Rahilia Hasanova


Rahilia Hasanova was educated as a classically trained composer, music theorist/musicologist, pianist, and organist at the Baku Music College (B.A.’72) and the Baku Conservatory (M.A.’77). Her Ph.D. dissertation (2006) titled “Music Theory as a Representation of Sound Spectra”. She was born in Baku. Being a follower of Shostakovich composition school, she represents a new generation of a contemporary experimental stream in classical music of Azerbaijan. Since 2009 she lives in the USA and continues her composer and performer activity in Baltimore.  

Rahilia Hasanova has a unique composition style that is a combination of elements of Azerbaijani traditional mugam and ashug music and new contemporary composition techniques such as ethno-minimalism, aleatory and multi-polyphonic music. Her Sufism-inspired compositions “Se’maa” and “Pirebedil” were commissioned by Amsterdam’s “Neuw Ensemble” and were performed at the Millennium Festival of religious music (2000). She is the author of the first Azerbaijani choir opera (“Javidi-destgah”) and pantomime-ballet (“Kosa-Kosa”).

Rahilia Hasanova’s compositions cover a wide range of music genres and instrumentation, from chamber music to symphonic compositions. Her music was performed all around the world at many international festivals, symposia, and concerts of contemporary music, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and so on.  She had portrait concerts in Baku, Azerbaijan (1993, 2004, 2006), Poland (1997), England (2001), Germany (2004), and Baltimore, the USA (2012, 2013). She received multiple national music awards. Her published music compositions include:


  • “Eos-Helios” for chamber orchestra, 2013
  • “Yurt” for full symphony orchestra, 2013
  • “Zilli” for woodwind quintet, 2013
  • “Khazri-Gilavar” for clarinet quartet and percussions, 2012
  • “Rainforest” for duo harp and saxophone, 2012
  • “Zoom in-Zoom out” for solo saxophone, 2012
  • “Eastern bazaar” for duo violin and guitar, 2012
  • “The Pulse” – trio for violin, clarinet and piano, 2012
  • “Gaval Dash” for cello and piano, 2012
  • “Rondo for Two” for duo violins, 2012
  • “The dance of Fire” for violin solo, 2012
  • “Fugues and Postludes” for piano, 2011
  • “Goorama” for solo piano, Vol. I, II, and III, (2009-2011)
  • “The Mystical Moon” for full symphony orchestra, 2010
  • “I Hear” for choir and chamber orchestra, 2010
  • “Three Songs” for choir a cappella, 2010
  • “Vernee” for chamber orchestra, 2009
  • “The Rhythmical Streams” for flute and piano, 2009
  • “Al Shadda” for chamber orchestra, 2009
  • “The Solitary Voice” for full symphony orchestra, 1979 (new edition 2008)
  • “Aeyin” for 4 percussionists and conductor, 2008
  • Concert #2 for piano and chamber orchestra, 2008
  • Concert #1 for piano and percussions group, 2007
  • “Samandary” for chamber orchestra, 2007
  • “Sajda” for Soprano, Tenor, and camber orchestra, 2006   
  • “Tetraksis” for chamber orchestra, 2005
  • “Nyuva” – trio for violin, cello, and piano, 2003
  • “Zarra” – trio for flute, clarinet, and piano, 2003
  • “Ulduzlarin laylasy” (Lullaby of the Stars) for chamber orchestra, 2003
  • “Mooghfil” for eight cellos and four c-basses, 2001
  • “Javidy-Destgah”, Opera for choir, solos, narrator, actors, and percussion ensemble, 2001
  • “Sahara”, a Fantasy for organ, 1999
  • “Jasmin lecheklery” (Jasmine’s Petals), cycle of seven microcosm preludes for piano, 1998
  • “Deniz” (the Sea), a Fantasy for 2 pianos and 2 saxophones (ad libitum), 1997
  • “Consensus” - sonata for flute solo, 1997
  • “Alla Meykhana”, a Fantasy for piano, 1996
  • “Pirebedil” for nine instruments, 1996
  • “Loom” - sonata for guitar solo, 1995
  • String Quartets #3 “Tetraksis” (1995), #2 (1982), and #1 (1974)
  • “Se’maa” for twelve instruments, 1994
  • “Agog” - sonata for clarinet solo, 1994
  • “Monad” - sonata for piano, 1993
  • “Marseaya” for string quartet, voice quartet, wind quartet, and piano, 1993
  • “Dervish” for Tenor, Bass, and string quartet, 1992
  • “Gasida”, a Symphony for organ, 1991
  • “Light Plays Shadows” - sonata for C-bass solo, 1990
  • Sonata for violoncello solo #2 (1988) and #1 (1986)
  • “Urfany”, a sextet for flute, piano, and string quartet, 1988 (new edition 2007)
  • Sonata for violin solo, 1988
  • “Three Ghazals”, a vocal cycle for Soprano and piano, 1986
  • “Three Miniatures” for children choir a cappella, 1986
  • “Cheshma”, a cycle of twelve preludes for piano, 1984
  • Symphony #3 for 2 string quintets, two horns, piano, and percussions, 1983
  • Sonata for violin and piano, 1981
  • Symphony #2 for full orchestra, 1977
  • Symphony #1 for full orchestra, 1976 
  • Sonata for flute and piano, 1973

