WASHINGTON – “Armenian Odyssey: The Color of Pomegranates” is the symbolic title of a series of cultural events that will start at the end of this week with the “Tribute to Sergei Parajanov” event in the nation’s capital. Sergei Parajanov (Sargis Parajaniants 1924-1990) is considered one of the most distinguished filmmakers of the 20th century. His masterpiece “The Color of Pomegranates” tells or rather visualizes the life of Sayat-Nova, the prominent Armenian poet and troubadour of 18th century. The event will take place at the Freer Gallery of Washington, where on the following day Professor Peter Rollberg will provide comments on the music arrangement by Aram Khachaturian used in cinematography and animation works. The renowned Armenian composer’s tracks were part of a whole range of movies and animations ranging from the first Armenian sound film “Pepo” (1935) to a famous series of cartoons, including “Ice Age: the Meltdown” (2006). Aram Khachaturian’s Clarinet Trio from Armenia will play his music at the event.
Another cinema-related activity will be arranged at the National Gallery of Art, where Joseph Horowitz, Milena Oganesyan and Kurt Jensen will speak about the legacy of Armenian-American movie maker Rouben Mamoulian (1897-1987). The Bible Museum will host an Armenian concert where the music of Komitas and contemporary musician Vache Sharafian will be performed.
The key event however, is on the evening of March 4 at Washington’s National Cathedral. “An Armenian Odyssey” mega concert by Washington’s Post Classical Ensemble will take place with participation of a legendary duduk player Jivan Gasparyan, world-renowned cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan and Armenian-Syrian artist Kevork Mourad. The world premiere performance is dedicated to the centennial of the diplomatic relations of the United States and Armenia. On a special note United States recognized the independent Republic of Armenia on April 23, 1920, when secretary of State Bainbridge Colby delivered a note to Garegin Pastermadjian, the representative of Armenia to Washington about President Wilson’s decision.
Anna Hakobyan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s wife, will attend the Armenian Odyssey. The Embassy of Armenia, in pursuit of this project, and this author have prepared a video on the Armenian cultural days in Washington.