LOS ANGELES — The celebration of the 80th birthday of composer Tigran Mansourian is an occasion both for reflection on the musical path he has traversed as well as to revisit select works from his hauntingly diverse repertoire in performance at a day-long event at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall on March 6.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Mansurian resettled in Armenia with his family after World War II, where he began to study music, soon distinguishing himself as a representative of the avant-garde constellation of Soviet composers that included Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, and Valentin Silvestrov. That generation boldly experimented with styles emanating from Western Europe, before branching out to develop the individual approaches that characterize their mature work. Mansurian’s complex evolutionary path thus becomes the subject of two round table discussions by musicologists, exploring first the vertical dimension of his affinities with the musical trajectory of his homeland, while at the same time situating his compositions horizontally within the broad spectrum of musical exchange between East and West in the modern and contemporary world. Presenters comprise Artur Avanesov (American University of Armenia, Yerevan), Elena Dubinets (artistic administrator of the Seattle Symphony), Lisa Cooper Vest (University of Southern California), Vatche Barsoumian (director of the Lark Musical Society, Glendale), together with A. J. Racy (UCLA) and Ian Krouse (UCLA) in a conversation moderated by S. Peter Cowe (UCLA).
The gala concert to follow opens with a pre-taped message of congratulations by the president of the Armenian Republic and welcoming remarks by the Armenian consul general in Los Angeles. The program embraces several of Mansurian’s masterpieces, including the US premiere of his acclaimed String Quintet, intercalated with compositions by his close friends Pärt, Schnittke and Silvestrov. Featured guest artists include principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and UCLA faculty Boris Allakhverdyan, Artur Avanesov (piano), the VEM String Quartet, Danielle Segen (mezzo-soprano), Antonio Lysy (cello), Varty Manouelian (violin), Movses Pogossian (violin), Miroslava Khomik (violin), Tiffany Wee (violin), James Lent (piano), Michael Kaufman (cello), James Bass, and the Seraphic Fire/UCLA Ensemble Artists.
The symposium will take place in the Popper Theater, 2-5:30 p.m., while the concert will be held in the adjacent Schoenberg Concert Hall, beginning at 8 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Self-service parking is available at UCLA’s Parking Structure #2.