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ISME is pleased to announce the final in series of four keynote speakers who will frame the 33rd ISME World Conference in Baku in 2018. Keynotes have been selected to represent the strong diversity that will be at the centre of the conference. The keynote speakers also highlight and embody the theme of the conference, Life’s Journey Through Music. This theme reflects the lifelong learning, lifespan development and life-changing nature of music in people’s lives around the world.

The fourth keynote to be announced appropriately comes from Azerbaijan where the 2018 World Conference will be held. Elnara Kerimova is an Azerbaijani and Turkish conductor and choral master, who has played a key role in the development and improvement of choral music in that area, as well as the popularisation of the genre. She is currently marking 35 years in the field.

Kerimova is currently a conductor with the Orfeon Chamber Choir, based in Turkey. Under her direction, the choir has represented Turkey in many international competition, winning first prizes in England and Canada, and four silver medals at the Austrian Choir Games. They have performed in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Pakistan, Israel, Japan and China. They have also recorded two albums with DMC, the second of which was a commemoration of their 10th anniversary in 2005.

Kerimova began her music studies early. By the age of six she was enrolled in a music school in Baku and at 14 moved to the Asaf Zeynalli Music College, one of the leading secondary music schools in Azerbaijan. She then studied at the Uzeyir Hacibeyov State Conservatoire, where her tutors included Alina Listengarten, Marina Riskal, Jovdat Hajiyev (a student of Shostakovich), Leonid Vaynstein, Faradzh Karayev, Arif Melikov, Akshin Alizadeh, Cahangir Cahangirov, Franghiz Ali-Zade and Naile Mehtiyeva. She graduated with qualifications in composition and choral conducting.

Joining the Azerbaijan State Polyphonic Choir, she was elected as principal conductor by her choir mates, at the age of 26. Under her direction, the choir performed numerous concerts in Belarus, Siberia, Estonia, Lithuania and the Ukraine, as well as Moscow.

Kerimova has also performed with world-renowned orchestras including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1991, Kerimova and conductor Hikmet Şimşek performed the Yunus Emre Oratorio of Ahmet Adnan Saygun, the Turkish composer and musicologist, in several Asian countries. 

She made her Turkish debut at the International Ankara Music Festival, and in 1992 Kerimova was invited by the Republic of Turkey to move to Ankara to work with the TRT Ankara Radio Polyphonic Choir. TRT is the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation.

With this choir, she performed more than 300 concerts across Turkey, including at the Aspendos Festival, the music festivals of Ankara, and with the CSO (the Presidential Symphony Orchestra). Kerimova still conducts this choir and their recordings are broadcast on the radio and television channels of the TRT.

Her achievements as a choir conductor are extensive, including founding the BUTA Chamber Choir in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan. The choir has been specifically created to represent Azeri music across different genres and times, in national and international festivals and concerts. With the Turksoy Youth Chamber Choir (founded by another keynote speaker, Professor Dusen Kaseinov) they won a gold medal at the European Choir Games in 2015.

Whilst working as a choir conductor, Kerimova has also held many roles in various educational institutions, including the State Conservatory of Hacettepe University and Bilkent University, and amateur choirs. She has taken the responsibility to develop and improve choral music while also spreading awareness of it throughout the country.

In 2016, Kerimova was awarded the Turkish Culture Service Award by the Kazakhstan Ministry of Culture and Sports. She is also an Azerbaijan State Artist, a title awarded by the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Please join us in welcoming Elnara Kerimova as a keynote speaker at the 33rd ISME World Conference. 

Patrick Schmidt
Chair, Conference Standing Committee

Call for papers is now open.
Call for performers is now open.
Note: until advised otherwise, members will need to set up an account with the conference submissions registration system. Their ISME password and username won't work in this system (yet).

Registrations open on 1 October 2017.