Khachaturian Trio Perform Outstanding Concerts in Sydney


Arax Mansourian,left, with Karen Shahgaldyan

SYDNEY, Australia — From their first performance as guest artists during the April 24 commemoration to two sell-out concerts at The Independent Theatre, the Khachaturian Trio captivated audiences with their mesmerizing performances of International and Armenian masterpieces.

The members of the Khachaturian Trio are Armine Grigoryan (piano), Karen Shahgaldyan (violin) and Karen Kocharyan (cello), who are not only distinguished virtuoso performing artists individually, but as an ensemble have managed to successfully create an almost perfect musical trinity through interweaving their profound sense of harmony with brilliant technique and craftsmanship.

Although a trio should have only three members, the group has adopted a fourth member, Sona Barseghian, who is in her own right a virtuoso pianist and a laureate from many distinguished international competitions. Barseghian accompanies the trio and performs with her mother, Armine Grigoryan, pieces written for two pianos or for four hands.

The trio’s tour of Sydney was the brainchild of Avo and Jacqueline Tevanian, who heard the trio perform in Yerevan earlier in the year at a special concert organized by Assadour Guzelian. Upon hearing the Khachaturian Trio perform, Avo Tevanian was so inspired that he decided to sponsor their trip to Australia so they could perform in Sydney as well. He contacted Toros Boghossian, chairman of the AGBU Sydney Chapter, and requested AGBU’s collaboration in organizing the trio’s tour and concerts in Sydney.

The AGBU Special Events Team was formed in 2006 to organize events to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the AGBU. The team successfully stagemanaged the performance of Tigranian’s “Anoush” Opera, with Arax Mansourian in the lead role.

Since then, the team has been involved in organizing many artistic and cultural events presented by the AGBU.

It is rare to find a team like theirs that can successfully work together over five years with absolute unity and camaraderie — each one of the members bringing their own special talents into the group.

The members of the team are (in alphabetical order) Sylvia Aghabekian, Lucy Aroyan, Nora Bastajian, Tatar Bedikian and Sylvia Jamcotchian. The team was ably supported by members of the AGBU Executive Committee: Arto Karagelinian, Hovhaness Kouyoumdjian, Dikran Dikranian and Sarkis Manoukian with the leadership of Toros Boghossian. A large production such as this takes months to coordinate and requires a lot of support from the community.

On Tuesday, May 3, the trio gave a master class in Sydney open to Armenian advanced-level music students and performers. It was an unprecedented event (probably the first event of its kind in the community) attended by talented young musicians. The master class was held at The Theme and Variations Showroom in Willoughby courtesy of Ara and Nyree Vartoukian who opened their studios late in the evening to accommodate the event. All the performers, including their parents and teachers who were present, benefited from the opportunity to attend.

The Khachaturian Trio had a busy 10 days in Sydney. Their first performance was during the commemoration ceremony of the Armenian Genocide, which was held on April 29. The trio was also invited to join the panel for the auditions to the upcoming Armenian Community Performing Arts Concert (taking place in Sydney in early June). The trio was invited by many organizations in the community and attended many cultural events, graciously performing wherever the opportunity presented. The trio members also took time to tour the city, meet local Armenians and non-Armenians and left great impressions on everyone they met.
The highlight of the Khachaturian Trio tour was their two concerts held on May 6 and 7 at the Independent Theatre in North Sydney. Both events were sell-out performances attended by Armenian and non-Armenian music loving audiences. Playing a different program each night, the trio presented a well-selected group of works — challenging but at the same time enjoyable works for all to appreciate.

For the Saturday concert, audiences were delighted when the local prima donna of Australian Opera, soprano Arax Mansourian, joined the trio. Mansourian was one of the leading sopranos of the Armenian National Opera before moving to Australia in 1994. Since her arrival in Sydney, she has achieved more than any other Armenian soprano, landing leading roles with the prestigious Opera Australia and receiving acclaim from critics, who have praised her for her exquisite timbre, broad vocal range and fine acting ability. The nostalgia expressed when Mansourian sang Ganachian’s Oror and Komitas’ Garun-a was so overwhelming that one could see tears flowing from some of the audience members.

What sets the Khachaturian Trio apart is their gift of generosity. Having found success and fame not only in Armenia but also on the worldwide stage, the trio members have been on a quest to identify and nurture new talent. Technology and globalization have shifted interests in many young children away from classical music and the arts to spending time on computers playing games. Many parents in the villages and regions in Armenia lack the financial means to support their children’s musical development. Recognizing this problem, the trio tour Armenia and give master classes at music schools in order to identify gifted young musicians and provide them with the opportunity to further develop their musical education. With the help of Assadour Guzelian of London, they have formed a special fund called “Young Talent Quest” to help support the musical education of these young children and already the fund is supporting many gifted Armenian children to continue their music studies in Yerevan.

All good things come to an end and the trio have returned back to Yerevan to continue with their busy schedule of tours and concerts. The organizers thank Mr. and Mrs. Tevanian and the AGBU Sydney Chapter for inviting the trio, whose music will remain vivid for years in the memory of those who attended the concerts.

— H. J. Sebouhian