Musical Luminary Vatsche Barsoumian Reflects on Haigazian Experience


LOS ANGELES  — Conductor Vatsche Barsoumian, founder and director of the acclaimed Lark Musical Society in Glendale, welcomes more than 200 students each year to the world of music.

As stated in their mission statement, “ LARK serves as the musical and cultural brain trust for the Armenian community in Los Angeles – at LARK, music is studied, researched, created, published, felt, and performed by young and old. Through the beauty of music we will win the hearts and minds of our children and our community and this will strengthen our roots and preserve the Armenian identity in Los Angeles.”

Barsoumian is a proud graduate of Haigazian University in Beirut, Lebanon. “I had the opportunity to experience Haigazian both as a student and later as a member of its faculty, giving me a unique and intimate perspective on what makes it such a fine institution,” said Barsoumain. “As a young man, Haigazian immersed me in cultural and intellectual academics — all international in scope, while deeply rooted in the Armenian perspective.”

Barsoumian reminisces, “I was particularly fortunate not only to be the beneficiary of the university’s superb academic program, but through their efforts, I was sent to the United States to further my musical studies. I believe I was the first, if not the only alumnus to receive this incredible support. Such a privilege would not have been possible if generous benefactors like [Stephen] Philibosian, [John] Markarian, [Herair] Mouradian, and the AMAA trustees were calculating quick returns on their investments.”

“Such action on the part of Haigazian University gave me the soundest lesson and shaped my professional career: That giving is a fact of life. A necessity for some, a source of unexplainable joy for others — the giving individual sets a living example and serves as a learning model for its beneficiaries as they aspire in their own life and practice. The Armenian communities in the diaspora have a particular mission, which can only be sustained by this practice. If it means anything for us to be Armenians, there is no better way of giving than to foster that legacy from generations before.”

Established in 1955, the only Armenian University in the diaspora, Haigazian offers a broad liberal-arts curriculum with a strong emphasis on diversity, offering Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as well as a teaching diploma. Over the decades, thousands of bright students have graduated from Haigazian University, many of whom have become the leaders of the Armenian and non-Armenian Communities both in the Diaspora and in our Motherland, Armenia.

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On October 3, 2015, the greater Los Angeles Armenian community will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Haigazian with a black tie gala at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Grammy award-winning tenor and conductor Plácido Domingo will sing the title role of Woody Allen’s production of Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” then take to the podium to conduct the stunning “Pagliacci.” An elegant Gala Supper will be held in the iconic Grand Hall following the performance.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


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