Lusie Arakelyan with students

Young Armenian Musicians Delight Audiences in Vienna and Berlin


VIENNA and BERLIN — Music lovers in Europe are not surprised when they discover an Armenian or two among the performers in the orchestra or chorus on stage at a classical concert. Now and again there are special guest performances of soloists, or dancers that tour Europe, like the famous Geghard dance ensemble. But it is highly unusual to attend a concert of young Armenian children. In late June-early July, just such a rare treat was offered in Vienna and Berlin, as a group of music students from Yerevan displayed their talents.

Meri Mikayelyan

Both concerts took place in churches, in Vienna it was the St. Hripsime church on June 27 and in Berlin, the Paul Gerhadt Evangelical Parish on July 1. The youngsters are all students at the Alexey Hekimian Music school in Yerevan, and are 14 years old or younger. The classical concert, with Armenian works and the European repertoire, was organized on the occasion of the 2800th anniversary of Erebuni-Yerevan, and received the support of Sergey Avetisyan (Vienna), Abraam Kostanyan, Restaurant Yerevan and Artak Kirakosyan (Berlin). The concert in the German capital was organized under the auspices of the Association of the European and Armenian Experts e.V. – AEAE. The aim of the visit was to build cultural bridges between German and Armenian musicians from the younger generation and to provide them experience in artistic performance.

The ambitious program offered vocal and instrumental music, performed by soloists as well as ensembles, and in several languages. Among the vocal soloists were Izabella Brutyan who presented Pietro Labriol’s Welle, Welle, Vivian Gharibyan with Enrico Cannio’s Farewell, Carme, Kristina Zakaryan with Franz Weckerlen’s Serenade, Karine Avetisyan who sang Drigo’s Serenade, and Narek Sahakyan who performed Groong by Komitas.

Narek Sahakyan

From the Italian repertoire, Augustin Lara sang an aria from Verdi‘s opera “Rigoletto” and Narek Sahakyan sang Augustin Lara’s Granada.

Among the ensemble pieces were Komitas‘s Dance Songs of the Armenian Peasant, performed by a vocal quintet, who also presented the Armenian folk song Nubar Nubar. Kristina Zakaryan, Izabella Brutyan, and Vivian Gharibyan performed Swallow by Komitas. Alexej Hekimian’s Good-natured Stork was presented by Vivian Gharibyan and Kristina Avetisyan. Narek Sahakyan joined in a duet with Kristina Zakaryan to sing Franz Lehar‘s Lippen schweigen and with Vivian Gharibyan in Vincenzo di Chiara’s La Spagnola.

Instrumental soloists included pianists Anna Nazaryan with Georg Friedrich Händel’s Passacaglia, Hasmik Manukyan with E. Abrahamyan’s Prelude in E-flat major and Garnik Hayrapetyan with Arno Babajanyan’s Humoresque. Traditional Armenian instruments were also featured, with Meri Mikayelyan on the kanoun, playing a Hungarian Dance by Johannes Brahms and the folk dance melody, Erzrum‘s Lullaby, and on the santur, Tsovak Hambardzumyan’s Dance of Trabizon and Ashot Satyan’s If you know it?

The Vocal Quintet

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At the end of the concert in Berlin, the audience, standing, joined in to sing Erebuni-Yerevan, some with tears in their eyes. The youngsters received enthusiastic applause in both concerts. Members of the audience expressed their delight and amazement at the combination of natural talent and accomplished musical skills that the youngsters displayed. Young Narek Sahakyan, a “little Caruso,” was the star of the show. Singer Lusine Arakelyan, who accompanied the group, had good reason to be proud of her students, who were among the performers.

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