His repertoire consisted of lively, modern virtuosic melodies like those on radio and television. Hamidov studied in a music school (bilimyurt) typical of those found throughout the Soviet Union, but he was lucky in that at the age of sixteen he became part of the classical vocal ensemble of Salahudin Tokhtasinov. He soon became part of the musical life of Tashkent, which was very strong in the late 1960s. He was constantly invited to perform, and he became adept at learning melodies very quickly, even guessing their development after hearing just the first motifs. In 1972, Hamidov entered the Tashkent Conservatory and met Fakhriddin Sadiqov (also spelled Fakhritdin Sadikov, 1914-1977), who completely overturned his concept of music. Sadiqov was the founder of the Uzbek school of instrumental music.
At their first meeting, Hamidov played one of the virtuosic pieces in which he excelled. Sādiqov acted impressed and congratulated him. "Then," recounted Hamidov, "he took my dutār, loosened the strings by a fourth, and started to play so beautifully that I thought I'd pass out. His music was like honey or cream.
I worked with him on the dutār for three years, which were for me like twenty years of study. Everything that I had learned before was false, and I thought that I'd never come to anything, but toward the end, I began to understand. After that, I worked an average of six hours a day; and after several years, I succeeded in finding myself as a musician." The difficulty consisted essentially in shaping the sound through the playing of the left and so as to reproduce all the inflections of singing, creating moans and sighs on an instrument which in ordinary hands is used more for rhythm than melody. Hamidov became the successor of Sadiqov and the most eminent representative of a prestigious line of dutārists, synthesizing the styles of Khwārezm and Ferghana that had evolved through several generations of performers: Fakhriddin Sadiqov, Kamil-jan Jabbarov (d. 1974), Nur Muhammad Baltayev, Qazi Madrahimov, Muhiuddin Haji Najmuddin, and finally Darep Chola.
Hamidov taught at the Tashkent Conservatory, and of his fifty students, five or six, including a young woman, have become masters in their own right. Hamidov has been active not only as a performer but also as a recording artist. He recorded the complete canonic instrumental repertoire (mushkilāt) with a group he formed in the line of his teacher. He has composed half a dozen songs, though he does not think they are original enough to release. He performed on more than three hundred recordings before the local production and distribution of vinyl records declined precipitously following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
He has made several concert tours in Europe and Asia as a soloist in the Bahar Ensemble and, since 1992, alone or with small ensembles which he directs in the purest form of classical tradition. Hamidov frequently performs with well-known singers at traditional banquets where the most classical musical and poetic forms live on. For five years, he left the Tashkent Conservatory and made a living in the world of commerce. He returned to the conservatory in 1997 at the invitation of its new director, but without ceasing his business activities. He has several books and articles in press: on the genre sawt, on twentieth-century dutār players and their repertoire, and on the repertoire of Fatha Khan Mamadaliev (d.
1999). Listeners can get an idea of his art from several compact disks released in the West: Ouzbekistan: L'art du dotār (Paris, Ocora, 1997) Asie centrale: Les maîtres du dotār (Geneva, 1993, AIMP 26). Hamidov is the co-editor of the compact disk Ouzbekistan: Les grandes voix du passé, 1940-1965 (Uzbekistan: Great Voices of the Past, 1940-1965; Paris, Ocora, 1999). Read more on Last.fm.
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