Fikret Amirov grew up in an atmosphere of Azerbaijani folk music. His father, Mashadi Jamil Amirov, was a famous mugam singer ("xanəndə") from Shusha, who played tar and composed, including the 1915 opera Seyfal mulk.
During his childhood and early adolescence, Fikret began composing pieces for the piano. Upon his graduation from the Ganja Music College, Amirov entered the Azerbaijan State Conservatoire, now known as the Baku Music Academy, where he was a student of Boris Zeidman and Uzeyir Hajibeyov.
In 1941, when Nazi Germany attacked the USSR, Amirov, 19 at the time, was drafted to the Soviet army. He was wounded near Voronezh, hospitalized and demobilized from the military service, returning to Baku to continue his studies at the Azerbaijan State Conservatoire.
Amirov's music was strongly influenced by Azeri folk melodies. He created a new genre called symphonic mugam. Amirov's symphonic mugams were based on classical folk pieces and were performed by many renowned symphony orchestras throughout the world, such as the Houston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski.
Amirov was a prolific composer. His most famous pieces include symphonic works such as "Shur" (1946), Kurd Ovshari (1949), "Azerbaijan Capriccio" (1961), "Gulustan Bayati-Shiraz" (1968), "The Legend of Nasimi" (1977), "To the Memory of the Heroes of the Great National War" (1944), "Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra" (1948) etc.
His ballets include "Nizami" (1947) and Arabian Nights, which premiered in 1979. Amirov wrote the opera "Sevil" in 1953.
He also wrote a number of pieces for the piano including "Ballad," "Ashug's Song," "Nocturne," "Humoreska," "Lyrical Dance," "Waltz," "Lullaby" and "Toccata." He also wrote numerous film scores.
Michelle Kwan, World Champion Ice Skater from the U.S. used Fikret Amirov's symphonic piece "Gulustan Bayati-Shiraz" in her skating program "Taj Mahal" in 1997.
Honours and awards
- Stalin Prize (1949)
- USSR State Prize (1980)
- People's Artist of Azerbaijan SSR (1958) 
- People's Artist of the USSR (1965)
- Hero of Socialist Labour (1982)
- Two Orders of Lenin (1959, 1982)
- Order of the Red Banner of Labour, twice (1967, 1971)
- State Prize of Azerbaijan SSR (1974)
- Lenin Komsomol Prize of Azerbaijan SSR (1967) .
- Classicsonline Home>Composers>A>Amirov, Fikrat
- Listen to Fikret Amirov, Music Section of Azerbaijan International
- Amirov in Azerbaijan International
- List of Amirov's works from Onno van Rijen's Soviet Composers Page
- José Antonio Bielsa Arbiol: Fikret Amirov, El poder de la palabra (Spanish)