YEREVAN — “It was beautiful: a smooth performance with very inspiring moments. All the result of preparation, an excellent orchestra, a great conductor, a gorgeous hall and an unparalleled feeling of representing Brazil at the home I’ve never been too — Armenia. And as a side note, the audience went crazy when, before the encore (an Armenian folk dance), still among echoes of bravo, I said, in Armenian, the following words: “I’m half Brazilian, half Armenian. My heart is Brazilian, but my soul is Armenian!”
This is what the young Brazilian- Armenian guitarist from New York, João Kouyoumdjian, wrote on his Facebook page after his concert with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra on December 14. It was organized by the Brazilian embassy in Yerevan and dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Brazil.
I first learned about Kouyoumdjian last year, when I was in New York. A friend gave me his photo which proudly announced his concert in the prestigious Carnegie Hall. Youtube videos and Facebook made the virtual acquaintance possible, until one day I saw this familiar name on one of the musical announcements of Yerevan and enjoyed his performance with our philharmonic orchestra conducted by Ruben Asatryan. The next day, at the home of a mutual friend, I ran the following interview with this young musician:
Artsvi Bakhchinyan (AB): João, yesterday you turned 29 and you had your first concert in Armenia. What are your feelings?
João Kouyoumdjian (JK): First of all, I feel very happy to be here in Armenia and I am also very content with yesterday’s concert. I think it was a marvelous thing to have a concert bridging Brazil and Armenia here in Yerevan, and I am glad I got support from the Brazilian embassy in Armenia, that they could invite me here to have this wonderful concert and to be a part of this great event.
AB: Was this your first performance with a symphonic orchestra?