Spring 2002 (10.1)
Music student Zulfugar Baghirov recently
received the prestigious Joseph E. Viola Scholarship from the
Berklee College of Music in Boston. This honor was bestowed on
him at the school's 2002 Spring Awards Ceremony, held on March
The Joseph Viola Award is given biannually to a woodwind student
at the school who shows outstanding musical potential. The winner
is chosen by the Woodwind Faculty, with particular consideration
of each student's academic standing and the quality and consistency
of their contributions to the division.
"Joseph Viola was such a great jazz educator, a real master
of the saxophone," Zulfugar says. "I feel very honored
to be the one to receive this award this year."
Zulfugar, 28, is from Baku. He started learning music at age
six, playing the violin for five years before switching to the
clarinet. Today he is in his fourth semester as a music performance
major at Berklee. He has been a scholarship student there since
his first semester.
"I graduated from a classical music conservatory,"
Zulfugar says, "but I had always been interested in jazz
as well. At one point, I realized that I would need a professional
education to take it further. Now I play mostly free jazz. My
first private teacher for jazz was well-known saxophonist Billy
Pierce, and now I am studying with the great clarinet player
Harry Skoler." Zulfugar's principal instrument is the clarinet,
but he plays the saxophone as well.
Zulfugar himself comes from a long line of Azerbaijani musicians.
Perhaps the most prominent was his grandfather on his mother's
side, composer Gara Garayev (1918-1982). Zulfugar's mother, Zuleyha,
is a pianist who teaches at a conservatory in Istanbul. Her older
brother is composer and music professor Feraj Garayev (1943-
). Zulfugar's father, Elshad Baghirov (1947- ), is currently
the conductor of the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
His father was musicologist Zakir Baghirov (1916-1996), a professor
at the Azerbaijan Music Conservatory. When asked to describe
what it feels like to grow up in such a musical family, Zulfugar
responds, "I think it's a great opportunity. I feel proud
to come from such a famous family. I'm trying my best to live
up to their legacy."
To listen to some of Zulfugar's
recordings, visit AZER.com and
click on "Music Section". To contact Zulfugar, e-mail
him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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