Janel Najafli was born in Baku on 24 March 2002. From the age of two-and-a-half to five years, she was a member of the Aysel Theatre, created by Ogtay Zulfugarov, the late Azerbaijani artist, popular children’s composer, and People’s Artist. It was he who composed the lyrics and music for the song Janeldir adim (My Name is Janel), presented to Janel and performed by Janel when she was aged four years.
In September 2008, Janel commenced her studies in the First Class of the Bul-Bul Secondary School of General Education and Music, focusing on the violin.
In the 3rd–6th grades, she also focused on composition in the class of composer Ayaz Gambarli who, in turn, had studied under legendary composer Arif Malikov. To date, her oeuvre comprises four works. In 2012, she performed one of her compositions at a concert organised by the Bul-Bul School, with the participation of Arif Melikov. However, her focus currently remains on the violin, rather than composition. From the end of the 3rd grade to the 5th grade, Janel was a member of the Tutti Azerbaijani State Orchestra for Children, created by People’s Artist Teymur Goychayev,
director of the school. Following that, Janel became a member of the Azerbaijani Youth Orchestra, occupying the first violin seat.
Janel’s inaugural solo violin performance was in December 2014 at the Baroque Festival in the International Mugham Centre, on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
Janel has also repeatedly performed at events commemorating the martyrs of Black January and the Khojaly Massacre, together with many other events and concerts, and been awarded with Thanksgiving (Gratitude) diplomas, including one in Istanbul at the Turkic World Film Festival in 2016. She has also performed at Rostropovich’ House
Museum, and several events at the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS).
In February 2018, she played at the British Business Group’s event in the Four Seasons Hotel, Baku, attended by H.E. Dr. Carole Crofts, British Ambassador to Azerbaijan, attracting myriad plaudits.
Over the past two years, Janel has actively participated in the Support to Youth (Ganjlara dastak) Project, organised by Murad Adigozalzadeh, internationally-renowned pianist and educator at Baku Music Academy. In November 2017, she was featured on the Modern Youth of Azerbaijan television programme.
Janel was invited to perform in the orchestra accompanying popular singer Emin Agalarov in his Emin with Orchestra concert at the Heydar Aliyev Palace, Baku, in December 2017.
Janel Najafli was one of 273 participants from 39 countries and 10 out of 49 recipients in the “University” category, who was selected as the Audience Favorite (won the jury and audience sympathy). One of the things to be proud of is that in our country Azerbaijan had been selected amongst 39 countries in the United States.
Achievements and Prizes:
2015: First Prize: Karavan Kulturi International Competition Festival, Poland
2016: Honorary Diploma: Josef Micka International Violin Competition, Prague,
Czech Republic, for performing Zolushka by Sergei Prokofiev.
2016: First Prize: Rodniki dushi (Soul Spring) Republic Competition, Baku, Azerbaijan.
2016: Vladimir Spivakov Festival, Moscow, Russia (one of only selected candidates, and the sole violinist)
2016: First Prize: Futures Stars International Competition, Baku, Azerbaijan.
2017: First Prize: Testene Art Baku International Competition, Baku, Azerbaijan.
2018: Third Prize: Grumiaux (formerly Bravo) International Violin Competition, Brussels, Belgium.
2018: First Prize: Third Azerbaijani Republic Music Competition dedicated to the 95th anniversary of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, Baku.
2019: First Prize: 1st International Violin Competition named after Azad Aliyev, Baku, Azerbaijan.
2020: First Prize: 3rd International World Harmony Competition, Baku, Azerbaijan.
2020: Audience Favorite: Boulder Bach Festival, Colorado, USA.
2020: Third Prize: Karabakh International Culture and Art Competition, Azerbaijan, Duet.
On February 2020 she successfully performed as a duet partner with his Czech teacher Roman Fedchuk, a professor at the Czech Conservatory, and shared the stage with prominent artists, People’s Artists, pianist Murad Adigozalzade and conductor Elshad Bagirov held at the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall.
In September 2019, there was an interview about Janel in the newspaper «Azerbaijan Muallimi». She was the only student in the Republic of Azerbaijan to be admitted to a higher education institution (Baku Music Academy) in the 2019 academic year out of competition (without exams). Thus, the Grumiaux (formerly Bravo) competition held in Belgium is in the list of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan includes for the admission of violinists to non-competitive universities. In August 2020, the newspaper “Azerbaijan Muallimi” published another interview about Janel’s success in the United States, and Channel 5 invited her on Internet TV online broadcasting. In February 2021, Janel was nominated as a Person of the Year in Plzen, Czech Republic for her achievements in 2020 and she was awarded the Orpheus Prize. It was historically the first foreign recipient of this award.