Young pianist Mina Ristić was a guest on Azerbaijani national television AzTV, in the Azərbaycan Deyəndə (When You Say Azerbaijan) show. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

AzTV: Worldwide there is a growing number of music fans who are learning about Azerbaijani classical music, and in their scientific papers musicians are choosing topics related to Azerbaijani composers. One such musician is Mina Ristić, a student of the final year of doctoral studies at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, whose doctoral thesis is titled “Sonatas for Violin and Piano by Azerbaijani Composers in the Second Half of the 20th Century: The Issue of Style and Creating Interpretation”, and which will analyze pieces by Gara Garayev, Azər Rzayev, Aydin Azimov, and Eldar Mansurov.

Mina Ristić: Scientific papers on art should primarily contain the element of innovation, i.e. present something new or something known, but in a different, innovative manner. My doctoral dissertation will be the first scientific paper in the Balkans on the topic of Azerbaijani music, which has very rarely been performed in Serbia, and papers practically don’t exist. Another positive side of this paper is that musicians in the region can learn about new composers and expand their concert repertoire with truly valuable compositions.

Who is your favorite Azerbaijani composer?

In my solo performances I often perform works by Azerbaijani composers and I am an aficionado. One of my favorite composers is Fikret Amirov. I have had the honor of performing his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra after Arabian Themes, conducted by Ayyub Gyliyev, accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of the National Theatre in Belgrade. The audience was thrilled by the performance. That same evening works by other Azerbaijani composers were performed, and to this day musicians from the orchestra talk about how pleased they were to perform these pieces. Another composer whose compositions I like very much is Arif Melikov. In the past year, at nearly every concert I have performed an excerpt from his ballet Poem of Two Hearts.

How similar are Azerbaijani and Serbian music?

Even though the music in both countries has its specificities and characteristics, I can give you one interesting fact: while performing pieces by Serbian and Azerbaijani composers, at certain moments the audience could not distinguish between Serbian and Azerbaijani music, because there are significant similarities in certain rhythmic and melodic motifs.

Do you think that music is a good language that diplomacy can speak?

I believe that music is the best language that diplomacy can ‘speak’.