2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Gochag Askarov Ensemble


Gochag Askarov (b.1978) performs Mugham, a classical genre of Azerbaijani traditional music proclaimed by UNESCO a “masterpiece of oral & intangible cultural heritage of the humankind”. It is a music of great emotional power and sophistication that, despite its archaic musical language and ancient poetic texts, has a universal and contemporary appeal.
Gochaq Askarov is only one of a handful of mugham artists, such as the great master Alim Qasimov, to have established an international career, introducing to audiences around the world this great and unique art form. The western musical press often compares his singing manner with that of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the great Pakistani Qawwali singer. Gochag Askarov`s voice of almost three-octave range is capable of conveying drama, passion, or moving the listener by melancholy, or captivating by bright virtuosity.

Gochag Askarov started singing since his childhood and was possessed by desire to become a professional singer. He studied Mugham and traditional vocals at a primary music school, then at the Baku Music College and, finally at the Azerbaijan National Conservatoire with renowned Mugham singers. Along with that, he used to listen to many of Azerbaijani classical singers of the past. But the vocal art of an outstanding Azerbaijani singer, UNESCO Artist Alim Gasimov has had a particular influence on his singing style and innovative approach to Mugham.

In 2007 the fate granted Gochag Askarov a chance to perform live on the BBC radio 3 and at the stage of Brunei Gallery Theatre in London. That was his worldwide debut and, at the same time, his first solo concert. Since then, he has been featured a few times in the programs of the BBC Radio 3 “World Routes”, as well as on other Western radio programs, and was filmed for the documentaries Mugham in Montana (2009, by Thomas Goltz, USA), Sounds of Azerbaijan (2012, by Vincent Moon, France), Growing into music: Azerbaijan (2013, by Sanubar Baghirova, UK). Since 2007, for seven years of his public music activity, 35-year old Gochag Askarov has given more than 40 solo concerts throughout the world, has performed at many important music events, including WOMAD, WOMEX, and other international world music festivals. He has been the first and, to date, the only Azerbaijani singer to perform at the BBC Promenade Concerts at the famous Royal Albert Hall in London (2013). His voice was recorded on several audio discs released by Western sound recording companies, such as ARC Music Production (UK, 2008), the Nascente Records (UK, 2012), the Felmay Records (Italy, 2011), and others. A few months ago the Italian label Felmay Records released his second disc titled “Gochag Askarov. Sacred World of Azerbaijani Mugham” /fy 8210, CD, 2013/

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