French-armenian singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour has died at 94 after a career lasting more than 80 years, a spokesman has confirmed, according to BBC.
The performer, born to Armenian immigrants, sold more than 180 million records and featured in over 60 films. He was best known for his 1974 hit She and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017. Aznavour married three times and had six children. He was named entertainer of the century by CNN in 1998.
The singer was born in Paris in 1924 to Armenian parents who fled the country's genocide to begin a new life in the French capital. Aznavour's lyrics drew on his own experiences of growing up in deprivation as an immigrant. He recorded more than 1,200 songs in seven different languages and performed in 94 countries. Aznavour sung for presidents, popes and royal families and at a number of humanitarian events. He was heavily involved in charity work and founded an organisation after the 1988 Armenian earthquake with friend Levon Sayan. In 2009 he was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland and he also became Armenia's delegate to the United Nations in Geneva.
The celebration of the 27th anniversary of Armenia’s independence took place at Budapest's 7th region, at KA11 Cultural Center on 28 of September, which was organized by Armenian Youth Association .
The event was attended by Director of the Association Nikoghos Akopian, deputy of the Hungarian parliament Bajkai Istvan, founder of the Armenian national autonomy in Hungary Alex Avanesian and others.
After the words of greetings and gratitude, renowned Armenian pianist Gayane Jaghatspanyan and opera singer Nelson Sahakyan performed Komitas, Aram Khachatryan, Rakhmaninov and other works. In the second half of the event, the guests got acquainted with the history of Armenian carpets and the Armenian families in Hungary, who were font of carpet making. Afterwards, guests tasted Armenian traditional dishes, enjoying Armenian cognac and wine.
The daughter and granddaughter of legendary British comic actor, filmmaker and composer Charlie Chaplin, who rose to fame in the era of silent film, will visit Armenia this October for the world premiere of their joint silent play in capital Yerevan.
Their play titled Bells and Spells will be performed at Yerevan’s Hakob Paronyan State Musical Comedy Theatre on 3 and 4 October.
They have received the invitation to visit Armenia from Chairman of Armenia’s Union of Theater Workers Hakob Ghazanchyan.
“Victoria Thierrée Chaplin and Aurélia Thierrée Chaplin were set to arrive in Armenia in March, but after talks they were decided to visit the country in October and hold the world premiere of their new performance in Yerevan,” Ghazanchyan told Panorama.am.
The play is staged by Victoria Thierrée Chaplin and performed by Aurélia Thierrée Chaplin and Jaime Martinez.
Italy’s Spoleto festival hosted the world premiere of the performance on 9 and 15 July of the running year. A surreal spectacle of physical theatre, comedy, magic and dance, Bells and Spells is the tale of a kleptomaniac who falls under the influence of the objects she steals.
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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.
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