Violinist Armen Boyajian

Concert to Honor New Diocesan Primate

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Grammy Nominee Lexington composer Hayg Boyadjian’s composition Armenian Suite will be performed at a concert Sunday, August 25, at 1:30 p.m. at St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church, Binghamton, by violinist Armen Boyajian and pianist Pej Reitz. They will also perform works by Komitas as well as Armenian folk melodies.

The event is to honor Bishop Daniel Findikyan, who was recently elected Primate for the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.

Reitz and Boyajian are both Binghamton, N.Y. natives and attended Binghamton University. Reitz also studied at Boston University and the New England Conservatory of Music; Boyajian attended the Eastman School of Music.

Reitz has accompanied at concerts in the US, Great Britain, Austria, and South America and is on the faculty at Binghamton University and Ithaca College.

Boyajian is also a jazz pianist and founded Air Apparent in 1979 in Washington, DC, performing at Blues Alley, Carter Barron Amphitheatre, New York City, Baltimore, Augusta, Ga. and Charlotte, NC.

Boyadjian’s Armenian Suite was first written as a commissioned work for trombone and piano. The composer then realized that the work had potential for different versions for different instruments, as the present one for violin and piano, including one for symphonic orchestra which became recorded on CD, “Opus One CD #198”.

Pianist Pej Reitz

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The suite uses a set of Armenian folk melodies (songs and dances). Twelve melodies are quoted, either in full, or in part, or with minor changes. All the melodies are single voiced and the composer’s duty was to add harmony to them and work out musical material for transitions from one melody to the next, taking into account the changes in tonality, rhythm and tempo. The melodies range from the religious (spiritual), to the patriotic, to the idyllic (shepherd’s song), to the nostalgic (The Crane), to the happy dance (Tamzara).

Regarding the suite the composer wrote; “Armenian folk music is like most eastern music, often modal (especially the Dorian mode), or in a minor key, sometimes combining two minor keys. These melodies often use complex and uneven meters in their rhythms. My task was to make a coherent whole of this diverse material. Since my musical training as a composer has been in the tradition of western music, I decided, and found interesting to combine the eastern and the western musical traditions in the melodic and harmonic language of this suite.”

The concert is free.

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