyli was an author of music to this spectacle.

Inspired with success of the performance, J.Jabbarli authorized A.Badalbeyli composition of music to his next work "Sevil".

Since January 1, 1928 A.Badalbeyli had started working as a translator in the newspaper "Communist".

The campaign against the folk musical instrument with an eye to eliminate it from Conservatoire's curriculum because of its outmoded traditions commenced in 1929. Positively exclaiming against all of that A. Badalbeyli wrote the article "About inquest on the tar".

In 1930 during celebration days of the 10th anniversary of Soviet authority establishment in Azerbaijan the first sounded tone poem "28 Aprel March" and the suite "All the authority to the Soviets!" by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli were the first program works in Azerbaijani music devoted to the Soviet subject.

On May 15, 1930 A.Badalbeyli began working as a conductor of Turko operas at the M.F.Akhundov Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

In 1931 A.Badalbeyli composed music to plays by J.Jabbarli including "Almaz", "In 1905", "Yashar". Extending his activity in the field of theatre, he also wrote music to the spectacles "Fear" by A.Afinogenov (1933), "Haji Gara" (1934) and "Monsieur Jordan" (1935) by M.F.Akhundov.

In 1932 A.Badalbeyli entered Moscow Conservatoire. Here he studied at the conducting faculty in Professor K.Sarajev's class. In the period of studying at Conservatoire he simultaneously followed a composer profession. 8 variations, sonatina for violoncello and piano, suite for symphony orchestra, stringed quartet relate to this period works. A year later A.Badalbeyli having left his training came back in Baku and took part in staging of the opera "Shahsenem" by R.Glier in the new edition according to J.Jabbarli's libretto.

In the autumn of 1934 A.Badalbeyli went to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and entered Music Training College attached to Leningrad State Conservatoire named after Rimski-Korsakov. Here he studied at composer's department in Professor B. Zeydman's class. At the same time he started working as an assistant conductor under the direction of Principal Conductor of the V.Dranishnikov Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Leningrad.

In 1938 having successfully finished his studies in Leningrad, A.Badalbeyli returned to his motherland. In the same year he composed one act ballet-tale "Tarlan" to the libretto of his brother Turgud Badalbeyli.

The day of April 8, 1940 became history of Azerbaijani musical culture as a day of creation of the first national ballet. This day the premiere of the ballet "Maiden Tower" by A.Badalbeyli was staged at the Azerbaijan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet named after M.F.Akhundov.

On April 23, 1940 A.Badalbeyli was awarded the honorary title "Honoured Art Worker" of the Republic for prominent services in the field of art.

In 1941 A.Badalbeyli in association with B.Zeydman created one act opera "People's wrath" (authors of the libretto: I.Gratovski and A.Mamedkhanli).

These years were marked by music with plays "Farhad and Shirin" and "Khanlar" by Samed Vurghun. He was a conductor of these productions, as well. A.Badalbeyli's wartime activity as a composer and conductor was combined with his occupation of the positions of Director and Art Director of the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic. In association with M.S. Ordubadi A.Badalbeyli translated into Azerbaijani the text of the opera "Barber of Seville" by J.Rossini, the Italian composer. He wrote libretto for the new edition of the ballet "Don Quixote" by Minkus.

Postwar years were marked by 800-year jubilee of the great Azerbaijan poet Nizami Ganjevi. Preparation to this date began as early as 1939, and A.Badalbeyli was commissioned to create the opera about the poet's life. But this plan was interrupted with a war. Only on December 12, 1948 was the first staging of the opera "Nizami".

In these years A.Badalbeyli also lead musical editorship of Azerbaijan Radio Committee.

In the first half of 1950th there was evidenced a considerable upsurge of creative effort at the Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Three significant works by Azerbaijan composers were staged during this small period. They were ballets "Gulshan" by Sultan Hajibeyov (1951), "Seven Beauties" by Gara Garayev (1952) and the opera "Sevil" by Fikret Amirov (1953). Production of the ballet "Gulshen" and opera "Sevil" were connected with A.Badalbeyli's name, because he was the conductor of these spectacles.

A.Badalbeyli was admitted not only as a musician, but also as a litterateur and linguist. He took active part in working up and admission of Azerbaijan Language orthography by reformatory committee of Literature Institute named after Nizami of Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences in 1952. In the same year he brought into play eurhythmic congruence of P.Chaikovski's "Iolanta" opera text from Russian into Azerbaijani.

