Sometimes it seems that there are Armenian people everywhere. There are Armenian organizations of everything: art, science, music, culture, literature. This list can go on forever. This claim can be quite right. Armenians are not only geographically everywhere, but also literally in every sphere of human activity.
After all, it won’t be a surprise, if we say that there are quite many talented Armenian composers from almost all centuries.
If you try to ask Armenians about Armenian composers, you’d hear many classical names, as well as very modern, young, but equally talented composers’ names.
Let’s dig into the Armenian music history and find out top 5 most famous Armenians, who are famous to the world as talented composers.
Armenian Composers: #1 Komitas
This list couldn’t start with anyone else, but Komitas. Komitas is the father-founder of Armenian national classical music. Komitas is a man, who had extraordinarily difficult, unique and tragic life.
He was born in Western Armenia (present-day Turkey), he was a priest, musicologist, composer, arranger, singer, and choirmaster.
With a very few opportunities, but a big hunger for musical education, Komitas studied in Gevorgian Seminary (Echmiadzin), Tiflis (present-day Tbilisi), later in Frederick William University and Humboldt University of Berlin.
Komitas had high hopes, that with such a huge experience and ideas, he can form a musical choir and spread awareness about Armenian classical folk music in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul).
With these hopes he moved to Constantinople in 1910, shortly after, he got arrested and banished to Der Zor desert, along with hundreds of thousands of Armenians, as a result of the Armenian Genocide.
Komitas survived the genocide, but after witnessing the horrors of the massacre, he ended up in a psychiatric clinic in Paris, where he eventually died.
Although, his active musical years were only some 20-25 years, Komitas left a huge heritage of Armenian classic folk music and can truly be regarded as a father-founder of it.
Armenian Composers: #2 Robert Amirkhanyan
Robert Amirkhanyan is one of the most celebrated modern day Armenian composers. Throughout his career, he created enormous number of masterpieces, but the most famous and beloved composition by him is probably the song called “Eraz Im Yerkir”, which means “My Dream Land”.
This song entered every Armenian’s heart so quickly and touched everyone so deeply, that it became the anthem of the Armenian Army.
During the rich and fruitful career, Amirkhanyan became the author of soundtracks in many Armenian movies, cartoons and animations. The most famous cartoon soundtrack is ” Pui-Pui Mouse”.
Armenian Composers: #3 Arno Babajanyan
Arno Babajanyan is one of the most gifted and acknowledged composes of Soviet era and not only in Armenia, but in the whole Soviet Union.
Babajanyan composed hundreds of songs, which everyone was listening all over USSR. He composed both in Armenian and Russian. There are many songs by him, that have two lyrics (Armenian and Russian).
Arno Babajanyan was also very famous for composing soundtracks for movies. Most of Soviet era movies have Babajanyan’s music in it.
His music is considered to be classical Soviet. And even today, after so many years of his passing, people in Armenia, Russia, Ukraine and other countries organize events, concerts and evenings, as a tribute to his legacy and rich musical heritage.
Armenian Composers: #4 Konstantin Orbelian
Another famous Armenian composer of Soviet era is Konstantin Orbelian. He is famous for rhythmic and very light type of music. Every time you listen to his compositions, you always feel like cheering up.
Konstantin Orbelian, surprisingly is not from Yerevan, he is from the city of Armavir. Why surprisingly? Because he had so many songs about Yerevan. Many of his songs are dedicated to his beloved city Yerevan.
He was so much loved and appreciated during his active years, that he received the title of “People’s Artist of USSR”, which those years was the highest honor for any musician. It had the same importance, as Olympic Champion’s title for athletes.
Orbelian was also a huge fan of Jazz music and composed many songs in that style. He had his orchestra and together with a famous Armenian jazz singer Tetevik Hovhannisyan he recorded many jazz compositions.
Here is what New York Times wrote about Orbelian’s music.
Armenian Composers: #5 Ara Gevorgyan
Ara Gevorgyan is the youngest composer among those in today’s list. Ara was born in 1960 in Yerevan. He grew up in a musical family. His mother was a very famous Armenian folk singer, Valya Samvelyan.
During his young years, Ara was involved in Pop-rock bands. Later he started his solo career as a composer. He is mostly famous for his unique style of mixing national, folk music elements with modern-day music technologies.
Ara Gevorgyan is not only a household name in Armenia. He also made a name for himself, as a talented composer, in the international music industry. He worked with such musicians as Jivan Gasparyan, Demis Roussos, Ian Gillian, Daniel Decker, Pedro Eustache.
He composed the song “Adana”, which was sang by Daniel Decker, in the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
Gevorgyan also composed the music for the “Golden Cage” ballet, for Prima ballerina in Russia, Anastasia Volochkova. It was dedicated to Bolshoi Theater.
Ara Gevorgyan received the title of Honorary Artist of the Republic of Armenia, by then-president Robert Kocharyan.
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