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
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
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
On April 23, 1940 A.Badalbeyli was awarded the honorary title "Honoured
Art Worker" of the Republic for prominent services in the field
In 1941 A.Badalbeyli in association with B.Zeydman created one act
opera "People's wrath" (authors of the libretto: I.Gratovski and
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
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
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
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
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
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.