YEREVAN — This week, pianist Sahan Arzruni was awarded Armenia’s highest distinction for the fine arts: the Movses Khorentsi Medal, conferred by the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serge Sargisian. The citation accompanying the medal, which recognizes “outstanding achievements in the spheres of culture, art, literature, education, social sciences, and sports,” noted Arzruni’s lifelong efforts to strengthen the cultural ties between the Armenia homeland and the Armenian diaspora.
Arzruni began exploring the musical roots of his heritage in the mid-1970s, when he headlined a series of lecture-recitals at the initiation of the Armenian General Benevolent Union. His appearances before AGBU’s numerous international chapters revealed Arzruni as a worldwide authority on Armenian music, and as a master of its concert performance.
Performing and promoting the works of Armenian composers has been a driving force in Sahan Arzruni’s artistic career in the subsequent four decades. He has championed the music of his compatriots across the globe, in countless recitals and more than a dozen recordings. His special studies of Komitas and Khachaturian are widely acknowledged for their excellence; but it is Arzruni’s embrace of a broad range of lesser-known composers that has resulted in his most profound, lasting influence on the acceptance and appreciation of Armenian music around the world.