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South Caucasus
Elmir Mirzoev


Varditer Mkrtchyan
Interview made by
Varditer Mkrtchyan
Student of RAU
of Elmir Mirzoev
It is your first visit to Armenia. What opinion did you have about it before and after your visit here?

I cannot say that upon my visit my impressions about it radically changed. I was supposed to see the same Caucasian country as ours. In Baku there was traditionally one big Armenian community. I am well-acquainted with the Armenian culture and Armenian subculture. The only thing that did not only strike me, but also pleasantly surprised me is that there is a rather considerable layer of Russian speaking people living in Armenia. This fact simplifies my contact. I liked Yerevan ever so much. It is a compact-size city. I mostly like that it is comfortable and cozy to live in Yerevan and there are no huge “traffics”.

How would you characterize the modern culture, particularly the modern culture of post-Soviet area?

To begin with, the culture in general assumes a secondary role in life. Today, the dominating factor is the “American culture” and “modern culture”. At this stage we can boldly put the sign of equation between them since they are frequently interchanged and used to denote the same idea. It is due to it that this culture is so sufficient and it is capable of dominating. As for the cultural aspect of our post-Soviet society, after the collapse of the tremendous assistance and plan of the Empire it keeps a huge distance from the outer world and it is even in a certain opposition to the outer world. Almost completely introvert and looped culture processes in our society created an atmosphere called “to be boiled in one’s own juice”.

What about music? What role does it play in the cultural process?

Music falls into a few spheres. I represent academic music. Today, there exist a vast number of layers of entertaining music. Pop music belongs to the entertaining type of music. Pop music today occupies a big space, while academic music is in a kind of “gap or hole”, in some corners. I think that this is best explained above all by a political cliche: the world language is English, the availability of the Internet; all these activate the process and are being developed very swiftly. To “struggle” against the cosmopolitan and superficial pop music uniting millions of consumers, when once the Chinese struggled against sparrows, is quite a meaningless and senseless occupation.

Do we need this struggle? It might be simply a temporary, transitional stage and not a globalization? Today, pop loving public listens to pop music, tomorrow…

No, not at all. I don’t think so. Today, very striking and big events are happening which are beyond one’s comprehension. One cannot find anything of that sort even in books of fantastic-story writers. A new era, a new period is on the horizon. We are living in exclusive times. It is my personal, subjective point of view. It is your right as to divide or not to divide it.

Talking of the modern art. At the stage of establishment, there is such a genre In Armenia, if one could say so, called installation. Arts critics say that the development of this genre is impossible within the Armenian reality, not to mention the establishment. It is required to create specialized institutes so as to introduce the mass consciousness to this genre. How is this matter going on in Azerbaijan? Is the so-called installation perceived as a modern genre of art?

The events happening in your country are considered to be normal, a normal conservative thinking of any resident. There is nothing to fear about. In addition, the installation of the western origin (the word “installation” translated from French means “theater-exhibition” – the author’s comments), our life is a theatre, moreover, it is more bright and colourful than in art salons. In Azerbaijan there is a small group of artists who are engaged in the installation, they work exceptionally in this sphere. It is a kind of “sectarian” art. In any case it is not capable of embracing a large number of spectators. Any resident is not capable of getting pleasure from such kind of art.

In his time a composer was regarded to be an outstanding figure. Let us not go far into the past, let’s take for example, Prokofiev, Stravinskiy, Shostakovich… Does any subject like composer exist at the modern stage?

Any person of art is dynamic not only in tremendous “imperial” projects. Should there be any project like this, there will be a composer as well, but if there is not such a project then no composer will be. Let us take Shostakovich, for instance, he is a talent of a grand scale. But for what reason did he come into this world? Why did he become well-known? The reason is that there was a Soviet ideological machine which at its full power worked in this case for this composer. It is hard and at the same time impossible to create such great names in our small countries like Azerbaijan and Armenia, which are not distinguished in their rich cultural life.

Modern composers very often claim that the 20th century used up many themes: good and evil, war and peace and that year by year it is becoming more and more difficult to write music, create something new, important and long-expected one. Unformulated time has set in? Is that so?

Why? Today it is just the time for such wild, frenzied post-modernism… Today, there is no aesthetic postulate that is all the aesthetic currents are possible. And if everything is possible, then what is it like? It is simply a sarcastic laughter. The ethic aspect of art has been exhausted. It’s the pure aesthetics which remained. There is no ethics, the ethical resource was used up to the full. And today, artists are free to treat aesthetics the way they like.

When an order is placed, which dominates in art: total democracy existing nowadays or “feudal relations”? Which of these two ways is more effective for the development, promotion and prosperity of art?

It is a complicated question… My personal opinion is that it might be the choice of every artist. Personally I do whatever I like to. I have never written based on semi-official themes, I have never partaken in governmental projects. No “feudal relations” can be possible. An artist goes his own way, the same with other people. In any case, it is up to an artist to make a choice. He is free to choose what and how to do.

How is the process of music creation of a composer Elmir Mirzoev going on? How does the music come to life? Does it erupt like a volcano or make its way gradually, unhurriedly from the “depths” of soul?

This work is really very hard. As for inspiration, it ought to be present inside of yourself in the “box”! Whenever necessary at your will you can open it, take a handful of something out of it, and then again close it. Should it start to erupt, then I beg your pardon, you are not an expert, you are not a professional.

The project came to its end. What did you make clear for yourself? What did you benefit by it personally?

Frankly speaking, I was very delighted to communicate with the young people. I saw the young people who are simply higher than any other “slat”. They will have to live in this society and if everything remains the way it is now, then it will be just wonderful. The young resource is very good, rich, young people are very educated, intellectual. They are able of thinking and very well-disposed. Support one another, evaluate one another. It would be just great if you could associate with your peers from Azerbaijan. But it is the next stage of our project. We do hope that this project will come to life. Personally I do not draw any distinction between the national and ethnic affiliation. Personally I enjoyed working with the young people. It was really interesting.

Varditer Mkrtchyan