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A world of good sounds at the Gabala International Music Festival

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A world of good sounds at the Gabala International Music Festival

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Kicking off in the middle of these picturesque mountains in northern Azerbaijan, is this year’s Gabala International Music Festival.

Kicking off in the middle of these picturesque mountains in northern Azerbaijan, is this year’s Gabala International Music Festival.

It showcases ensembles and music from around the world – but a special place is always reserved for Azerbaijani composers and ethnic music.

Katy Furmanski, who plays the double bass, explains the appeal of Azerbaijani music:

“I had never played any music whatsoever by an Azerbaijani composer before I started working with Femusa and it’s been absolutely wonderful to learn these works which have a very unique style to them.”

The all-female chamber orchestra Femusa is a UK-based ensemble led by Azerbaijani born violinist Nazrin Rashidova.

Rashidova, Femusa’s artistic director, says: “The idea to start a female chamber orchestra came in the last year of my Masters. When I made some research to find that there hasn’t been one in the UK in Britain since the 1950s.

“Playing in a female orchestra has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, it’s beautiful to watch, and the minus, well, we’re a little temperamental.”

Femusa’s players consist of 11 nationalities and performed a world premiere of a piece called Three Valentines, written especially for them by the British composer Paul Lewis.

Next year, the Gabala Music Festival will celebrate it’s 10th anniversary season.