BOSTON, Mass.—Russian-Armenian piano prodigy Eva Gevorgyan captivated YerazArt supporters last week during the non-profit organization’s annual fundraising concert.
More than 100 guests were left mesmerized by the 15 year-old at the First Church in Boston on Friday night as she performed a dramatic medley of compositions by Aleksandr Scriabin and Franz Liszt. Then to a roaring standing ovation, she paid homage to famed Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian with “Lullaby.”
“When you are only a pianist, you share your interpretation through other composers,” said Gevorgyan in an interview with the Armenian Weekly during a champagne reception following her performance. “When great musicians pass away, they don’t leave something in this world. You can hear them only by recordings, and it’s my dream if I write something [that] somebody in the next century will play it [themselves],” she continued, noting that she also writes original music.
Gevorgyan was traveling with her mother Ksenija Cherenkova and YerazArt’s Armenia director, Arman Padaryan. “We are pursuing a nurturing of talents,” said Padaryan, who noted that YerazArt has been following Eva’s career since she was 12 years old.
Since 2005, the Boston-based initiative has been giving young, talented musicians from Armenia the opportunity to practice, perfect and perform their art. Backed by a dedicated board and committee members including co-founders Noubar Afeyan and Raffi Festekjian and co-chairs Anna Afeyan and Nina Festekjian, YerazArt has helped a number of young Armenians reach their full musical potential by awarding scholarships, conducting master classes, distributing instruments and hosting concerts.
“Fifteen years ago, most organizations were rightfully focusing on the primary needs of Armenia. We thought that there was also an urgent need to preserve our culture and passion for excelling in classical music,” said co-chair Nina Festekjian. “Our goal was to keep that passion alive…to provide them with hope and dare them to dream.” (“Yeraz” is the Armenian word for “dream.”)
Gevorgyan says she’s been dreaming of becoming a musician since she was five years old. Her mother, a viola player herself, remembers her daughter always dancing with her hands and smiling to music since before she could even stand in her crib. “She feels music deep,” said Cherenkova.
Earning top prizes in dozens of international contests, Gevorgyan most recently won second place in the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition, where she played with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “It was an unforgettable experience for me,” said Gevorgyan. Just one week after her solo Boston performance, Gevorgyan was headed to Ohio to perform with the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Her long term goal is to be a world traveling concert pianist, meeting new people and performing in new concert halls.
“This program requires patience,” said Padaryan. “With Eva Gevorgyan…she’s only 15, and you can see she’s developing really fast. If after ten years, we see [these talents] performing in [the] Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, then this is a successful program,” he continued. YerazArt pledges to continue serving as a bridge between the motherland and the Diaspora by leaving a piece of Armenia in everyone’s heart after every concert. YerazArt co-founder Noubar Afeyan says, “I think as a little country, somewhat getting forgotten on the world stage, the more we can advance people who really stand out, the more the whole country will be better appreciated so I’m hoping we can do that.”