By Marylinda Bozian-Cruickshank
Special to the Mirror-Specatator
NEW YORK — On October 8, the Armenian Youth Talent (AYT) finalists’ concert, dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Armenia’s Independence, took place at Weill Recital Hall. More than 20 young artists, finalists in piano, voice, cello, and violin, performed for a sold-out crowd.
The purpose of this annual concert is two-fold; to showcase the enormous talent of today’s youth and their accomplishments by granting them honorary and monetary awards, and then getting the opportunity to perform on the prestigious Carnegie Hall stage.
The AYT competition is organized by Direct Help for Armenian People (D.H.A.P.), and is conducted with the assistance of an advisory board of outstanding musicians, educators, and intellectuals. The president and founder, Dr. Svetlana Amirkhanian, felt compelled to promote talented children, both Armenian and non-Armenian, thus exposing these youth to the music of Mirzoyan, Khachaturyan, Babajanyan, and others.
As the hall started overflowing with parents, patrons and music enthusiasts, it was apparent that this concert had many supporters from the community. The children, in ages ranging from 5 to 17, either solo or in groups, children demonstrated talent, poise, and pride, as they appeared on stage. The concert started with actor Hovhannes Babakhanyan, reciting Sayat Nova, followed by the accomplished youths. Some of these young performers’ talents were readily apparent; cellist Laura Navasardian was one of them. Her talent was recognized by an anonymous patron who gifted her an Amati cello. Just recently has been accepted into Juilliard. Another was singer and performer Sareen Balian. Singing in Italian, then switching over to Broadway songs, she captivated the audience.