Legendary Azerbaijani mugham singer Alim Qasimov has appeared in a rare recital as part of the 2015 Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival. Sticking to his mastery of improvisation, Qasimov along with his daughter Fargana Qasimova and his ensemble performed at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas. The performance was supported by Pusaka non-profit organization, which works to promote the continuity and viability of traditional performance arts in Malaysia.
The concert which was also supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Malaysia, showcased the profound beauty of the mugham tradition, a complex art that combines poetry, modal music and improvisatory singing in particular modes.
The concert began with the song Sari Gelin, and was widely covered by local media. The day before the event, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Malaysia hosted a reception in honor of Alim Qasimov with the participation of high-ranking officials, journalists and representatives of the Azerbaijani diaspora.
Alim Qasimov was awarded the International Music Council-UNESCO Music Prize, one of the highest international accolades for music in 1999. For that achievement, he was quoted by the New York Times as simply one of the greatest singers alive, with a searing spontaneity that conjures passion and devotion, contemplation and incantation. Also known as an artist of supreme versatility, Qasimov has collaborated and performed with some of the world’s leading musicians, including Yo-Yo Ma, Kronos Quartet and Jeff Buckley.