Islam Manafov was born in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, and studied at the Baku Music School during the years 1977-1981. In 1979 he won 1st prize in the “Azerbaijan Young Pianists Competition”, attracting the attention of the musical scene. Following this achievement, at the age of 17, he performed S. Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 under the world famous Maestro Niyazi Tagizade, to great acclaim. In 1981 the famous pianist and pedagogue A. A. Nasedkin, Professor at the Moscow State Conservatory of P. I. Tchaikovsky and “People’s Artist” of the Russian Federation and former USSR, came to Baku for give a concert and after listening to Islam Manafov invited him to continue his education at the Moscow State Conservatory of P. I. Tchaikovsky, in his own class. After this, Manafov went to Moscow and completed his studies under Professors A. A. Nasedkin and M. A. Fiodorova with great success. While studying at the Moscow Conservatory and after his graduation Manafov gave concerts in almost all the important cities of the former USSR and was invited to major festivals. His performance of works by S. Prokofiev, M. Mussorgsky, A. Scriabin and S. Rachmaninoff in particular were received by critics and famous musicians with the descriptions “ingenious” and “frenzied”.
Until now, Manafov has performed in the countries of the former Soviet Union, Azerbaijan, Turkey and many countries of Europe and has also attended master-classes in Orchestral Conducting in St. Petersburg. He has founded and conducted several orchestras, composed pieces in various forms, realized projects in connection especially with introducing music to children and young people and has won much praise in musical circles. As a “People’s Artist” of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Manafov continues his artistic life as a pianist, conductor and composer, while working as a Professor at Baku Music Academy and Yeditepe University in Istanbul.
With this first CD, Manafov connects with his listeners through the works of the Romantic genius Chopin, with whom he has felt a close emotional tie since his childhood. Using his immense palette of nuances he takes his listeners on a journey beyond time with Chopin’s works that may be considered his most difficult, both technically and musically, with their differing moods, at times wild, at times childish, at times rebellious and at times full of longing.