NEW YORK — On November 3, hundreds of guests gathered at the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall to listen to the ninth Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Performing Artists in Concert. Dedicated to the 85th anniversary of the Union of Composers of Armenia, the concert, the flagship event of the AGBU New York Special Events Committee (NYSEC), raised more than $50,000 for the AGBU performing arts initiatives worldwide.
This year, along with young musicians, the concert featured tenor Berj Karazian, an Honored Artist of Armenia and a soloist of the Yerevan State Opera Theater, and conductor and pianist Vahan Mardirossian, who served as the artistic director of the concert.
“Carnegie Hall is a dream stage for many musicians,” said Berj Karazian who studied at the AGBU Lazar Najarian-Calouste Gulbenkian School growing up in Aleppo, Syria, and later received a scholarship from AGBU to master his vocal skills at the Yerevan State Conservatory. “It is important that tonight’s concert features Armenian artists from all over the world who have had AGBU’s support for years.”
AGBU Performing Arts Scholarship recipients from Armenia, France, Lebanon, Switzerland and the United States, including Tamar Eskenian (shvi/flute), Lusiné Harutyunyan (violin), Ani Karapetyan (violin), Albert Newberry (piano), Cara Pogossian (viola), Edvard Pogossian (cello), and Matthew Taylor (dance), formed this year’s ensemble. They are students or graduates of well-known educational institutions, such as Haute École de Musique in Lausanne, the Yerevan State Conservatory, London’s Royal Academy of Music, Mannes School of Music in New York, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, the Juilliard School and the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
“For the first time this year, we expanded the scope of the AGBU Performing Artists in Concert introducing an interdisciplinary collaboration with a dancer,” said Hayk Arsenyan, director of the AGBU Performing Arts Department. “By featuring the new generation of talented Armenian artists, the concert creates artistic opportunities for performers and builds enduring bonds for future collaboration.”
The eclectic program comprised favorites of Western classical and Armenian music, including Beethoven, Chopin, Dvo?ák, Schuman, Tigranyan and Mirzoyan. It also included three premieres: Waltz by Aram Satyan, president of the Union of Composers of Armenia, who specially arranged the piece for the chamber ensemble of the evening, Newberry’s Shalakho and Alexandr Iradyan’s Frames. The latter earned Iradyan the special Carnegie Hall Award in the 2016 AGBU Sayat Nova International Composition Competition. The dazzling evening captivated the audience, drawing a standing ovation.