Azerbaijan International

Summer 2004 (12.2)
Page 12

Readers' Forum
Artists' Residence

The Artists' House in Baku designed by Senchikin and built on Stalin's orders after hearing the opera, Koroghlu.
Left: The Artists' House in Baku designed by Senchikin and built on Stalin's orders after hearing the opera, Koroghlu.

We've just read Aida Huseinova's article about Maestro Lutfiyar Imanov: "Celebrating 75 Years: Lutfiyar Imanov Reminisces about his Opera Career" in the Summer 2003 issue (AI 11.2). What a great singer he was! We've personally heard him perform the lead roles in various great operas such as Fikrat Amirov's Sevil, Verdi's Rigoletto, and Uzeyir Hajibeyov's Koroghlu (Son of a Blind Man).

We should mention what happened after Koroghlu was performed at the first Decade of Azerbaijani Art and Culture in Moscow in 1938. If we're not mistaken, Bulbul was singing the lead role of Koroghlu at that time. Konstantin Ivanovich Senchikhin, one of Azerbaijan's distinguished architects, used to tell this story. Stalin, himself was present at that concert and after the performance, he commented: "Such talented artists should live in very good apartments in Baku." So the Soviet government immediately allocated 3 million rubles for the construction of a residence for musicians here.

This commission was assigned to Senchikhin who used to talk about how difficult it was to design an apartment complex within the budget requirements of 3 million rubles. No more, no less! It was a very strict order! Senchikhin managed to do it successfully and the result was the apartment building located on Samad Vurghun and Bakikhanov Streets. People used to refer to it as the Artists' House (Dom Artistov in Russian) though, perhaps, few Azerbaijanis know the real story behind it.

Presently, musicians live there such as
Haji Khanmammadov (born 1918) himself strongly influenced by Hajibeyov and a student of Gara Garayev. Khanmammadov went on to compose five concertos (tar, kamancha and harp). It was the first time that anyone had ever composed a concerto for the traditional stringed instrument tar [listen to sound samples, search Khanmammadov at].

Senchikhin studied together with other great architects such as Sadikh Dadashev and
Mikayil Useynov (1905-1992) [see "The Soviet Period of Architecture in Azerbaijan: The Twists and Turns of the Career of Mikayil Useynov" by the late Ilham Aliyev, President of the Architects Union, AI 6.4, Winter 1998]. He is remembered for a number of beautiful buildings in Baku; for example, the Monolit [the apartment building across from the Nizami statue near Fountains Square], the Medical Institute, Technical Library, Air Force Headquarters, "Dom Spetsialistov", Dinamo Sport Complex, the interior design of Dzerzhinski's Club, the landscape on the Chkalov Climb (across from the Philharmonic Hall), the apartment building across from the Artists' House, as well as various Metro stations.

Please continue publishing articles about the history of music, art, architecture and science in your magazine. There are some amazingly gifted, talented and hard-working people in Azerbaijan.

Dr. Tofik K. Khanmamedov and wife Dr. Alla K. Khanmamedova
daughter of Architect K. I. Senchikhin
Sugar Land, Texas

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