Elegant Pianist Amina Figarova: From Baku to Amsterdam to New York

Posted May 12th, 2011 at 4:02 pm (UTC+0)
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Pianist and composer Amina Figarova (photo by Joke Schot)

Pianist and composer Amina Figarova (photo by Joke Schot)

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Pianist Amina Figarova recently moved to the “Big Apple” — New York City, — fulfilling a dream of playing her music in the city that doesn’t sleep. Figarova also wanted to be close to New Orleans, the southern US city known as the “cradle” of Jazz. “Great amount of jazz … (American) Audience is very very sophisticated, very appreciative,” explains the internationally-acclaimed pianist-composer.

Figarova grew up in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, listening to jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong on Voice of America radio.

Amina’s Discography

  • Attraction
  • Another me
  • Firewind
  • Night Train
  • Jazz at the Pinehill Vol I
  • Jazz at the Pinehill Vol II
  • On Canal Street
  • September Suite
  • Come escape with me
  • Above the Clouds
  • Sketches
  • DVD “Live in Amsterdam”

The quite cosmopolitan, accomplished artist was only two years old when she learned to play piano with her mother in Baku. At three, Figarova had composed her fist melody. At six, she was admitted to a school for gifted children where she studied classical piano and composition. As a teenager, Amina Figarova got into Motown music, and now she is a renowned pianist, composer and bandleader.

After Figarova graduated from the State Conservatory of Baku, she traveled to the Netherlands to study composition, piano, and voice at the Rotterdam Conservatory. She also studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.  She says her music captures the big band sound “always in my head.” Figarova created an album of original songs that refresh the classic post-bop idiom established by labels such as Blue Note, Prestige and Impulse in the 1950s and 1960s.

Amina Figarova, one of Europe’s most impressive and sophisticated jazz pianists and bandleader, tells her story to VOA’s Jazz Beat.


Figarova is currently touring the United States, playing at jazz festivals in Virginia, Florida, Mississippi and several other states.  She has recorded a dozen CDs. Figarova’s 1994 debut album, Attraction, was selected for play in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Colony in Aspen, Colorado in 1998.

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

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