BOSTON — The Friends of Armenian Culture Society in collaboration with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will present a special concert on Sunday, October 18 at 3 p.m. to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian genocide. The event will take place at Jordan Hall of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
“Resilient Voices: 1915–2015” will feature the Boston premiere of Tigran Mansurian’s monumental Requiem, composed and dedicated to the victims of the Armenian genocide.
Joining forces with the orchestra will be the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum and the Boston University Marsh Chapel Choir, all under the direction of BMOP music director Gil Rose.
In addition to the Requiem, the concert will also feature music by Komitas Vartabed to mark the 70th anniversary of the passing of the iconic priest-composer (October 22, 1935 in Paris); a rarely performed work by Boston’s own Alan Hovhaness titled Khrimian Hairig, and the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich with Nareh Arghamanyan as piano soloist.
Born in 1939 in Beirut, Lebanon, Mansurian is arguably Armenia’s foremost composer. The Los Angeles Times has described him as a “composer of music in which deep cultural pain is quieted through an eerily calm, heart-wrenching beauty….It is music that doesn’t so much transcend suffering as absorb it, become one with it.” The Requiem was commissioned by the Munich Chamber Orchestra; it was composed in 2009 and received its world premiere in Berlin in 2011 to critical acclaim.
Khrimian Hairig is a tribute to Mkrticih Khirimian, the Patriarch of Armenians in Istanbul who later became Catholicos of All Armenians in 1892. It was in this last capacity that Hairig ordained Komitas, future composer and musicologist, as a celibate priest in 1894. Khrimian earned the title of Hairig (“Father” in Armenian) by the people of Armenian provinces of the Ottoman Empire for his relentless efforts to bring about social and economic reforms. In the words of the prolific composer, the work, composed in October of 1944 for trumpet and string orchestra, was “inspired by a portrait of the heroic priest who led the Armenian people through many persecutions.”
Highly acclaimed for her unique style, colorful tone and dazzling virtuosity, Arghamanyan is one of the promising talents of her generation. A laureate of many international piano competitions, including first prize winner at the 2008 Montreal International Music Competition, Arghamanyan is a regular guest at international festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Festival de Lanaudière, Marlboro Festival and Singapore Piano Festival. She attended Tanglewood Music Festival in 2008 as a Fellow of the Friends of Armenian Culture Society, following an outstanding appearance with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Nareh works with noted conductors including Alain Altinoglu, John Axelrod, Stefan Blunier, Carl St. Clair, Sir Neville Marriner, Michael Sanderling, Jean-Marie Zeitouni and Christoph Poppen. She has 3 recordings with the Pentatone label. Her latest recording, released in 2014, includes the Piano Concerto No. 3 of Prokofiev and the Khachaturian Piano Concerto, with the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin and Altinoglu.
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) is the premier orchestra in the United States dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Founded by Artistic Director Gil Rose in 1996, BMOP has championed composers whose careers span nine decades. BMOP’s distinguished and adventurous track record includes premieres and recordings of monumental and provocative new works such as John Harbison’s ballet Ulysses, Louis Andriessen’s Trilogy of the Last Day, and Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers. A perennial winner of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the orchestra has been featured at festivals including Opera Unlimited, the Ditson Festival of Contemporary Music with the ICA/Boston, Tanglewood, the Boston Cyberarts Festival, the Festival of New American Music (Sacramento, CA), Music on the Edge (Pittsburgh, PA), and the MATA Festival in New York. BMOP has actively pursued a role in music education through composer residencies, collaborations with colleges, and an ongoing relationship with the New England Conservatory, where it is Affiliate Orchestra for New Music. BMOP/sound, BMOP’s independent record label, was created in 2008 and has garnered praise from the national and international press; it is the recipient of five Grammy Award nominations and its releases have appeared on the year-end “Best of” lists of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Time Out New York, American Record Guide, Downbeat Magazine, WBUR, NewMusicBox, and others.
For more information about the Resilient Voices project, visit www.FACSBoston.org.