NEW YORK — On December 6, nine performers and hundreds of guests gathered at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall for this year’s AGBU New York Special Events Committee (NYSEC) Performing Artists in Concert. The evening of music was held in honor of composer Tigran Mansurian’s 75th birthday and raised more than $60,000 for performing arts initiatives worldwide.
The evening’s program featured Armenian musicians from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, eight of whom were first time participants in the concert series. The performers were all recipients of AGBU Performing Arts scholarships, which have allowed them to study at prestigious institutions like the Juilliard School of Music in New York, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan.
The musicians making up this year’s international ensemble included: Samvel Arakelyan (violin), Narek Arutyunian (clarinet), Grigor Khachatryan (piano), Lilit Kurdiyan (cello), Nune Melikian (violin), Edvard Pogossian (cello), Veronika Vardpatrikyan (viola), Lauren Williams (oboe) and Sarkis Zakarian (piano). About his participation in the concert, Pogossian said: “Taking part in this concert was such a great experience for me and it was wonderful to get to know the Armenian community in New York. The financial support AGBU has given me is beyond generous and I can’t say thank them enough for it!”
Zakarian, who recently launched the AGBU London Chamber Orchestra, also served as the artistic director for the evening and was delighted to be part of the event: “It was a pleasure to meet all the other wonderful musicians and work together to prepare the program. This was a wonderful opportunity for all of us, not only to perform at the Carnegie Hall, but also to meet and collaborate together.”
The concert was composed of an eclectic selection of Western classical and Armenian music. It was also the New York premiere of recently discovered early works by Aram Khachaturian, provided by the Khachaturian Piano Trio, and two little known pieces published in the 1930s by Alexander Spendiaryan, which were generously provided by the director of the Spendiaryan Museum, Marine Otaryan. The evening also featured a tribute to Tigran Mansurian and a special performance of some of his works.