Rahilia Hasanova is an experienced professor (Docent, 2006) with more than thirty years of teaching classical and new experimental composition, music theory, and worldwide history of music at the Baku Music Academy (formerly Baku Conservatory). She received first-place awards for her research in music theory with over fifty scientific papers published in that field. She is an author of four published books as well as the first solfeggio and ear training textbook in post-soviet Azerbaijan entirely comprised of music samples of her own composition. She is also known as a public and Azerbaijani TV lecturer on the theory and history of modern music as well as Eastern, traditional music, such as “Mugam” and “Ashug music”.
Rahilia Hasanova published books:

  • Hasanova, Rahilia, Baku, “Araz”: 2009. “The World of Overtones”
  • Askarova, Samira, Baku, “Araz”: 2009. “The Sources of Creativity of Rahilia Hasanova”
  • Hasanova, Rahilia, Baku, “Elm”: 2006. “The Space of Sounds”
  • Hasanova, Rahilia, Baku, “Elm”: 2006. “The New Model of Catharsis”
  • Hasanova, Rahilia, Baku,”XXI-YNE”: 2002. “Solfeggio. A Comprehensive Course on Ear Training, Rhythm, and Dictation” and various articles in professional magazines. 

She also published music CDs:

  • 2007, “Tetraksis”, Baku, Azerbaijan
  • 2006, “Kara Karaev’s Circle”, USA
  • 2005, “Dervish”, Cologne, Germany
  • 1996, “Music in Verse”, UK
  • 1994, “Fusions”, Baku, Azerbaijan

Remarkable premiers and performances of compositions of Rahilia Hasanova were featured in articles and journals. Her music was applauded at the Kara Karaev’s Festival of Contemporary Music, Baku, Azerbaijan (2011), International Festival of Contemporary Music, Baku, Azerbaijan (2008), Culture of Azerbaijan in Germany, Berlin, Germany (2008), Geneva, Switzerland – “Days of Azerbaijani in Switzerland”(2008), Concert series of Contemporary Music, Baku, Azerbaijan (2007), Contemporary Music of Azerbaijan, Vienna, Austria (2007), Concert of Azerbaijan’s Composers, Moscow, Russia (2003 and 2006), Various Compositions, “Donna in Musica” Festival, Rome, Italy (1999), Various Compositions, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1996), Various Compositions, Texas, USA (1994), Various, Compositions, Amsterdam / Hague /Utrecht, The Netherlands (1994), New Music of Azerbaijan, Baku, Azerbaijan (1994), Music of the 20th Century, Baku, Azerbaijan (1992), “Go Toward Zenith”, International Festival of Contemporary Music, Baku, Azerbaijan (1989), Meetings of Composers, Petersburg, Russia, Kiev, Ukraine and Minsk, Belarus (1974 and 1975),  International Conference and the Festival of Young Composers, Rostov, Russia (1972), and many others.

Rahilia Hasanova had significant presentations at conferences and other events. She comprehends musical topics through multi-disciplinary points of view: “Beginning of Mugam: Historical Analyses” (National Academy of Science of Azerbaijan, 2007), “Acoustics and Music Theory” (Baku Music academy, 2005), “Music Theory as an Object of Multi-disciplinary approach” (National Academy of Science, Baku, 2004), “Solfeggio as a Practical Part of Music Theory” (Baku Music Academy, 2002), and so on. She was also honored by 1st Degree Diploma (1st Place) for research and composition projects at the “Best Science and Research Competition of the Azerbaijan Republic” in 1976 and 1974. She staged several Theater projects in 2001, 1985, and 1975-1977.

Rahilia Hasanova is the member of the Baltimore Composers Forum (2012), the American Composers Forum (2009), “Donne in Musica” (Italy, 1998), and the Composers Union of Azerbaijan (1978).