Levon Chaushyan

In Memory of Levon Chaushyan

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By Konstantin Petrossian

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Sad news came from Yerevan. Prominent Armenian composer, public figure and pedagogue Levon Chaushyan died suddenly. He was an Honored Art Worker of the Republic of Armenia, endowed with the Movses Khorenatsi Gold Medals of the Yerevan Municipality, numerous awards from abroad and diplomas. Professor of the Yerevan Komitas Conservatory, head of its Composition Department, and chairman of its board of trustees, Chaushyan as a renowned composer has been repeatedly invited to lead the juries of various international music festivals. His symphonic, instrumental, and chamber works have been performed on different stages of the world, his works have been published many times, and form a golden fund of Armenian music.

Chaushyan was born in Yerevan in 1946. After graduating from the Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan as a composer and pianist, he has been teaching at the same conservatory since 1973. From 1979 to 1991, he was the secretary and vice president of the executive of the Composers Union of Armenia. In 1995 with a group of composers, he founded the Armenian Music Assembly, of which he was the undisputed president until the end of his life.

Due to his energetic activity, numerous festivals and concerts of Armenian music were organized in Armenia and other countries, where works by Armenian composers were performed, including many premieres. Through his efforts, the musical scores of Armenian composers were published and CDs in different genres were distributed all over the world.

During the first years of independence of the Republic of Armenia, he headed the Armenian Symphony Music Center, supporting the performance of works by Armenian composers. Chaushyan is the author of many symphonic, chamber, and vocal works. He always responded to the life of our people with his works. I want to mention his song Dzon Hayrenikeen [Ode to the Fatherland], which was performed in different countries and is fitting to be called an anthem.

It is worth recalling his symphonic poem, piano concerto, sonatas, and vocal and choral music. It is especially worth mentioning his seven string quartets, the first incomparable performer of which was the glorious Komitas Quartet. His last, seventh quartet was dedicated to the memory of his beloved wife Gohar.

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Levon Chaushyan is connected to me through some 60 years of close friendship. We grew up together, entering the life’s course, and we always worked together, doing our best for the development of Armenian music. Many episodes from our lives remain vivid for me and can never be erased from my memory. Chaushyan was a very smart, cultivated, kind and very modest man. He was well respected and had a wide circle of friends. He was especially loved by many of his students. He was always ready to reach out to anyone who needed help, support, or counsel.

For many years he headed a commission for supporting young musicians under the aegis of the president of the Republic of Armenia. He was really a great Armenian, always experiencing the emotions of his people.

Chaushyan’s contribution to the development of Armenian music is invaluable. His monumental contributions to Armenian music eternally adorn the heights of our art. These days, we – his friends, relatives and the whole Armenian music world – mourn the tragic loss of our dear, unforgettable friend, the great Armenian composer Levon Chaushyan. He still had big plans, which remained incomplete. And it is our duty to fulfill them, keeping his immortal memory alive. Rest in peace in the light of the Divine, our dear friend.

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