The Music Initiative supports master-musicians, or ustâds, who have demonstrated a commitment to the survival of their national heritage by taking on teaching positions in music centres, schools and other networks encouraging collegiality, creativity and communication.
The Academy of Maqom, founded in 2003, focuses on the revitalisation and further evolution of local forms of maqom, the classical, or art music tradition that, in various local forms and dialects, has been cultivated in urban cultural centres throughout North Africa, the Middle East, West Asia, and Central Asia. The Academy’s rigorous five-year training programme produced seven young master musicians who have all assumed a leading role in teaching, performing, and composing Tajik music. The Academy has also undertaken the preparation and publication of a critical scholarly edition of Shashmaqom, the repertory of six lengthy vocal-instrumental suites whose origins and development are historically linked to the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand (publication anticipated in 2015). The Academy’s students have been active participants in the Music Initiative’s International Performance and Outreach Programme, and their Grammy-nominated recording of Shashmaqom appears in the 10-volume CD-DVD anthology “Music of Central Asia” co-produced by the Music Initiative and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. The Academy’s activities have also received support from the President and civil leadership of Tajikistan, and the Academy frequently has opportunities to present the art of Shashmaqom both within the country and abroad. Khunar Centre, the Music Initiative’s partner in northern Tajikistan, offers a master-apprentice (ustod-shogird) training programme to children and young adults throughout northern Tajikistan’s Sogd Region and also operates a school for gifted children in Khujand. Students in the training programme study instruments such as dutar, tanbur, tar, ghijak, and doira as well as classical Tajik vocal music. Beginning in academic year 2014-2015, Khunar will gradually shift its focus to developing a new curriculum and teaching methodologies for secondary school music education in collaboration with Tajikistan’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture.