The Hajibeyli International Composition Competition Jury
Franghiz AliZadeh Jury Chair
Azerbaijani composer and pianist Franghiz AliZadeh has produced a prolific body of classical concert music that draws inspiration from Azerbaijan’s venerable musical and literary traditions. A graduate of Baku Conservatory, Ms. AliZadeh has long served as a bridge between Baku’s musical establishment and leading composers, performers, and musical institutions in Europe and North America. In the 1970s, she gave the Baku premieres of works all but unknown to local audiences by John Cage, George Crumb, Olivier Messiaen, and members of the Second Viennese School (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern). Also in the 1970s, her own music began to appear on concert programmes in Europe and North America through collaborations with, and later, commissions from, a constellation of distinguished performers and presenting institutions.
These have included the Berlin Philharmonic, Concertgebouw, violinist Hilary Hahn, Houston Grand Opera, Kronos Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, and Lucerne Festival, for which she wrote Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, premiered in Lisbon in 2002 by Ivan Monighetti conducted by Muhai Tang. Franghiz AliZadeh’s compositions continue to be performed regularly in Azerbaijan. For the 2004 re-opening of the Azerbiajan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, her commissioned orchestral work “Homage” was conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich. Her opera “Intizar” (Awaiting) has been part of the theatre’s permanent repertoire since 2007. Currently, Franghiz AliZadeh is working on several commissioned projects, including a piece for the Los Angeles-based iPalpiti Festival, where she will also give master classes as a composer-in-residence.
Franghiz AliZadeh has served as chairman of the Composers’ Union of Azerbaijan since 2007, and currently serves as artistic director of the Silk Road International Music Festival in Sheki, Azerbaijan.
Reiko Füting was born in 1970 in Königs Wusterhausen of the German Democratic Republic. He studied composition and piano at the Hochschule für Musik “Carl Maria von Webern” in Dresden, at Rice University in Houston, at Manhattan School of Music in New York, and at Seoul National University. Some of his most influential teachers have been the composers Jörg Herchet and Nils Vigeland, and the pianist Winfried Apel.
Reiko joined the theory faculty at the Manhattan School of Music in 2000. Five years later, he became a member of the composition faculty and was appointed chair of the theory department. In 2020, he was also appointed chair of the composition department. He has taught vocal accompanying at the Conservatory of Music and Theater in Rostock, Germany, and appeared as guest faculty and lecturer at universities and conservatories in China, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
As a composer, Reiko has received numerous prizes, awards, scholarships, grants, and commissions. His music has been performed in several countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. It is published by Edition Gravis in Berlin, Germany; most of his recordings have been released on the New Focus label in New York. He has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, ensembles, and orchestras, with a particular interest in vocal ensembles and ensembles performing on period instruments. He is currently working on an opera on the life of the mystic nun Mechthild von Magdeburg, which will be premiered at the reopening of the concert hall in Magdeburg, Germany in 2022.
Described as “stark” by WNPR and “darkly lyrical” by the New York Times, a winner of the Second Annual Hildegard competition and a 2019 recipient of OPERA America’s Discovery Grant, Niloufar Nourbakhsh’s music has been commissioned and performed by Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Library of Congress, I-Park Foundation, National Sawdust Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Center for Contemporary Opera, Women Composers Festival of Hartford, Forward Music Project, PUBLIQuartet, Ensemble Connect, Akropolis Reed Quintet, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and Calidore Quartet at numerous festivals and venues including Carnegie Hall, and Washington Kennedy Center, Mostly Mozart Festival, Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music, and many more.
A founding member and co-director of Iranian Female Composers Association, Niloufar is a strong advocate for music education and equal opportunities. In 2014, she worked as the site coordinator of Brooklyn Middle School Jazz Academy sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center. She is currently a Teaching Artist at Brooklyn Music School, faculty at Molloy College and co-director of Peabody Conservatory Laptop Orchestra.
Niloufar is a music graduate and a Global Citizen Scholarship recipient of Goucher College as well as a Mahoney and Caplan Scholar from University of Oxford. Among her teachers are Lisa Weiss, Laura Kaminsky, Matthew Barnson, Margaret Schedel, Daniel Weymouth, and Daria Semegen. She holds a doctoral degree from Stony Brook University.