September 26 marks the 149th birth anniversary of world-famous Armenian priest, composer, choir leader, singer, music ethnologist, music pedagogue and musicologist Komitas Vardapet.
Komitas International Conference-Festival is set to kick off on the composer’s birthday with a concert by the National Academic Choir of Armenia directed by Hovhannes Tchekidjian. The concert program features music pieces by Komitas, Tchukhadjyan, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Frenkel, Gershwin and Gounod.
Events organized as part of the conference-festival celebrating Komitas’s 149th birthday are planned not only in Armenia, but also in France, Komitas Museum-Institute said in a Facebook post.
The Grand Salon of France’s Sorbonne University will host an international one-day conference titled “Komitas: At the Crossroads of Tradition and Modernity” on 28 September. The event is organized by Komitas Museum-Institute in collaboration with the Academy of Paris and the French Embassy in Armenia.
The male part of Armenia’s Hover State Chamber Choir (Artistic Director and Principal Conductor: Sona Hovhannisyan) will perform Komitas’s “Patarag” (Divine Liturgy) on 7 October at Harichavank, a 7th century Armenian monastery located close to the village of Harich in Armenia’s Shirak region, as part of the conference-festival.
Komitas Vardapet (by Western Armenian transliteration also Gomidas Vartabed; Komitas Vartapet) was born Soghomon Soghomonyan on 26 September 1869 in Kütahya, Ottoman Empire into a family whose members were deeply involved in music and were monolingual in Turkish. His mother died when he was one, and his father died ten years later. His grandmother looked after him until 1881, when a prelate of the local Armenian diocese went to Etchmiadzin to be consecrated a bishop. Catholicos Gevork IV ordered him to bring one orphaned child to be educated at the Etchmiadzin Seminary. Soghomon was chosen among 20 candidates and admitted into the seminary (where he impressed the Catholicos with his singing talent) and graduated in 1893, after which he became a monk. According to church tradition, newly ordained priests are given new names, and Soghomon was renamed Komitas (named after the seventh-century Armenian Catholicos who was also a hymn writer). Two years later, he became a priest and obtained the title Vardapet meaning a "priest" or a "church scholar."
He established and conducted the monastery choir until 1896, when he went to Berlin, enrolled in the Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm University and studied music at the private conservatory of Prof. Richard Schmidt. In 1899, he acquired the title Doctor of Musicology and returned to Etchmiadzin, where he took over conducting a polyphonic male choir. He traveled extensively around the country, listening to and recording details about Armenian folk songs and dances performed in various villages. This way, he collected and published some 3000 songs, many of them adapted to choir singing.
Komitas was the first non-European to be admitted into the International Music Society, of which he was a co-founder. He gave many lectures and performances throughout Europe, Turkey and Egypt, thus presenting till then very little known Armenian music.
From 1910, he lived and worked in Constantinople (today’s Istanbul). There, he established a 300-member choir, Gusan. On April 24, 1915, the official date when the Armenian Genocide began, he was arrested and put on a train the next day together with 180 other Armenian notables and sent to the city of Çankırı in northern Central Anatolia, at a distance of some 300 miles.
In the autumn of 1916, he was taken to a Turkish military hospital and he moved to Paris in 1919 where he died in a psychiatric clinic Villejuif in 1935. Next year his ashes were transferred to Yerevan and buried in the Pantheon that has been named after him. In 1950s his manuscripts were also transferred from Paris to Yerevan.
Credits to panorama.am web page.
In celebration of 110th anniversary of world-renowned American Armenian writer William Saroyan’s birth, the Central Library of Los Angeles presents the exhibit “My Name is Aram,” on view through October 7, and a performance of his unpublished works to be held on Saturday. Both are free and open to the public, Asbarez reported.
The exhibit features 45 images as well as quotes highlighting the life of Saroyan, a Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winning author, playwright, storyteller, maverick and humanist, said Ani Boyadjian, exhibit curator and manager of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Research and Special Collections. The exhibit features photographs of Saroyan, taken primarily during two visits to Armenia in 1976 and 1978.
The exhibition bookends the performance of “William Saroyan: The Unpublished Plays in Performance,” created expressly for library’s L.A. Made series by award-winning playwright Aram Kouyoumdjian. “We are happy to introduce a new generation to William Saroyan, who in the past was considered one of the greats like Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald,” said Boyadjian.
The quotes highlighted in the exhibit were taken from published works from Saroyan’s six decades as a master of dialogue and the written word. Some of his most acclaimed works center on issues of his Armenian ethnicity and diasporan identity, which raise profound questions about humanity’s universal pain and the paradox of exile.
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This is the first major exhibition to explore the remarkable artistic and cultural achievements of the Armenian people in a global context over fourteen centuries—from the fourth century, when the Armenians converted to Christianity in their homeland at the base of Mount Ararat, to the seventeenth century, when Armenian control of global trade routes first brought books printed in Armenian into the region.
Through some 140 objects—including opulent gilded reliquaries, richly illuminated manuscripts, rare textiles, cross stones (khachkars), precious liturgical furnishings, church models, and printed books—the exhibition demonstrates how Armenians developed a unique Christian identity that linked their widespread communities over the years.
Representing the cultural heritage of Armenia, most of the works come from major Armenian collections: the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; the Matenadaran (Ancient Manuscripts); the National History Museum in the Republic of Armenia; the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Lebanon; the Brotherhood of St. James in Jerusalem; the Mekhitarist Congregation of San Lazzaro degli Armeni in Venice; the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon; the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern) in New York; the Armenian Museum of America in Boston; and the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum in Michigan.
Almost all of these works are on view in the United States for the first time; some have not travelled abroad for centuries.
Credits to metmuseum.org official museum web page.
With the initiative of the Honorary Council of the Republic of Armenia and Official Representative of Business Armenia to Chicago, Paruir Sarkisian, along with the support of the Armenian community and the local municipality, the park named after Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan has been officially opened in the capital city of the US state of Illinois.
The Honorary Council and Honorary Representative of Business Armenia, Oskar Tatossian, has noted that the two parties are currently working on starting the cooperation in the spheres of tourism and high-tech, the Armenian Development Agency reported.
“Chicago has always been at the center of the attention of the tourists,” stated the International Cooperation Manager of Business Armenia, Alina Yeghiazaryan. “The newly opened park may serve as a yet another reason to visit Armenia and even start new business relations.”
“The Armenian park will also support the development of the Yerevan-Chicago fellowship,” noted Paruir Sarkisian.
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