Famed artists to debut at St. Vartan Cathedral

NEW YORK, NY—Acclaimed musicians will gather for the not-to-be missed concert in honor of Armenian Independence Day at St. Vartan Cathedral in New York on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 8 p.m.

Celebrated pianist Kariné Poghosyan and Maestro Jason Tramm, conducting the 45 members of the MidAtlantic Philharmonic Orchestra, will perform the soulful and emotional music of composers Sergei Rachmaninoff and Aram Khachaturian in honor of their births – the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninoff and the 120th anniversary of Khachaturian.

“This momentous occasion holds a special place in the hearts of Armenians around the world as we commemorate the hard-fought journey toward sovereignty and the enduring spirit of our beloved homeland,” said Primate of the Eastern Diocese, the Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan.

“St. Vartan Cathedral is the presence of the Armenian spirit in New York City. By holding such an important concert in the Sanctuary, we bring a unique flavor of that spirit to both Armenians and non-Armenians alike,” said St. Vartan Cathedral Vicar, Rev. Fr. Davit Karamyan. 

A Talented Artist

Since her orchestral debut at age fourteen in her native Armenia and her solo Carnegie Hall debut at age 23, pianist Poghosyan has been praised for her “ability to get to the heart of the works she performs,” leaving her audiences transformed.

Kariné Poghosyan (Photo: Dale Kolarek)

Her most recent concerts include three sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall, one of which was the CD release of her Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky with Centaur Records. American Record Guide wrote that “a more heroic program would be hard to find, and few could play as well as the Armenian-American Poghosyan.”

Oscar-winning screenwriter Alex Dinelaris said, “Listening to and watching Kariné Poghosyan play fills one with life and energy. The combination of her formidable skill and her unchecked passion is an experience recommended for anyone who has to be reminded of the artist and art within themselves.”

During the pandemic, Poghosyan performed free virtual concerts for 100 consecutive weeks, receiving loyal worldwide fans and wide press coverage, including from Pianist Magazine, Katie Couric’s newsletter “Wake-Up Call” and ABC’s Rick Rowe.

In February 2023, Poghosyan released her third album Folk Themes with Navona Records of Parma Recordings, available on Amazon, AppleMusic and Spotify. 

For the 2023-2024 season, she will return to Carnegie Hall on February 14, 2024, for a special jazz-themed Valentine’s Day program.

A Conductor to Watch

Conducting the Independence Day program will be Maestro Jason Tramm. Called a “conductor to watch” by Symphony Magazine, Tramm has been hailed for his choral symphonic and operatic performances and garnered critical acclaim throughout the United States and internationally.

Maestro Jason Tramm

In 2015, as the artistic director and principal conductor of MidAtlantic Artistic Productions, he made his Carnegie Hall debut at Stern Auditorium. From 2008 to 2012, he served as director of the New Jersey State Opera. In 2009, he received an Emmy nomination for the HDTV broadcast with PBS affiliate NJN of “Verdi Requiem: Live from Ocean Grove.” He has also been featured on two National Public Radio (NPR) broadcasts.

An accomplished educator, Tramm serves as the associate professor and Director of Choral Activities at Seton Hall University, leading the University Chorus, Chamber Choir and Orchestra. In 2017, Seton Hall presented him with the “University Faculty Teacher of the Year” award.

The acclaimed conductor holds degrees from the Crane School, the Hartt School and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Rutgers University. At Rutgers, he received the distinguished Presidential Fellowship.

In 2003, Tramm was honored with the “Rising Star Award” from SUNY, joining world famous Metropolitan Opera luminaries such as Renee Fleming and Stephanie Blythe who have also been feted with this much sought-after award.

Tireless Humanitarian

Collector, curator, benefactor and civic leader Vicki Shoghag Hovanessian is organizing this unique concert. She was recently appointed Cultural Advisor to the Embassy of Armenia in Washington D.C. Throughout her decades-long career, Hovanessian has promoted the works of Armenian artists through showings in galleries, private viewings and art fairs with high standards.

During her youth in Beirut, Lebanon, she attended the Armenian Evangelical College and the Beirut College for Women. She is the recipient of a bachelor’s degree in Management and Business from Louis University in Chicago. She studied contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago and Sotheby’s Educational Institute in New York. She is the former director of Vicki Hovanessian Contemporary Art.

She has given professional art presentations at St. Vartan Cathedral in New York, including “Giving Form to Faith (2008),” “Crosses and Icons: Celebrating Spirituality (2011),“ “Legacy of Ten Armenian Artists (2012),” “25 Years, 25 Artists (2015)” and “Artist Avedis Baghdasarian (2018).” 

In 2008, Hovanessian was instrumental in bringing Arshile Gorky’s awe-inspiring “Artist and His Mother” painting from the Whitney Museum to the Eastern Armenian Diocese, where it was displayed under armed guard on the 60th anniversary of the celebrated artist’s death.

She has also held award-winning exhibitions of Armenian artists at the Northwest Indiana Art Center, the Bergen Community College in New Jersey, Southern Connecticut State University and the Collector’s Forum of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where she was the chairman from 1994 to 1997.

In Armenia, Hovanessian’s exhibitions have been viewed at the Yerevan State Museum and other venues. In 2017, she was appointed Diaspora Cultural Advisor to Armen Amirian, Minister of Culture of Armenia.

First of Many

This special concert at St. Vartan Cathedral has been underwritten by Harry and Suzanne Toufayan, Vicki Hovanessian and John Mahdessian in memory of his father Noubar Mahdessian.

The September 20 concert is the first of a planned series of cultural events to be held at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral. Hovanessian is the chairperson of the committee, with co-chair Seta Pascalian Kantarjian and members Sossy Setrakian, Lily Sarkissian, Alla Terzyan and Tamar Barsamian Dekermenci.

Eastern Diocesan Primate Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan has remarked, “With prayers for the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh and their people, and with a heart brimming with hope, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have contributed to this memorable event and to each individual who joins in this celebration of music, unity and the indomitable Armenian spirit.”

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