BOSTON — The Friends of Armenian Culture Society in collaboration with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will present a special concert on Sunday, October 18 at 3 p.m. to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian genocide. The event will take place at Jordan Hall of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
“Resilient Voices: 1915–2015” will feature the Boston premiere of Tigran Mansurian’s monumental Requiem, composed and dedicated to the victims of the Armenian genocide.
Joining forces with the orchestra will be the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum and the Boston University Marsh Chapel Choir, all under the direction of BMOP music director Gil Rose.
In addition to the Requiem, the concert will also feature music by Komitas Vartabed to mark the 70th anniversary of the passing of the iconic priest-composer (October 22, 1935 in Paris); a rarely performed work by Boston’s own Alan Hovhaness titled Khrimian Hairig, and the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich with Nareh Arghamanyan as piano soloist.
Born in 1939 in Beirut, Lebanon, Mansurian is arguably Armenia’s foremost composer. The Los Angeles Times has described him as a “composer of music in which deep cultural pain is quieted through an eerily calm, heart-wrenching beauty….It is music that doesn’t so much transcend suffering as absorb it, become one with it.” The Requiem was commissioned by the Munich Chamber Orchestra; it was composed in 2009 and received its world premiere in Berlin in 2011 to critical acclaim.
Khrimian Hairig is a tribute to Mkrticih Khirimian, the Patriarch of Armenians in Istanbul who later became Catholicos of All Armenians in 1892. It was in this last capacity that Hairig ordained Komitas, future composer and musicologist, as a celibate priest in 1894. Khrimian earned the title of Hairig (“Father” in Armenian) by the people of Armenian provinces of the Ottoman Empire for his relentless efforts to bring about social and economic reforms. In the words of the prolific composer, the work, composed in October of 1944 for trumpet and string orchestra, was “inspired by a portrait of the heroic priest who led the Armenian people through many persecutions.”