WATERTOWN — The Armenian Museum of America has launched its fourth online program called the “Sound Archive,” which is featured on its website and social media pages every month. The debut offering presents the full catalog of Mardiros Der Sarkis Tashjian and his brothers for the first time and is considered to be the earliest known Armenian sound recordings produced in the United States in the early 20th century.
To kick off the launch of the Sound Archive, the Armenian Museum is hosting its first-ever webinar with music researcher and collector Harout Arakelian on Thursday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. EST (4:30 pm PST). This online Zoom event is free and registration is required via Eventbrite at the following link: www.tinyurl.com/tashjianbrothers.
The content of the Sound Archive is supplemented with vintage images from the collection of Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, and their archivists have worked closely with volunteers from the Armenian Museum to create this original multi-media content.
“The music collection of the Armenian Museum is extensive, comprising of more than 3,000 records donated by members over the past 50 years,” notes Executive Director Jason Sohigian. “Volunteer Jesse Kenas-Collins has been digitizing and cleaning up the sound on these old recordings, some of which date back to the beginning of Armenian music in America. We are excited to preview this work online in an event with Harout Arakelian.”
Arakelian worked with Kenas-Collins, Harry Kezelian (staff writer for the Mirror-Spectator) and other researchers to document the stories behind some of these recordings, and the museum has begun posting these online, starting with the Tashjian Brothers. Arakelian will present some of this material during the webinar, including songs that have been restored. Some of the artists will include the Tashjian Brothers, Karekin Proodian, Armenag Shah-Mouradian, Torcom Bezazian and Nevart Dzeron Koshkarian.
“Harout has done similar events live at Abril Bookstore in Glendale,” adds Sohigian, “and these were hugely popular. So we are excited to host this public event on Zoom. We are sure it will be of interest for our members, fans of Armenian music, and collectors who have taken a renewed interest in these early recordings that were being lost to time.”