Djivan Gasparyan, a celebrated Armenian musician and composer, is the undisputed master of the simple, single-octave instrument, Armenian duduk. He is one of those musicians who create miracles with their instruments.
Ask anybody in Armenia who is one of Armenia’s greatest musicians and they will answer Djivan Gasparyan. He is the master of the Armenian duduk.
For those who don’t know, duduk is an ancient national double-reed woodwind instrument similar to flute and made of apricot wood.
Due to Djivan Gasparyan’s heartfelt and successful compositions and concerts over the past few decades, the Armenian duduk and Armenian music have received widespread international interest and attention.
Additionally, Djivan Gasparyan’s three recordings available in America, met a widespread acceptance. Let’s discover the endless talent of Djivan Gasparyan.
Master of the Armenian duduk Djivan Gasparyan
Recognized as the most accomplished, famous and influential Armenian musician and composer in the history of Armenian duduk, Djivan Gasparyan is a true record-breaking hero of rich Armenian cultural heritage.
But more than a beloved and popular Armenian musician, he is a true icon not only in Armenia but around the world as well, a living embodiment of Armenian traditional and folk music. And it’s not surprising that Djivan Gasparyan is also known as the “Master of the duduk”.
Interestingly enough, Djivan Gasparyan was only six years old, when he started to play duduk intuitively, without knowing any notes. And it’s a real question if this talented Armenian musician and composer made the duduk famous or the duduk had brought him his fame.
Even though duduk is just a musical instrument, the greatness of Djivan Gasparyan is that he makes duduk express the music that comes from his soul, that is so deep, fleshy, and haunting.
At the age of 21, Djivan Gasparyan became the soloist of the renowned National Armenian Song and Dance Ensemble and the Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra. Furthermore, while this Armenian musician was still a part of the ensemble, thanks to his performances, he soon became one of the most popular soloists and studio musicians around the world.
Being a professor at the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory, Djivan Gasparyan has instructed and nurtured many.By the way, the evidence that Djivan’s students are destined to become his successor is his grandson, Jivan Gasparyan Jr.
He studied piano and musical grammar and learned the art of playing duduk from his legendary grandfather. Indeed, Djivan Gasparyan Sr. is his musical inspiration.
The Long list of Djivan Gasparyan’s awards
- In 1956, this renowned Armenian musician and composer received the first prize in his life in the local contest of Armenian duduk.
- In 1957, Djivan Gasparyan participated in an International Music Competition in Moscow that was organized by UNESCO. His duduk, a simple instrument with only one octave and absolutely not familiar to the jury, seemed to have no chance compared to the shiny instruments of other 5,000 contestants from around the world.
But to the great surprise of many people, Djivan won the first prize that was followed by six gold medals. Afterwards, he won four other gold medals in international musical competitions organized by UNESCO.
- In 1963, he was granted the title “honorary artist” of Armenia and received the honorary title of “People’s artist” (or “Armenian Folk artist”).
- In 2002 this Armenian musician won the WOMEX (World Music Expo) Lifetime Achievement Award, which honored his quality, creativity and success in the world’s music.
- Not less important is the fact that in 2007, Djivan Gasparyan was nominated for a Grammy Award.
- In the same year, he was given the title of “Academician” by the Canadian Academy and the PanArmenian Academy of National Security Problems.
- For his contribution to Armenian culture, Djivan Gasparyan also received “Mashtots” award and bejeweled gold crosses from the Russian Armenian Union and World Armenian Congress.
- Among his numerous titles, you can also find “Guardian of His People’s Musical Heritage” that totally describes his phenomena in the Armenian music industry.
- Also, in 2008, this Armenian musician and composer got a symbolic sword from the Defense Minister of Armenia.
World-Known Musicians and Composers Djivan Gasparyan Cooperated With
Due to Djivan Gasparyan’s incredible talent and magical music of Armenian duduk, he caught the attention of many world-known musicians.
This greatest Armenian musician and composer has played in studio productions with some well-known musicians from across the world, such as:
- Multi-instrumentalist, Abaji,
- The Pakistani Sufi-legend Nustrat- Fatih Ali Khan,
- Mongol world music performer Sainkho,
- The flamenco guitarist, Jessie Cook,
- The Kronos Quartet,
- “Queen’s” guitarist Brian May,
- Jazz saxophonist, Branford Marsalis,
- Canadian guitarist, producer, Michael Brook,
- German movie composer, Hanz Zimmer.
In 1988, English musician, composer and producer Bryan Eno saw a performance by Djivan Gasparyan in Moscow. He was absolutely speechless and said that it was one of the most beautiful melodies he had ever heard.
He decided to invite Djivan to London. And since then, he has achieved international fame and love in the West that brought interest towards Armenian folk music as well. Furthermore, his first album, “I Will Not Be Sad In This World” is said to be one of the most favorite records of the Queen of England.
In 2005, Djivan Gasparyan participated in the 46664 Arctic concert, where high-profile international artists were asked to perform. The concert, which was held in Norway, had a special purpose to put the work of fighting HIV/AIDS on the international timeline.
Zucchero, Robert Plant, Peter Gabriel, Anny Lenox, Brian May, Johny Clegg and many other famous and beloved musicians came together from around the world.
It was Djivan Gasparyan’s first time playing with Brian May who performed improvisation of the “Gladiator” soundtrack in a duet with the Armenian duduk for the first time. Then Peter Gabriel joined them on stage and they performed his famous “Feelings Begin”.
Among other famous artists that he has collaborated with are Sting, Hossein Alizadeh, Erkan Ogur, Lionel Richie, Derek Sherinian, Ludovico Einaudi, Boris Grebenshchikov, David Sylvian, Andreas Vollenweider and some others.
Movie Soundtracks Djivan Gasparyan Played #1 | Gladiator
Apart from performing and recording traditional Armenian folk music, this prominent Armenian musician has also been involved in projects that cross cultural borders.
Djivan Gasparyan has his great contribution in Hollywood film industry as well. He worked on the soundtracks of iconic films with his Armenian duduk and touched everybody with his tender, bright and heartfelt music.
Gladiator is the original soundtrack of the beloved movie with the same name, released in 2000. The composer of the original score is the world-renowned film score composer and record producer, Hans Zimmer.
Unforgettable was Djivan Gasparyan’s meeting with Hans Zimmer, as he co-wrote the piece of the score called “To Zucchabar”. Significantly, the album won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and was also nominated for the Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Score.
It’s a real pride for all the Armenians that their beloved composer and musician is a part of all these.
Movie Soundtracks Djivan Gasparyan Played #2 | Blood Diamond
Blood Diamond is a German-American political war thriller of 2006, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie received generally favorable reviews and DiCaprio was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
“Blood Diamond” soundtrack of the film, composed by James Newton Howard, won the “Soundtrack of the Year” at the 2008 Classic Brit Awards. The composer of the soundtrack featured many outstanding musicians in the film score, including Djivan Gasparyan.
Movie Soundtracks Djivan Gasparyan Played #3 | Dead Man Walking
Released in 1996, Dead Man Walking is the soundtrack album to the film of the same name. The album contains twelve tracks by major artists and Djivan Gasparyan was also included on the eclectic soundtrack for “Dead Man Walking.”
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