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Winners of Aga Khan Award for Music feted

Music has power to affect emotions and dreams
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The winners of the Aga Khan Music Awards were feted on Sunday at the Royal Opera House in Muscat in the presence of a gathering of high-level attendees and a large number of national and international media representatives.

His Highness Sayyid Bilarab bin Haitham al Said presided over the award distribution and concluding ceremony of the second edition of the Aga Khan Award for Music (2020-2022) at the House of Musical Arts in the Royal Opera House Muscat.

The winners of the Aga Khan Music Award are Zakir Hussain (India), Afel Bocoum (Mali), Asin Khan Langa (India), Coumbane Mint Ely Warakane (Mauritania), Daud Khan Sadozai (Afghanistan), Peni Candra Rini (Indonesia), Soumik Datta (UK), Yahya Hussein Abdallah (Tanzania), Yasamin Shahhosseini (Iran), and Zarsanga (Pakistan).

Dilshad Khan (India), Golshan Ensemble (Iran), Sain Zahoor (Pakistan), Zulkifli and Bur’am (Indonesia), Seyyed Mohammad Musavi and Mahoor Institute (Iran) received special mentions for their outstanding contributions in the field of music.

The ceremony included a live performance of musical pieces and a solo performance by the winning musicians.

In her concluding speech, Fairouz Nishanova, Director of Aga Khan Music Programme, extended a warm welcome to all who gathered for the awards celebration.

"I would like to express deepest gratitude to the Sultanate of Oman for hosting this awards ceremony. I would like to thank the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, the Royal Opera House Muscat and its House of Musical Arts, and the Royal Oman Symphony.”


She made a special mention of the high-level of programmes being held at the opera house, orchestra and those who conducted the programmes, Maestro Hamdan al Shaely, for great spirit of collaboration.

“Judging by last night's concert, we couldn't have hoped for a clearer demonstration of what Prince Amyn Aga Khan described "the power of music to affect our emotions and our dreams."

The musicians gathered, according to her, are exceptional in so many ways.

“It is truly a privilege to be able to recognise and support the work of such outstanding musicians and creators. For this magnificent gift that allows the music awards Programme to affect and change so many lives, our deepest gratitude to the Aga Khan Family.”

Peni Candra Rini, an Indonesian composer, improviser, vocalist and educator, termed the award an honour and said, “I’m blessed to win this award. It is a big honour not only for me but also for my culture and tradition. This proves that traditions can grow and liked by those who may not even know about them. It is meaningful that our musical traditions are becoming popular.”


The musician pointed out that she composed pieces utilising her roots, and she was a traditional singer.

She was born into a family of traditional artists and musicians in East Java and studied gamelan music and performance practice (karawitan) at the Institute Seni Indonesia Surakarta, Central Java. Peni currently teaches there in the Department of Karawitan. She has created new musical works for the stage, dance, film, and theatre, combining her deep knowledge of Indonesian performing art, in particular, the art of the ‘pesindhen’ (female solo singer in a gamelan ensemble), with innovative musical projects around the world that represent a new vision for Javanese music.

The Turkish musician and oud player, Yurdal Tokcan, who is a member of Master Jury, said: “Aga Khan Award for Music is very important for the cultural musical heritage. The big Islamic geography is unique in terms of arts and music. Through my experience as a jury, I realised that many musicians are very pure and seek to preserve their heritage through music. Out of hundreds of nominees, we select young talented musicians who are not well-known people and show their musical legacy. It is important to support them and help.”

He spoke about the Turkish music legacy, saying, “We have a rich heritage of music. During the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan supported cultural activities and invited the musician to the palace. It was a prosperous period where there were many composed pieces of Turkish music. That made the theoretical base for the music.”

Tokcan is known not only for his mastery of the oud, but for his explorations of intercultural composition and performance in the domains of both “East-West” and “East-East” collaborations, in particular through his adaptation of oud technique to the fretless guitar.


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