Lisbon, Portugal: (PR) The Master Jury of the Aga Khan Music Awards has announced laureates and finalists for the Awards’ inaugural cycle. The Music Awards were established by His Highness the Aga Khan to recognise exceptional creativity, promise, and enterprise in music performance, creation, education, preservation and revitalisation in societies across the world in which Muslims have a significant presence. Laureates are to share a USD 500,000 prize fund, and will also collaborate with the Music Awards to expand the impact of their work and develop their careers.
A three-day celebration of the Awards will be hosted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal from 29-31 March. Finalists for the Award in Performance will perform for a live audience, including the Master Jury, following which the laureate in Performance will be announced at an Award ceremony on the evening of 31 March.
In addition to Performance, award domains include music Creation; Education; Preservation, Revitalisation and Dissemination; Social Inclusion, and Distinguished and Enduring Contributions to Music. A special Patron’s Award will also be conferred.
The 9 laureates and 14 finalists come from 13 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and North America and represent diverse forms of professional achievement:
Creation: Azerbaijani composer and pianist Franghiz AliZadeh, who has produced a prolific body of classical concert music that draws inspiration from Azerbaijan’s venerable musical and literary traditions.
Education: The Omnibus Ensemble, based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where they are working to create an artistic rapprochement between local classical maqom traditions and languages of contemporary music.
Social Inclusion: Badiaa Bouhrizi, also known by her stage name Neysatu, a singer-songwriter and composer from Tunisia who has used her musical talent to promote social justice and the values of pluralism and democracy.
Preservation, Revitalisation, Dissemination: Farhod Halimov, a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and composer from Samarkand, Uzbekistan who is preserving the traditional classical song repertoire of Samarkand; and The Gurminj Museum of Musical Instruments, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, which is preserving and revitalising the musical heritage of Central Asian peoples and cultures, and, in particular, the Pamiri Ismaili musical culture of Tajikistan.
Distinguished and Enduring Contributions to Music: Oumou Sangaré, a celebrated Malian singer-songwriter known for her commitment to the training and career development of young people in the music professions; Ballake Sissoko, a Malian kora player and composer who has developed the art of the kora in ways that are creative and innovative while also firmly rooted in tradition; and Dariush Talai, an Iranian tar and setar player, musicologist, composer, and educator, who is being recognised for his exceptional commitment to transmitting the classical performance tradition of the tar through his diverse activities as an artist, educator, and scholar.
A special Patron’s Award is to be conferred on Mohammad Reza Shajarian in recognition of his enduring contribution to the musical heritage of humanity, his peerless musical mastery, and his sustained social impact as a performer and teacher, both within Iran and beyond its borders.
Finalists for the Award in Performance are:
Ahmad Al Khatib, oud (Palestine)
Shahou Andalibi, Persian ney (Iran)
Nai Barghouti, vocal and flute (Palestine)
Huda Asfour, oud and qanun (Palestine)
Sougata Roy Chowdhury, sarod (India)
Burak Kaynarca, oud (Turkey)
Asin Khan Langa, vocal and sarangi (India)
Ejaz Sher Ali Khan, vocal and harmonium (Pakistan)
Arash Mohafez, santur (Iran)
Abeer Nehme, vocal (Lebanon)
Reza Parvizade, kamancheh (Iran)
Mohamad Osman, oud and buzuq (Syria)
Mustafa Said, oud (Egypt)
Nasim Siabishahrivar, vocal (Iran)
Full biographies of laureates and finalists are available in the AKMA Brochure.
The Aga Khan Music Awards Master Jury includes:
Jean During: Ethnomusicologist, Senior Reseach Fellow emeritus, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
David Harrington: Founding member and first violinist, Kronos Quartet
Salima Hashmi: Painter and curator, former principal, National College of Arts, Lahore
Nouri Iskandar: Composer, musicologist, former director, Arab Institute of Music, Aleppo
Akram Khan: Choreographer and artistic director, Akram Khan Company
Full biographies of Master Jury members are available in the AKMA brochure
To ensure impartiality in the Awards nomination and selection process, individuals and projects affiliated with His Highness the Aga Khan, the agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network, or members of the Awards Steering Committee, Secretariat, and Master Jury, were deemed ineligible for consideration.