Tigran Hamasyan is an outstanding Armenian pianist and composer who, in his early 30s, is already acknowledged as a jazz prodigy.
Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan is much talented and prominent musician in jazz industry due to his incredible improvisations and groove.
Music is his main occupation. And it’s not surprising that even in his childhood he dreamed of becoming a thrash metal guitarist.
Are you interested to find out more about this hottest pianist in jazz? Then just keep on reading.
The Beginning of Tigran Hamasyan’s Remarkable Career Path
Armenian pianist and composer Tigran Hamasyan was born in Gyumri, Armenia, in 1987, before relocating to California with his family in 2003.
Currently, he resides in Yerevan. He grew up in a family full of good music, as his father was fond of rock music, while his uncle was more of a fan of jazz music.
Tigran Hamasyan studied classical music at an Armenian high school specialized in music studies. Soon his family decides to move to Los Angeles when he was just 16 years old. This gave him better artistic opportunities, as he entered the University of Southern California.
This incredibly talented musician started playing piano when he was just three years old and started participating in festivals and winning awards since the age of 11.
Furthermore, he began his recording career with an album, called World Passion at the age of 18. This Armenian pianist was immediately acknowledged as a distinctive revelation in jazz industry by the critics.
In his age of 30 Tigran Hamasyan is one of the most prominent and outstanding musicians and pianists of his generation. When talking about his style you just can’t mention one music direction. His compositions include mostly jazz-meets-rock improvisations that are greatly influenced by the rich Armenian folklore music.
Discovering Fun Things about Tigran Hamasyan Together!
- When this Armenian pianist was just a toddler he was already trying to accompany himself on the piano by singing the great deal of songs of the following bands: the Beatles, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Queen. And with particular pleasure he liked to sing songs from the repertoire of Louis Armstrong.
- During the second International Jazz Festival in Yerevan he had the fortune to meet one of such musical greats as Stéphane Kochoyan. He was so impressed by Tigran’s talent that invited him to participate in several European jazz festivals. There this Armenian pianist got acquainted with such first-class giants as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Danilo Pérez, John McLaughlin, John Patitucci and many others.
- He had a chance to perform on the same stage during several concerts with the giant of French jazz Daniel Humair and jazz musicians as Alphonso Johnson and Alan Pasqua
- In his first album he was accompanied by saxophonist Ben Wendel and drummer Nate Wood
- When Tigran Hamasyan moved to L.A. he started playing in the funk band Pinot
- In 2009, he founded his new ensemble known as Aratta Rebirth that had a huge success, especially with their album “Red Hail”.
- While being a great piano virtuoso, Tigran Hamasyan is also well-known as a composer. He has been composing since he was 9 and it occupies a huge part of his daily life.
- As he once noted, while improvising he uses “the musical vocabulary that comes from Armenia”.
- He learned about the unique and compound art of improvisation through bebop (a style of jazz originated in the mid 1940s that is based on complex harmony and rhythms).
Tigran Hamasyan as One of the Youngest and Honorable Armenian Musicians
There are no better words to describe the boundless talent of this Armenian pianist than the following words.
Awards, Prizes, Awards, Prizes…
So far, Tigran Hamasyan’s career achievements have been impressive. His awards include:
- 2002: 3rd Prize Concours International de Piano-Jazz Martial Solal (Paris).
- 2003: 1st Prize Jazz à Juan Révélations in the jazz instrumental category.
- 2003: 1st Prize Prix de la Critique et du Public, Concours de Piano du Montreux Jazz Festival.
- 2005: 3rd Prize Concours de Piano-Jazz de Moscou.
- 2005: 1st Prize 8ème Concours de Solistes de Jazz de Monaco.
- 2006: 1st Prize Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano Competition.
- 2006: 2nd Prize Concours International de Piano-Jazz Martial Solal.
- 2013: Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Contemporary Music
- 2016: ECHO Jazz Awards for his album “Mockroot”
Tigran Hamasyan: The Hottest Pianist in Jazz with Groove Power
Overall, Tigran Hamasyan has yet released 9 albums, each of which has its own unique approaches. Down below you can find the full list of his albums.
- World Passion (2006)
- New Era – Red Hail (2008)
- Red Hail (2009)
- A Fable (2011)
- Ep N°1 (2011)
- Shadow Theater (2013)
- Mockroot (2015)
- Luys I Luso (Light from Light, 2015)
- An Ancient Observer (2017)
Best of Tigran Hamasyan #1: Shoger Jan
One of the first albums with his band “Aratta Reberth”, Red Hail starts with the tune “Shoger Jan (Dear Shogher)”. This is a very beautiful remake of a famous Armenian folk song by the outstanding Armenian composer and musicologist Komitas.
Here he managed to mix the elements of jazz music with this rich folkloric music in such a wonderful way that it is just a mere pleasure to listen to it. Already looking forward to discover this music?
Best of Tigran Hamasyan #2: Someday My Prince Will Come
His first solo album, A Fable mostly consists of personal compositions as well as the compositions by other musicians that he had arranged.
One of his most famous jazz renditions of this album is the recording “Someday My Prince Will Come” that sounds so innovative and fresh.
Although this composition had both negative and positive feedbacks, it won the Victoires du Jazz (the French equivalent to the Grammy) award in the category of “Best International Production”.
Best of Tigran Hamasyan #3: Songs from His Best Rated Album “Mockroot”
As Tigran Hamasyan once said, the title of his critics’ breakthrough album Mockroot is inspired by the photograph on the album cover.
It depicts almost dead tree emerging from the lake. Tigran Hamasyan comments on this album:
Mockroot is a sort of longing and nostalgia for a human nature that’s more spiritual, more loving, more together with its roots. There is a sacrifice in it—sacrifice to try to elevate spiritually.
The opening songs of the album “To Love” and the track “To Negate” are both inspired by the famous Armenian poet Petros Duryan.
One of the most prominent compositions of the album Mackroot is “Lilac”. Interestingly, this track is about a tree that was in the backyard of his childhood home. The album also includes a composition that is dedicated to his grandparents, which is called “Song for Melan and Rafik”.
Also, he has compositions that are devoted to the town of Kars (known as “Kars 1” and “Kars 2, Wounds of the Centuries) that was his maternal grandparents’ ancestral home that, unfortunately, became the part of Turkey.
Another composition that really stands out with its incredible combination of Armenian folk, jazz and progressive rock is “Entertain Me”. It is also noteworthy that in 2016 he won Echo Award (the German Grammy) for “Best International Piano Album of the Year” for Mockroot.
Best of Tigran Hamasyan #4: Luys I Luso (Light from Light)
Luys I Luso is Tigran Hamasyan’s most unique and ambitious project featuring Yerevan State Chamber Choir. The album has the purpose to continue and develop what the giants of Armenian sacred music, like Komitas Vardapet, Grigor Narekatsi, Nerses Shnorhali, Mesrop Mashtots created.
The album is a new representation of the Armenian sacred music that ranges from breathtaking hymns and sharakans (old genre of Armenian chants) to enthralling cantons. The repertoire mainly includes music of the 5th to 19th centuries. The recording granted this Armenian pianist by the prestigious 2015 Paul Acket Award at the North Sea Jazz Festival.
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