PASADENA, Calif. — The VEM Quartet of the University of California Los Angeles, performed for students of the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School on Friday, January 11, in an inspiring and educational program under the guidance of artistic director Professor Movses Pogossian.
The musical ensemble, composed of all non-Armenian performers, played a range of classical music by renowned composers Aram Khatchatourian, Komitas Vartabed, and Edvard Mirzoyan, including selections from the “Gayane” ballet (Dance of the Rose Maidens and Lezginka) and Miniatures for the String Quartet (Shogher Jan and Gakavik).
In an effort to celebrate the culture and influence of Armenian music, this concert was part of VEM Quartet’s outreach service to the greater community. A graduate string-quartet-in-residence at the prestigious University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) Herb Alpert School of Music, the VEM ensemble is composed of diverse and gifted group members who offer quality music to the public, including violinists Ji Eun Hwang, Aiko Jimena Richter and Morgan O’Shaughnessey as well as cellist Jason Pegis and mezzo-soprano Danielle Segin.
In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Silva Karayan, chair of the Board of Trustees Education Committee of the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School, noted the “special and unique occasion” of the VEM Quartet’s live performance that brings to life the vibrancy of Armenian music.
“We are proud and delighted to have the VEM Quartet perform for our students,” said Karayan. “The beauty of today’s program is that the performers, led by the award-winning Professor Pogossian, are all young and talented musicians of diverse backgrounds.”
Karayan emphasized the importance of a “well-rounded education for students” and the significance that music plays in this endeavor. She expressed gratitude to “generous benefactors” Vatche and Tamar Manoukian, who spearheaded the construction of the Performing Arts Center, which serves as a state-of-the-art venue for Armenian cultural performances, such as the VEM Quartet, to take place for the student body in order to expand their minds.