Concert in London Dedicated To 110th Anniversary of Khachaturian’s Birth


LONDON — Organized by the London Chapter of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and under the auspices of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in the UK and Ireland, the embassy of the Republic of Armenia in the United Kingdom and the Armenian Community Council of Great Britain the Aram Khachaturian Trio gave an outstanding concert on May 28 dedicated to the 110th anniversary of Aram Khachaturian’s birth, at the concert hall of St. Yeghishe Church.

The program was scheduled to include the talented soprano Anush Hovhannissian, the Royal Opera House artist, who unfortunately could not participate due to illness.

This writer opened the evening and after introducing the great Armenian composer in a few sentences, narrated an episode from his memoirs, which depicted the profound love Khachaturian had for Armenia, the Armenian nation and the Armenian Church.

“At the end of 1976 Khachaturian was invited to London to give two concerts in January 1977. His first press conference, which took place early 1977 at the Dorchester Hotel, was attended by more than 50 press, radio and television journalists. I was also present at the event when the great composer addressed the audience with the following words.”

‘You may print, broadcast or televise everything I say if you respect my following three wishes.

‘You always refer to me as a Russian composer. I am not Russian, I am Armenian. Please don’t misunderstand me, I like the Russian people, but what can I do if both my mother and father are Armenians? In future you must refer to me as an Armenian or Soviet composer. You must definitely say that my country, Armenia was the first to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. You must also state that the first official Christian church, Holy Echmiadzin, was built in Armenia in 301-303 AD.’”

“On the following day the London newspapers respected Khachaturian’s wishes and on their front pages published his three conditions,” said Guzelian.

Guzelian briefly introduced the Khachaturian Trio, arguably one of the greatest in the world, and spoke about their success in numerous countries, including Russia, former soviet republics, Australia, China, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and many more.

Guzelian also referred to the Classical Music Development Foundation of Armenia, which was established by the K. Trio in 2010. Not only does the Foundation organize events to promote classical music, it also searches for talented children in different regions of Armenia from poor families to develop their musical talents.

The program consisted of works by Khachaturian, Komitas, Sayat Nova, Arno Babajanian, Alexander Harutiunian and Edward Mirzoyan.

During the concert, violinist Karen Shahgaldian, a member of the trio, announced that they would play an additional piece, Rachmaninov’s Vocalise dedicated to Vivienne Guzelian as an expression of gratitude for her support for the Classical Music Development Foundation of Armenia. “This happens to be one of Mrs. Guzelian’s favorite pieces,” said Shahgaldian.

Exactly four years ago, on 22 May 2010, the Khachaturian Trio gave its debut concert in this very hall again organized by the AGBU and dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Members of the Aram Khachaturian Trio

Armine Grigoryan graduated from the Tchaikovsky School of Music and the State Conservatory of Armenia in Yerevan. After completing her postgraduate studies under the guidance of Professors Georgy and Sergey Saradjian, Grigoryan appeared with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, performing piano concertos by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. As an accompanist, she has won special prizes at the Aram Khachaturian (1997) and Levon Chilingirian (2002) Competitions. She has also collaborated with the renowned violinist Nikolay Madoyan, performing versatile programs, including Beethoven’s 10 Sonatas. She has toured Russia, Italy, UAE, Germany, Lithuania, Lebanon, Cyprus and the US.

Grigoryan is a laureate of the Roma-2003 Piano Competition, where she also received a special prize and medal from the Chamber of Deputies of Rome. As a collaborative pianist, she has won special prizes at several International competitions. She has released a number of CDs, including the “Unknown Khachaturian” dedicated to the unknown works of the great composer. In 2005 for the first time in Armenia, she organized a festival of the Art of Accompaniment. As a jury member she has participated in a number of local and international competitions. Since 2012 she has been the honorary president of the Pianist-Teachers Association of Armenia. In 2013 she was awarded the Medal of the Ministry of Culture of Poland. She is a professor at Yerevan State Conservatory and, since 2004, has been director of the Aram Khachaturyan Museum.

A graduate of Moscow Conservatory (class of Viktor Tretyakov), violinist Karen Shahgaldian completed his postgraduate studies with Prof. Maya Glezarova. He has participated in master classes given by Menuhin, Spivakov, Zhislin and Chugaeva. From 1998 to 2002 he performed with members of the famous Moscow Virtuosi, under Vladimir Spivakov in 2003 and 2004. During the 2004-2005 season, he appeared as a soloist with various orchestras, playing a Stradivarius violin given to him on loan by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. He has played as a soloist in world famous halls, such as Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York, Royal Festival Hall, London, Bolshoy Hall, Moscow etc. He is a laureate of the International Pablo Sarasate Competition (Spain). He has won scholarships with the David Oistrach and Yuri Yankelevich Foundations, as well as the Mstislav Rostropovich International Foundation. He has toured widely throughout the USA, England, Sweden, South Korea, Armenia and Russia. (To find out more about him, visit www.shakh-music.com)

A graduate of the Yerevan Tchaikovsky School of Music (Class of Prof. Alexander Chaushyan) and Yerevan State Conservatory (class of Prof. Geronty Talalyan), Karen Kocharyan is one of the founding members of the Khachaturian Trio, the first solo cellist of the Armenian Chamber Players (ACP) and Associate Concertmaster of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. As a soloist he has toured with the Armenian Chamber Players and Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra throughout Europe. In 2005 Kocharyan, under the baton of conductor Alexander Ivashkin (UK), appeared as soloist with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2006 with Eduard Topchjan and the Pasadena LAC Symphony Orchestra he took part in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.

Kocharyan is an acclaimed chamber musician and as such collaborates with such renowned musicians as Yuri Zhislin, Boris Andrianov, Alexander Ghindin, Tamaki Kawakubo, Wolfgang Meyer, Zandra McMaster, Alessio Bax, Anton Sorokow, Diemut Poppen and Daishin Kashimoto.