The VIII Gabala International Music festival finished in spectacular fashion to cheers and a standing ovation.  Dmitry Yablonski took the superb Kiev Virtuosi through a series of exquisite pieces, supported by the world class voice of Azerbaijan baritone Javid Samadov, Azer Rzazade and Federica Lombardi. A breath-taking finale to a superb week of music.

This seven day festival is set in Qabala (Gabala) one of the most picturesque regions of Azerbaijan.  The concert venue was at the new Heydar Aliyev Congress Centre in the beautiful valley towards Durja and the Tufandag Ski Resort.  The majestic Caucus mountains rise up in the background create a unique atmosphere for this unique event.

Artistic Directors of the Festival Farhad Badelbeyli and Dmitry Yablonski designed and delivered this remarkable event skilfully blending the skills, sounds and talents of musicians and artistes from Azerbaijan and the wider International world of music and dance.  Supported by The Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Azerbaijan Ministry of Culture and Tourism this has been the most successful festival so far.

Musicians from around the world came together to enjoy this festival for including representatives from Azerbaijan, Austria, Israel, Russia, Spain, Cuba, Ukraine and Italy. This is a truly International and cross-cultural event in Azerbaijan’s Year of Multi-Culturism’.

Each day concerts are held in the late afternoon and evening, inside the Congress Centre and outside on the open stage respectively.  The variety in music ranged from Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms and Chopin, to the rhythms and dance of Flamenco and Cuban Latino to superb new compositions from the talented Kara Karayev.  Most popular of all was the very special Mugham Evening Concert with the voices of the Kamancha, Tar and Oud filling the mountains with stories of love and history of this amazing Azerbaijani culture.

Azerbaijan and Gabala look forward to next year and greeting more guests from around the world to share in this magical world of music and majesty.

William Alastair Maclachlan