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  • Kronos Quartett & Alim Qasimov Ensemble.
    AKDN / Sebastian Schutyser
Aga Khan Foundation partners with ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival for 2015 edition

Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI) announces partnership; Alim Qasimov Ensemble, presented in collaboration with AKMI, to perform on opening night of the Festival at Clarks Amer

Jaipur, India, 21 January 2015 - As part of programmes to promote reading, education, development and pluralism in India, the Aga Khan Foundation will support several sessions at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival this week including a musical performance on opening night by the Alim Qasimov Ensemble, presented in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Initiative. 

The Ensemble’s music performances, scheduled to take place on the opening night of the Festival at the Clarks Amer Music Stage, will feature selections drawn from the repertoire of mugham, the transnational tradition of urban classical or court music that flourished in the great cultural centres of North Africa, the Middle East, West Asia, and Central Asia beginning more than a millennium ago. This performance will mark the launch of a long-term collaboration between the Festival and AKMI, which will bring artists from the Initiative’s programmes across the world to Jaipur each year.

 As part of the world’s largest free literary festival, which runs from today until January 25 at Diggi Palace, the Aga Khan Foundation will support sessions including:

  • “The Buddhas of Bamiyan” with Llwelyn Morgan, Barry Flood and chaired by Festival co-director, William Dalrymple, on Thursday 22 January. The two authors will discuss the history of these remarkable sculptures which were carved in the 6th century AD and destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban.
  • “Ignited Minds”, with His Excellency Former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam leading a discussion on how to unleash India’s potential to address its development challenges, on Saturday, 24 January.
  •  “Jump into The Ramayana – Engaging Children in Indian Painting”, with Indian children’s authors, Saker Mistri and Mamta Mangaldas, on Sunday, 25 January.

Fairouz R. Nishanova, Director of the Aga khan Music Initative, said, “This is a remarkable partnerhsip opportunity and an outstandng platform for AKMI artists. We are looking forward to working with the Festival and offering ZEE JLF audiences a panoramic perspective on the richness and diversity of the artistic traditions from the countries and regions where AKMI has the privilege to work.”

Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, producer of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “We are delighted to welcome the Aga Khan Foundation and the Aga Khan Music Initiative as festival partners. In 2015 they will bring music and literature to the Festival, two vital components of our DNA. We look forward to furthering our partnership with the AKF and AKMI for the future festivals.”

The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, which is being held from 21-25 January, brings together authors and thinkers from across South Asia and the world. Five days of readings, debates and discussions are held at the Diggi Palace in the Rajasthani capital. 

For more information about mugham and the Alim Qasimov Ensemble, please see the Ensemble's page and the AKMI channel on Vimeo:

For press information about the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, please contact Edelman India: Priya Dhawan 
+91 9958011131

Bhawana Narula

For press information about the Aga Khan Foundation and the Aga Khan Music Initiative, please contact:

In India
Lukhi Linnebank

Sam Pickens

About the Aga Khan Foundation and the Aga Khan Music Initiative

In India, AKDN programmes address a broad spectrum of development issues ranging from cultural revitalisation to education quality, health care to the development of rural areas. These initiatives include 82 schools and educational centres, a 137-bed multi-specialty acute care hospital in Mumbai, development programmes benefitting two million people annually in four Indian states, and the restoration of a World Heritage site in the nation's capital.

The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) focuses on a small number of specific development problems by forming intellectual and financial partnerships with organisations sharing its objectives. With a small staff, a host of cooperating agencies and thousands of volunteers, the Foundation reaches out to vulnerable populations on four continents, irrespective of their race, religion, political persuasion or gender. In India, it focuses on the empowerment and transformation of marginalised communities in Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telengana (Hyderabad) and Uttar Pradesh.

The Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI) 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. The Music Initiative began its work in Central Asia and subsequently expanded its cultural development activities to include artistic communities and audiences in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and West Africa. The Initiative designs and implements a country-specific set of activities for each country into which it invests, and works to promote revitalisation 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.

AKMI’s aim is to support traditional and tradition-inspired contemporary music and ensure that the transmission of musical traditions is integrally connected to the broader cultural revitalisation and educational mission of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and through the Trust, to the social and economic development mission of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

About The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival

The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is the world’s largest free literary festival, celebrating national and international writers  It encompasses a range of interests including film, music and theatre. The festival has already hosted some of the best-known national and international writers including Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, John Berendt, Kiran Desai, Christopher Hampton, Ian McEwan, Vikram Seth, Wole Soyinka, Salman Rushdie, Pico Iyer, Simon Schama, Thomas Keneally, Hanif Kureishi, Vikram Chandra, Anoushka Shankar, Michael Frayn, Stephen Frears, Alexander McCall Smith, Donna Tartt, Tina Brown, Shashi Tharoor, Mohammed Hanif, Paul Zacharia, among many others. The Directors of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival are William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale and the festival is produced by Sanjoy K. Roy and Sheuli Sethi of Teamwork Arts. The Festival’s Title Sponsor is ZEE Entertainment.