BROOKINGS, S.D. — Hratch, “Maestro” Berberian, 91, of Brookings, SD, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and friends on August 15 in Richfield, MN.
Berberian was born in Athens, Greece on January 13, 1927. He began violin lessons at an early age under the tutelage of his father, famed Armenian composer Hampartzoum Berberian. Receiving a violin scholarship, he entered the Cesar Franck School of Music in Paris, graduating with highest honors. In 1957, he immigrated to the United States, and continued his studies at the Boston Conservatory, graduating with a Master of Music degree. While in Boston, he performed and toured with the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler.
He also performed with the Goldowsky Opera Orchestra, and the Pablo Casals Music Festival in Puerto Rico by special invitation for many seasons.
From 1967-1996, Berberian served as Professor of Music at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, SD and as concertmaster of the SDSU-Civic Symphony. He was instrumental in establishing the string program in the Department of Music.
While at SDSU, he further pursued doctoral studies in musicology at the University of Iowa. Berberian continued his performance career by concertizing extensively as a violinist in the Middle East, Europe and the US.
Berberian loved to compose music, and has written several compositions for strings.