Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 12-13 October 2012 – The state of architecture in a number of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was the main focus of an Aga Khan Award for Architecture seminar held at the new Dushanbe landmark, the Ismaili Centre Dushanbe, in cooperation with the Union of Architects of Tajikistan.
Architects, officials and academics from Tartarstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, the Baltic States and Tajikistan joined Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, in a public seminar on emerging issues of architecture in their respective countries. The seminar was attended by Tajik architects, architectural students and others interested in architecture and urban planning.
Among the speakers were Bahrom Yusupov, President of Union of Architects of Tajikistan; Akmurza Rustambekov, who spoke on the architecture of Kazakhstan; Akilbek Kojaliev, who spoke on the architecture of Kyrgyzstan; Barda Aivia, who spoke on the state of architecture in the Baltic countries; Farida Zabirova, on the architecture of Tartarstan; and Akram Akbarov on the architecture of Tajikistan.
Mr. Derakhshani also discussed the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture cycle, which is accepting nominations until 30 October 2012. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is one of the world’s pre-eminent architectural prizes. Projects eligible for nomination in the cycle are required to have been completed between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2011 and been in use for at least one full year.
Established in 1977 by His Highness the Aga Khan, the Award seeks to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence. The Award’s selection process emphasises architecture that not only provides for people's physical, social and economic needs, but also stimulates and responds to their cultural and spiritual aspirations.
An exhibition on the 11th Cycle of the Awards is on display at the Ismaili Center Dushanbe.
Following the seminar, the Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI) produced a concert at the Ismaili Centre Dushanbe as part of the AKMI concert series at Ismaili Centres worldwide. Featuring three ensembles with 22 artists from Iran, Dushanbe, Khujand and Gorno-Badakhshan, the concert offered a panoramic view of regional musical traditions ranging from the ritualized drumming and dancing of Badakshani dafsoz to classical Tajik shashmaqom and Persian dastgah. The shashmaqom performers, led by Tajik artist Abduvali Abdurashidov, were also recorded by Radio France for a forthcoming CD to be produced, in collaboration with AKMI, on Radio France’s OCORA world music label. Abduvali Abdurashidov, who received the 2012 France Music World Music Prize at the international Babel Med Music forum in Marseille, is featured on the CD. The Radio France CD follows the Grammy-nominated recording of shashmaqom by Abdurashidov’s Academy of Maqom, “Invisible Face of the Beloved,” which appeared as volume two of AKMI’s ten-volume anthology “Music of Central Asia,” co-produced with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
In conjunction with the concert at the Ismaili Centre, AKMI and the Academy of Maqom also organized a lecture-demonstration for the visiting Iranian musicians at Tajikistan’s National Conservatory, and a presentation of emerging artists at the Tajikistan Union of Composers. Related activities include a textbook on the music of Central Asia developed by AKMI and the University of Central Asia (UCA), which is currently being piloted at UCA's Aga Khan Humanities Project in Dushanbe and at the Kazakh National Conservatory in Almaty
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The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is part of the Geneva-based Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), which has a wide range of activities aimed at the preservation and promotion of the material and spiritual heritage of Muslim societies. Its programmes include the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (HCP), which works to revitalise historic cities in the Muslim world, both culturally and socioeconomically. Over the last decade, it has been engaged in the rehabilitation of historic areas in Cairo, Kabul, Herat, Aleppo, Delhi, Zanzibar, Mostar, northern Pakistan, Timbuktu and Mopti. The Trust also supports the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as www.ArchNet.org, a major online resource on Islamic architecture.
The Aga Khan Music Initiative is an interregional music and arts education program with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring, and artistic production activities. The Initiative was launched by His Highness the Aga Khan to support talented musicians and music educators working to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms. Music Initiative began its work in Central Asia, subsequently expanding its cultural development activities to include artistic communities and audiences in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. AKMI designs and implements a country-specific set of activities for each country into which it invests and works to promote revitalization of cultural heritage both as a source of livelihood for musicians and as a means to strengthen pluralism in nations where it is challenged by social, political, and economic constraints.