The first brochure by A.Badalbeyli's "Talk about music", where the author gives explanation to some music terms, told about musical genres and forms, musical instruments and ensembles, came off the press in 1953. It was the first one of such a sort. (in 1958 the brochure "To know and to love music" by D.Shostakovich, in 1962- "Function of music and its capabilities" by I.Rijkin came to hand).

In 1954 "Sinfonietta" for the folk instruments orchestra" by A.Badalbeyli was performed at the 7-th plenum of Composers' Union of Azerbaijan.

In 1955 there was published his monograph "Gurban Primov" about well-known tar player, who had been the disciple of traditions of Azerbaijan tar reformer Mirza Sadig Asad oghlu and opened the new mark of history of the national performing art in Gurban Primov's mastery.

Afrasiyab Badalbeyli paid much attention to matters of terminology. Considering traditionally used terms of Russian and foreign origin in Azerbaijani music, A.Badalbeyli tried populating them among Azerbaijani habitants, explaining, decoding and thus promoting enrichment of the native language. With this purpose his "Dictionary of music terms" came off in 1956.

In 1957 A.Badalbeyli wrote libretto for the ballet "Golden key" by B. Zeydman.

In 1959 he took an active part at the decade of Azerbaijani music culture and art in Moscow. His ballet "Maiden Tower" was shown within the framework of the decade. It was enthusiastically accepted by all music public of Moscow, many approving responses came into sight in Moscow press. In connection with the current decade A.Badalbeyli in the co-authorship with historian-musicologist Gubad Gasimov redacted the sketch "Azerbaijan State Opera and Ballet Theatre named after M.F.Akhundov".

The year of 1960 was significant in A.Badalbeyli's life, because on May 24, 1960 under the decree of Presidium of the Azerbaijan SSR Supreme Soviet the composer was awarded an honorary title of the National Actor of the Republic.

In 1962 the opera "Daisi" by Zakhariya Paliashvily, the Georgia composer, was staged in the Azerbaijani language at the Theatre of Opera and Ballet in connection with tours to Georgia. Translation of it belonged to A.Badalbeyli.

In 1964 - 1965 years A.Badalbeyli, as a jury chairman, took an active part in organization and conducting of the XVIII-th and XIX-th Republican Olympiads of youth collectives of amateur performances.

It is important to note his activity in organization of the competition-festival "Mugham-68", young singers and instrumentalists of all areas of the Republic, as well as well-known figures of arts took part in.

In 1965 A.Badalbeyli in association with Gamar Almaszadeh wrote libretto of the ballet "Black girl" by Ashraf Abbasov, on S.S.Akhundov's motives of the same story.

In 1968 A. Badalbeyli together with Turgud Badalbeyli created libretto of the opera "Aydin" by Ramiz Mustafayev on J.Jabbarli's drama of the same name.

Afrasiyab Badalbeyli's book "Explanatory-Monographic Music Dictionary" came off the press in 1969.

A.Badalbeyli was a member of the All-Union Society "Knowledge", participated in so many conferences, and appeared with lectures about musical art.

In 1970 was staged A.Badalbeyli' opera "Willow will not cry" devoted to heroism of Azerbaijani people during the years of the Great Patriotic War (1941 - 1945) in the battlefields and real area.

During these years A.Badalbeyli made a lot of Television appearances and talked on the Radio; he was the author and anchorman of television and radio programs about folk music and mugham; these broadcasts became very popular in mass listenership.

In 1969 A. Badalbeyli acted with reports about Azerbaijani music in Paris. In 1970 in Moscow was carried out the conference of the International society on musical upbringing of children and youth under the slogan "The role of music in the life of children, teenagers and youth". The delegation from Azerbaijan directed by A.Badalbeyli took part in this conference work.

In 1971 A.Badalbeyli was elected a chairman of the Choral society.

In 1970 in Turkey Turk musicologist Altan Arasli published an article about Afrasiyab Badalbeyli and gave extended analysis of his "Explanatory-Monographic Music Dictionary" in the journal "Musical collection" ("Musigi majmuesi") .

In 1977 A. Badalbeyli's article "Azerbaijani national music" was published in the Turk language in the "Tidings of Turk Folk Congress" ("Turk Folklor kongresinin malumatlari") in Ankara.

A.Badalbeyli was a member of the editional board of the journal "Science and Life" ("Elm ve haiat"), the newspaper "Literature and Art" ("Adabiyyat ve Injasanat"), wrote on pages of periodical press reviews, critiques and problematic articles in the Republic during a long period.

Afrasiyab Badalbeyli died on January 9, 1976 in Baku.



        © Musigi Dunyasi, 2007