Being a country where the east integrates with the west always made Azerbaijani culture unique. Thus, the culture reflects modernism of the west and traditionalism of the east at the same time. As the crucial part of it, Azerbaijani music was also affected by these influences. Besides amazing folk music, the touch of eastern music has created another admirable classical genre of Azerbaijani music.
The history of classical music in Azerbaijan dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when the first opera has been composed in the country. It was also the first opera of the eastern culture. The founder of the opera was Uzeyir Hajibeyov who is known as the father of Azerbaijani music. The opera is called “Leyli and Majnun” based on the poem of great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi. The show was displayed in 1908 for the first time at Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev Theatre. The actor who played Leyli (the girl) was a man with a female costume, as the women were not allowed to take part in this kind of works at that time.
Nowadays Azerbaijan State Opera and Ballet Theatre is the main venue where the classical works of eminent composers are demonstrated. Moreover, “Leyli and Majnun” is one of the most popular plays, which is displayed here frequently. However, it is possible to find many other works of national and foreign composers here. Besides an amazing musical show, the theatre has an astonishing architecture, which is more than 100 years old.
Muslum Magomayev is another distinguished Azerbaijani composer who had created spectacular works in the classical music field. Thus, Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall was named after him. Today Philharmonic Hall is also organizing various shows, which are based on classical music. One of the interesting fact about Philharmonic Hall is that by sitting in the park near the hall, it is possible to hear beautiful music played at Philharmonic Hall. Unlike the Opera and Ballet Theater, orchestral shows are organized at Philharmonic Hall.