Autumn 2002 (10.3)
Menuhin Music Scholarship for Nigar
Young Azerbaijani violinist Nigar Mirzayeva
has won a two-year scholarship to attend the prestigious Yehudi
Menuhin School in Surrey, England. The 13-year-old completed
the sixth grade at Baku's Bulbul School this past spring and
is enrolled in the Menuhin School for gifted young musicians
Left: Thirteen-year-old violinist Nigar
Mirzayeva recently received a two-year scholarship to study music
at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London.
Nigar [pronounced nee-GAHR] says that her parents, especially
her mother, have been instrumental in developing her musical
career. "I started playing the violin when I was seven,"
she says. "At the time, my older sister Gunel was learning
to play the piano, and my mother wanted me to have a musical
education as well. I really liked the violin, so we decided that
I should try to learn to play that."
In 2000, Nigar had the privilege of taking Master Classes from
world-renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich during his visit
to Baku. She has also taken Master Classes from Dmitry Sitkovetsky,
the son of pianist Bella Davidovich. Nigar has already performed
with the prestigious Azerbaijan State Orchestra on seven occasions
and given four concerts on her own.
"Music is my future," Nigar says. "I can't imagine
my life without it. During the school year, I practice at least
five hours a day. And during the summer, it's even more. Some
people say that they rest for a week after a concert and do nothing,
but my mother would never let me do that. The day after a concert,
I have to go back to practicing.
"Playing the violin requires a lot of strength. You also
need to have a good ear and almost perfect pitch. Not everybody
can practice the violin a lot and study hard. If you don't have
a tremendous love for music, nothing will come out of it."
In her free time, Nigar likes to listen to classical music and
watch ballets and operas on videotape with her family. "My
father buys old Soviet ballet and opera videotapes for us,"
she says. "We enjoy watching the ballerinas, musicians and
laureates of international competitions."
Nigar says she is looking forward to the experience of attending
the Menuhin school. "I think the school is going to be very
exciting. It has 58 very strong students gathered together, all
studying, living and practicing in the same place. Plus, going
to school there will make it much easier for me to participate
in international competitions."
Nigar, obviously, is an extremely talented young violinist, but
it was the joint efforts of several people who appreciated her
talent that made this dream possible. Back in November 2001,
Nigar's performance during the Bulbul School's concert at the
International School of Azerbaijan caught the eye of Linda Lawrence,
the wife of BP's then head of Media and Public Relations in Baku.
Lawrence, who now lives in Hong Kong, arranged to have Nigar
flown to London in April 2002 to audition and take entrance exams
at the Menuhin school. There she performed Mozart's Violin Concerto
No. 3, Veniavsky's "Scherzo-Tarantella" and Paganini's
Capriccio No. 5. By July, the school had offered her a full music
Although the school was waiving her tuition, Nigar still had
other expenses that had to be covered. That's when the Anglo-American
Society (AAS) in London stepped in to pay for her deposit, strings,
music and plane tickets to London. British Airways contributed
a round-trip plane ticket as well.
Margaret Morris, Executive Secretary of the Anglo-American Society
did much of the legwork to coordinate the decision within the
Society to sponsor Nigar and help pay her fees. Also important
to the effort was Susan Crouch, Managing Director of Spearhead
Exhibitions, the organizer of the Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition
in Baku for the past nine years and a Board Member of AAS. Azerbaijan
International's staff in Los Angeles and Baku helped to facilitate
contact and language translation with Nigar's family so that
all deadlines could be met for the fall term.
Listen to Nigar play the violin at AZER.com, click MUSIC,
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AI 10.3 (Autumn 2002)
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