The Washington Center of ADA University in collaboration with the Azerbaijan-American Music Foundation held a dazzling event, "Willis Conover, Vagif Mustafazade, Frederick Starr: Jazz, Freedom, and Independence" on November 12.
In the framework of the event, a photo exhibition, entitled "Willis Conover and Vagif Mustafazade Jazz Hour" was kicked off at the Center. Following the exhibition's opening, the center hosted a reception and seminar at the historic Whittemore House. The event was attended by deans, faculty and students from the partner universities, as well as public and government officials.
Galib Mammad, President of the Washington Center of ADA University opened the event by highlighting deep roots and historical origins of jazz in Azerbaijan, emphasizing that jazz has been a symbol of tolerant thinking in Azerbaijan, while also serving as a bridge between the two nations.
The event participants got familiar with music and legacy of Vagif Mustafazade. They learned more about collaboration between Willis Conover and Vagif Mustafazade. The host of Jazz Hour at the Voice of America had broadcasted several shows about the legend of Azerbaijani jazz.
Ambassador Hafiz Pashayev, Rector of ADA University spoke about Azerbaijan’s path and accomplishments since independence. On behalf of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Rector Pashayev presented "Dostlug" (Friendship) Order to Frederick Starr, Chairman of Central Asia and Caucasus Institute. Himself a jazz player, Dr. Starr has been a great supporter of Azerbaijan's independence. Dr. Starr was awarded with the Friendship Order by President Ilham Aliyev due to his remarkable services to the development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and the United States. In his speech, Dr. Starr thanked President Ilham Aliyev for the honor bestowed on him, talked about the geostrategic importance of Azerbaijan in the region, its recent victory and accomplishments.
Other speakers at the event included former Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State David Merkel, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States Khazar Ibrahim, music collections librarian at the University of North Texas Maristella Feustle, and Executive Director of Azerbaijan-American Music Foundation Jamila Javadova-Spitzberg.
The event ended with a concert led by a jazz band of Amina Figarova. The guests enjoyed listening to music of Vagif Mustafazade and Western jazz legends.
Willis Conover and Vagif Mustafazade Jazz Hour photo exhibition will be on display at The Washington Center of ADA University through February 28, 2022.