Azerbaijani pianist Chingiz Sadykhov collaborated with Afghani, Iranian, Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Persian, Chinese, Cretan, and Assyrian master artists and Door Dog Music Productions to create Nowruz: An Evening of Rebirth, a program combining traditional and newly composed music with poetry, dance, and film. It served as the centerpiece for the 2005 World Music Festival, produced by Door Dog Music Productions.
Mr. Sadykhov performed vocals and on piano. The collaboration also featured filmmaker Nizamettin Aric, poet Mustafa Kart, dancer Koma Gowend, and musicians Imamyar Hasanov (Azerbaijani kamancheh), Rufat Hasanov (Azerbaijani tar), Aziz Herawi (Afghani rabab), Pejman Hadadi (Persian percussion), Hossein Omoumi (Persian ney and vocals), Ashkan Ghafouri (Persian tar), Ozden Oztoprak (Kurdish tembur and vocals), Kemal Polat (Kurdish tembur), Wang Wei (Chinese percussion), Ross Daly (Cretan lyra and rebab, and composer), and Kelly Thoma (Cretan lyra).
The binding thread was observance of the vernal equinox or Nowruz, whose pre-Islamic origins are embraced in different ways throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, where many cultures have developed distinctive traditions for celebrating the holiday.
Michael Santoro and Kutay Derin Kugay of Door Dog Music Productions brought the artists together in summer 2005 for extended residences, where they explored common connections among their ethnic communities. The exchange of musical ideas intensified in the final two months and was shaped into a suite of seven movements.
At age 75, lead artist Chingiz Sadykhov is a living legend among Azerbaijani pianists. He has accompanied some of the greatest singers of Azerbaijan and the Soviet Union. Since moving to the United States in 1994, he has performed the Azeri music of his homeland in more than 20 North American cities.