Carnegie Hall Concert Celebrates 75th Birthday of Composer Tigran Mansurian
NEW YORK—On Dec. 6, nine performers and hundreds of guests gathered at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall for the Armenian General Benevolent Union’s (AGBU) New York Special Events Committee (NYSEC) Performing Artists in Concert. The evening of music was held in honor of composer Tigran Mansurian’s 75th birthday and raised more than $60,000 for performing arts initiatives worldwide.
The evening’s program featured Armenian musicians from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, eight of whom were first time participants in the concert series. The performers were all recipients of AGBU performing arts scholarships, which have allowed them to study at prestigious institutions like the Juilliard School of Music in New York, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan.
The musicians making up this year’s international ensemble included Samvel Arakelyan (violin), Narek Arutyunian (clarinet), Grigor Khachatryan (piano), Lilit Kurdiyan (cello), Nune Melikian (violin), Edvard Pogossian (cello), Veronika Vardpatrikyan (viola), Lauren Williams (oboe), and Sarkis Zakarian (piano).
“Taking part in this concert was such a great experience for me and it was wonderful to get to know the Armenian community in New York,” Pogossian said. “The financial support AGBU has given me is beyond generous and I can’t thank them enough for it!”
Zakarian, who recently launched the AGBU London Chamber Orchestra, also served as the artistic director for the evening and was delighted to be part of the event. “It was a pleasure to meet all the other wonderful musicians and work together to prepare the program,” he said. “This was a wonderful opportunity for all of us, not only to perform at the Carnegie Hall, but also to meet and collaborate together.”
The concert was composed of an eclectic selection of Western classical and Armenian music. It was also the New York premiere of Aram Khachaturian’s early works that were recently discovered, provided by the Khachaturian Piano Trio, and two little known pieces published in the 1930’s by Alexander Spendiaryan, which were generously provided by the director of the Spendiaryan Museum, Marine Otaryan. The evening also featured a tribute to Tigran Mansurian and a special performance of some of his works.
Hayk Arsenyan, the director of the AGBU Performing Arts Department (PAD), commented on the special place of the annual concert in PAD’s larger mission of encouraging Armenian art: “The Performing Arts Department at AGBU is committed to promoting Armenian artists worldwide, both contemporary artists and those who created our traditions as a way to build a bridge between the generations.”
Following the concert, a reception was held at Molyvos Greek Restaurant, where sponsors and donors had the opportunity to meet the performers. NYSEC committee chairwoman Maral Jebejian expressed her gratitude to all those who lent their support. “We are very appreciative of everyone who contributed to the concert series and so proud to have been able to showcase the talent of our young musicians for the past seven years,” she said. “We look forward to many more concerts to come.”