The Gabala International Music Festival in Azerbaijan has celebrated its 13th edition with a special focus on young musicians.
The opening ceremony was held on July 31st and the festival ran until August 2nd, and, as well as musicians from Azerbaijan itself, this year musicians performed from Britain, Turkey, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia and Poland.
"Each concert programme includes a young performer," explained Fuad Ibrahimov, the the artistic director of the Azerbaijan State Symphonic Orchestra.
"The future of each country is its youth, and, of course, participation of young people in such a festival is precious," he added.
Azerbaijan has beeen running a project titled "Support for Youth" which began in 2016 and identifies and supports young talent from all over the country.
"The festival serves educational purposes as well. Lectures are delivered before each concert. You can hear children's voices behind me. Let them get used to good music!" said festival organiser Farhad Badalbeyli.
He conducted the “Memories of Shusha” to Niyazi’s rhythmic “Rast” symphonic mugam.
A mugam is a traditional genre of Azeri music, with a strong emphasis on improvisation.
Gara Garayev’s “Sonatina” and Sevda Mammadli’s “Lachin Ballad” were other Azerbiaijani highlights.
Garayev was a famous composer when Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union, and the Seven Beauties ballet was one of his most famous pieces.
The programme also featured Sergey Rachmaninov’s “Fugue in D minor” and Emin Sabitoglu’s “Dade Gorgud” movie themes, alongside fragments from Fikrat Amirov’s ballet “One Thousand and One Nights” and Vasif Adigozalov’s music piece “Baku”.
Set in the wild and beautiful Caucasus mountains, the festival started out as a purely classical one but has opened up to other music genres over time.
Arranged by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and supported by the Ministry of Culture, the festival is now an annual celebration of not just classical but folk, jazz and dance music too.
And it's enjoyed by both local people and visitors from many countries, most of them in the Arab world.
This year the festival was also dedicated to national leader Heydar Aliyev.
He was born 100 years ago and was the first president of independent Azerbaijan after the Soviet Union collapsed. He ruled for 10 years before handing over power to his son Ilhan Aliyev.
Ilhan Aliyev remains the current president and will have ruled the country for 20 years this October.