BOSTON — Anthony M. “Artie” Barsamian of Boston died in Florida on February 22, at the age of 83.

He was the son of the late Mihran and Antaram (Manoogian) Barsamian.

He leaves behind his wife of 58 years, Cynthia (Hamparian) Barsamian, children, Laura Barsamian and her husband, Michael Szymanowski, and Arthur Barsamian and his wife, Debra; grandchildren, Michael and Anastasia Barsamian; siblings, Virginia Tashjian and her husband, Jake, Varney Haroutunian and her husband, Edward, Mike Barsamian and his wife, Kaye, and Edward J. Barsamian. He also leaves many nieces, nephews, friends and fans.

A brother, Vahan Barsamian, predeceased him.

Barsamian touched the lives of many with his inspiration and musical talent.

He was an army veteran who served in World War II.

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At the age of 9, Barsamian decided to study the clarinet. He not only mastered the clarinet, but also the saxophone and flute. His father, a violinist, realized that his son had a special talent and encouraged him to study privately.

During World War II, he was asked by the school faculty to be part of their show. He was a sensation, 17 years old with a 17-piece orchestra. After graduating in 1946, he traveled through the Mid-West playing gigs during 1948-49. He returned home in the early 1950s and with his father, put together the original Artie Barsamian Orchestra. He recorded his first record, “Haigagan March” and received favorable reviews. In the late 1950s, his father died suddenly. Losing his father made Barsamian determined to dedicate the rest of his life to fulfill his father’s wishes to keep the music of his ancestors alive in America.

He recorded numerous singles in the form of 78-RPM discs, and then finally formed an orchestra to record his first full album, the legendary “Seventh Veil.” The group became popular in Armenian-American communities from coast to coast. Barsamian was dubbed the “King of Armenian Swing,” with the band recording 14 albums of Near-Eastern music. His band performed at venues which included the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

Barsamian’s heritage of Armenian and American culture made his music and talent unique.

The funeral was held at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church, 38 Elton Ave., Watertown on Wednesday, February 29. Interment followed in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Boston.

Arrangements were made by the Giragosian Funeral Home.

Expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to the Armenian Women’s Welfare Association, (Nursing Home), P.O. Box 191, Belmont, MA 02478.


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