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The author of the first children’s ballet in Azerbaijan, a native of Shusha: Ashraf Abbasov

Qarabag.com has prepared a material about the Azerbaijani composer, musician, founder of the ballet genre for children in Azerbaijan and the first candidate of art history in the field of musicology in Azerbaijan Ashraf Abbasov.

Composer, musicologist, pedagogue Ashraf Jalal oglu Abbasov was born on March 23, 1920 in the city of Shusha in the family of a tailor.
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 4]
[“Bakinskiy Rabochiy” newspaper №29 (22308) 11.02.1992., p. 3]
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 451]

Ashraf received his primary education at the music school (tar class) in Shusha. In 1936, on the Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s invitation, Ashraf Abbasov came to Baku and with his help entered the Azerbaijan State Music College (now Baku Music College at the Azerbaijan National Conservatory).
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 5-6]
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 451]

In 1938, Ashraf Abbasov participated in the first decade of Azerbaijani Literature and Art in Moscow (now Russia). He played the tar in the orchestra accompanying the production of Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s musical comedy “Arshin mal Alan”. In 1939, Ashraf Abbasov entered the composition class of the Azerbaijan State Conservatory (now the Baku Music Academy named after U.Hajibeyov).
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 6]
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 453-454]
[Encyclopedia of Uzeyir Hajibeyov. 2003, p. 17]

In December 1939, Ashraf Abbasov was drafted into the ranks of the Soviet army and served in Belarus. There, he led the choir at the club of the military unit. However, in the book “History of Azerbaijani Music” of 2018 it is indicated that he was an ordinary musician of the military brass band of the 345th infantry regiment. With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), Ashraf Abbasov volunteered for the front and participated in the battles near the town of Yelnya, not far from the village of Novopasskoye (Smolensk region, Russia). In those days he was seriously wounded in the arm and was subsequently demobilized from the army.
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 6-7]
[History of Azerbaijani music. Volume three. 2018 p. 454-455]

While improving his health after returning from the front, Ashraf Abbasov was engaged at the same time in teaching at the Shusha Music School, and in 1942 was appointed its director.
[Music Encyclopedia. Volume 1, 1973, p. 16]
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 7]
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 455]

In 1945, Ashraf Abbasov created his first symphonic poem “Shusha”. He is also the author of the following works: poems “The day will come” (1952), “Dramatic poem”; (1953\1962) “Concertino” for symphony orchestra (1942-1951). Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich commented on the latest work: “Concertino by Ashraf Abbasov for orchestra with solo instruments is a fresh, bright, talented work. The author, obviously out of modesty, did not call it a concert. Excellent orchestration, richness of content, economical use of colors ensures that this work is firmly anchored in our repertoire.”
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 17;22-23]
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 458;460]
[Music Encyclopedia. Volume 1, 1973, p. 17]

Ashraf Abbasov’s “Dance suite” (1944) is one of the first examples of symphonic works that laid the foundation for symphonic music in Azerbaijan.
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 14]

In 1943-1948 Ashraf Abbasov worked as a teacher and in 1947-1948 as the director of the Baku Music School.
[“Bakinskiy Rabochiy” newspaper №29 (22308) 11.02.1992., p. 3]
[Music Encyclopedia. Volume 1, 1973, p. 16-17]

In 1948, Ashraf Abbasov graduated with honors from the Azerbaijan State Conservatory, and in 1952 graduated from the postgraduate course named after P.I. Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory.
[“Bakinskiy Rabochiy” newspaper №29 (22308) 11.02.1992., p. 3]
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 458]
[Theater Encyclopedia. Volume I. 1961, p. 18]

From 1952 until his death (1990), Ashraf Abbasov worked in various positions at the Azerbaijan State Conservatory – as a teacher (1952), associate professor (1954), rector (1953-1957), head of department (1957-1972) and professor (1968/1969) of the Composition Department.
[“Bakinskiy Rabochiy” newspaper №29 (22308) 11.02.1992., p. 3]
[Music Encyclopedia. Volume 1, 1973, p. 17]
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 12]

In 1951, Ashraf Abbasov dedicated a poem to the memory of his teacher Uzeyir Hajibeyov, and in 1952 Ashraf Abbasov was awarded the title of Candidate of Art Criticism for his research work – “Opera “Koroglu” by Uzeyir Hajibeyov”. Consequently, Ashraf Abbasov became the first candidate of art criticism in the field of musicology in Azerbaijan.
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 457;461]
[Music Encyclopedia. Volume 1, 1973, p. 16-17]
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 12]

In 1965, Ashraf Abbasov wrote the first Azerbaijani children’s ballet “Gypsy girl” (1965), based on the novel of the same name by Azerbaijani writer Suleyman Sani Akhundov.
[“Bakinskiy Rabochiy” newspaper №29 (22308) 11.02.1992., p. 3]
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 480]
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 13;25]

Ashraf Abbasov is the author of the musical comedies “You can’t be mine” (1963), “In the Arms of the mountains” (1970) and “My yard is my life” (1977). He composed romances based on the works of prominent Azerbaijani poets: “I am fascinated by you” (Molla Panah Vagif), “I love you” (Mikayil Mushfig) and “Oh, Fuzuli” (Muhammad Fuzuli), etc.
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 48-49-50]
[“Bakinskiy Rabochiy” newspaper №29 (22308) 11.02.1992., p. 3]

In 1963, Ashraf Abbasov was awarded the title of Honored Artist, and in 1990 was awarded the title of People’s Artist of the Azerbaijan SSR. He was awarded the Order of the “Badge of Honor”, the Patriotic War II degree (1985) and Honorary Diplomas of the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan SSR.
[“Bakinskiy Rabochiy” newspaper №29 (22308) 11.02.1992., p. 3]
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 462]
[E.Mirzoyeva. Ashraf Abbasov. 1982, p. 14]

Ashraf Jalal oghlu Abbasov died on February 8, 1992.
[“Bakinskiy Rabochiy” newspaper №29 (22308) 11.02.1992., p. 3]
[History of Azerbaijani music. III issue. 2018 p. 461]