NEW YORK—The Knights and Daughters of Vartan will host a tribute banquet to honor Sahan Arzruni and Kris Kalfayan for their musical contributions to the Armenian community on May 18, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian at the Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium in New York.
Organized by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan Mamigonian Lodge and the Anahid Otyag, the net proceeds of the banquet will benefit scholarship programs at the American University of Armenia. Professor Vartan Abdo, founding director of the Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey, will serve as master of ceremonies.
Lifelong and active participants in Armenian music in the New York metro area and abroad, both Arzruni and Kalfayan have been immersed in the Armenian musical tradition since childhood. Throughout their decades of dedication, they have enriched the Armenian culture through their deep knowledge and generous contributions of their time and efforts.
“We are honoring Sahan Arzruni and Kris Kalfayan for their service to our community,” said chair Hirant Gulian. “It’s important to recognize and pay tribute to their commitment to the Armenian Church and culture.”
Pianist, recitalist and chamber music artist, Arzruni has toured in concert around the world and has been featured in broadcasting specials. Motivated by ethnic awareness in the United States, Arzruni has continuously researched the musical roots of his Armenian heritage, recording anthologies of Armenian piano music and delivering academic papers for venerable universities. He has received the Sts. Sahak & Mesrob Medal in 1996 from His Holiness Karekin II and in 2016 was awarded the Movses Khorenatsi presidential medal for promoting the cultural ties between Armenia and the Diaspora. Arzruni, who holds degrees from The Juilliard School and has pursued doctoral studies at New York University, was appointed the full-fledged representative of Armenia’s Ministry of Culture in the Diaspora.
The Director of the Diocese’s Gomidas Choir, Kalfayan was exposed to the Armenian Church rituals and music at an early age through his parents. In his childhood years, he sang in the Children’s Choruses of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera. In the service of the Armenian Church, he was the organist of New York’s Holy Cross Church and St. Vartan Cathedral, Director of St. Vartan Cathedral Boys Choir and director of the St. Vartan Cathedral Choir. Kalfayan, a graduate of New York’s High School of Music & Art and Fordham University, has been serving as Musical Director of the Diocesan Gomidas Choir since 1981. In 2008, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians, awarded Kalfayan with a Pontifical Encyclical and the St. Nersess the Graceful Medal, in recognition of his decades of service to the Armenian Church.
“The Knights of Vartan organization has always been at the forefront of advancing Armenian culture,” said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. “I am so pleased that they have chosen as this year’s honorees two true artists: Sahan Arzruni and Kris Kalfayan, who have both brought so much light into our community, and have likewise brought the treasures of Armenian music out into the world.”
The tribute banquet will take place on May 18 mat 7:30 p.m. at Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium, 630 Second Avenue in New York. For tickets, call Hirant (212) 764-8730 or Ruby (201) 313-1762.