BOSTON — The Friends of Armenian Culture Society (FACS) will present the 59th annual Armenian Night at the Pops on Saturday, June 19 at 8 p.m. at Symphony Hall. The evening will feature renowned pianist Armen Babakhanian in a performance of the Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin, as well as an excerpt from Aram Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto. Music director Keith Lockhart will conduct the celebrated Boston Pops orchestra, and share the podium with conductor Aram Demrijian in a tribute concert for the 125th anniversary of the orchestra.
Babakhanian is the laureate of several of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions, including the Van Cliburn, Leeds International, Gina Bauchauer, Dublin International and the World Piano Competition. He has appeared as soloist with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Irish National Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra (USA), Dallas Symphony, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov and Moscow Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev.
Demirjian has performed extensively as a conductor of orchestras, opera and contemporary ensembles. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he served for two seasons as music director of the Harvard Bach Society Orchestra, and earned a joint degree in Music and Government. In 2009, he was chosen to conduct in a concert engagement with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams, as part of a colloquium on the composer’s masterpiece, The Wound Dresser. Later that year, Demirjian’s achievements earned him an invitation to guest conduct Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble, performing the Silk Road-commissioned work, Night Music: Voices from the
Leaves, by Uzbek composer Dimitri Yanov-Yanovsky as part of a 60th-anniversary commemoration of the signing of the Human Rights Accord. In addition to orchestral music, Aram is active as an opera conductor, having led the Dunster House Opera Society in performances of Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land,” and more recently the New England Concert Opera Players in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro,” a charitable venture with the Partners in Health: Symphonic Relief for Haiti program.
In March 2009, he was selected by conductor Hugh Wolff as one of only three conductors to be a part of the inaugural class in the Master’s in Orchestral Conducting Program at NewEngland Conservatory.