Getting to the Heart of Komitas


KomitasBookLONDON — Triumphs, conflicts and death camp; trauma and seclusion — readers can learn about the great musician Komitas Vartabed’s successful career and the crucial episodes in his extraordinary life in Komitas, The Artist and the Martyr by Serge Momjian.

Komitas is the skillful artist-priest who tours the remote villages in his homeland, collecting and transcribing folk songs. His secular performances of Armenian sacred music, which are widely acclaimed, put him on a collision course with his church’s clergy, opening the gates of hell upon him. On the night of April 24, 1915 — known as Red Sunday — Komitas is arrested along with 200 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders and deported far inland by the Ottoman government as a prelude to a premeditated plan to annihilate the Armenian population of Anatolia. Though he is among the few who are reprieved, the terrible nightmare he has experienced, from which he never mentally recovers, takes him into asylums, where he spends the last 20 years of his life.

Serge Momjian studied journalism in London and then attended a degree course in fiction writing. Since then he has worked as a reporter, covering arts and culture for major publications, including Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper and London’s Events news magazine. He devoted his time to writing novels by the time he reached his 40s. His works include Conflicting Motives, The Invisible Line, The Singer of the Opera and Memories of the Past, all published in London. Komitas, The Artist and The Martyr is written in commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.

The book, published in March by Janus Publishing, is available from its website,


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