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Franghiz Ali-Zadeh Turns 60 on 28 May

One the most important present-day composers will be celebrating her 60th birthday on 28 May 2007. Franghiz Ali-Zadeh was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. She was educated as a pianist and composer at the Conservatory in her home city, passed her examinations in piano in 1970 and in composition in 1972, after which she continued as a master-pupil of Kara Karayev from 1973 to 1976. In 1989 she received her doctorate with a thesis entitled Orchestration in the Works of Azerbaijani Composers. Beginning in 1976 she taught musicology at the Baku Conservatory and beginning in 1990 was a professor of contemporary music and the history of orchestral styles. She was the choral director of the opera house in Mersin, Turkey and then served for two years as an instructor of piano and music theory at the conservatory there. Ali-Zadeh worked again in Baku in 1998 and 1999. Since then she has for the most part lived in Germany.

In 1980 Ali-Zadeh received the prize of the Azerbaijani Composers Union. In 1990 she was honoured as a Meritorious Artist of the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic. In November 2000 she received the honorary title of Peoples Artist of the Republic of Azerbaijan. She has been a member of the Schnberg Society in Los Angeles since 1989. As a pianist, she has repeatedly committed herself to the works of composers of the former Soviet Union. It is also thanks to her initiative that works of the Second Viennese School and composers such as Olivier Messiaen, John Cage and George Crumb were first performed in Baku.

In her numerous works, the composer attempts to build a bridge between the attainments of the Western avant-garde and the music of her native Azerbaijan as well as other regions of the Near East. A central work-cycle of recent years is summarised by the comprehensive designation Silk Road.