GLENDALE — The Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) Los Angeles Chapter together with the Metro Los Angeles Chapter, organized a commemoration of the centennial of Armenian composer Arno Babajanian (1921-1983) at the hall of the Armenian Society of Los Angeles. More than 200 people attended the event.
The event was held under the auspices of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, who attended together with Fr. Zaven Markosyan. Guest of honor was the First Secretary of the Consulate General of the Republic of Iraq Aqeel Al-Sodanie, who attended with his family.
The evening began with the screening of a short documentary film about the second Artsakh war, in which Arno Babajanian’s song, Boys Who Are Not There [Dgherk, voronk chgan] was performed by the Little Singers of Armenia children’s choir, and a moment of silence was observed in memory of those who lost their lives in the war.
Professional musicians presented the audience with some of Babajanian’s compositions, including a string quartet composed of Armen Mangasaryan (first violin), Hovhannes Meghrikyan (second violin), Hovhannes Fishyan (viola), and Hovik Hovhannesian (cello), with Armine Ghazaryan on piano. Singers Anahit Nersesyan (soprano) and Suren Mkrtichyan (tenor) also participated.
Lilit Keheyan, a member of the board of the TCA Los Angeles chapter and a literary critic, helped organize the event and served as master of ceremonies. She said that many famous figures of culture and art have expressed admiration for Arno Babajanian, but quoted William Saroyan in particular. Babajanian wrote the music for the 1975 movie version of Saroyan’s play, “My Heart Is in the Highlands.”
The evening’s program included a performance of Babajanian’s songs Mer sireli Yerevan [Our Beloved Yerevan], Chknagh Yeraz [Wonderful Dream], Arajin Siro Yergeh [The First Love Song] and Im Yerevan [My Yerevan], the words of which were written by Aramayis Sahakyan and Vladimir Harutyunyan; Meghedi [Melody] performed by the string quartet; and two Russian songs sung by Suren Mkrtichyan, whose words were written by two famous Russian poets who were best friends of theArmenians – Robert Rozhdestvensky and Yevgeny Yevtushenko.