YEREVAN / NEW YORK CITY – Armen Ra (Hovanesian, born 1969, in Tehran) has engaged in various professions throughout his life: jewelry designer, performance artist, theremin player, production designer, director, composer and performer. He has performed and recorded with various bands and on many projects. His debut solo CD “Plays the Theremin” (Bowl & Fork Records, 2010) showcases many classical Armenian laments and folk songs. In 2015, he released “Theremin Classique,” a collection of European arias. Armen plays on the debut album of Sharon Needles, for Aurelio Voltaire’s album “Raised by Bats” (2014); he was featured on Selena Gomez’s Revival on the track “Me and My Girls,” on Gwen Stefani’s album on the track “Naughty” (both in 2016), on track 11 “Supernatural” of BØRNS’ Blue Madonna. He has a cameo appearance in the film “Party Monster” and in “Tomorrow Always Comes” (2006). Armen’s recording of Dle Yaman was used for the video of designer Michael Schmidt’s 3-D gown in 2015.
He composed music for the films “Connect” (2010) and “Hara Kiri” (2016), was production designer for the film “Excision” (2012).
He made also promotional videos for electropop artist BØRNS, titled “The Search for the Lost Sounds” and “The Faded Heart Sessions,” Derek Sherinian’s Album “The Pheonix” (2020) and the “Vortex” (2022) to mention few.
He has performed all over the US and Europe at High end private events and concerts at MOMA NYC, Lincoln Center, Disney Concert Hall LA, Villa Petriolo Florence, Musé Rodin Paris for The Dior Haute Couture ball, the Broad Museum, and countless private events throughout the world.
Hailed as one of the best thereminists in the world, and the highest paid theremin artist in history, among his theremin CDs are: “Theremin Amerique, the American songbook,” “Theremin Christmas,” “Theremin Discmorphia,” “Sacred Meditation,” which consists of several Armenian divine liturgy pieces, and the single Cold Song by Purcell.
Dear Armen, you are from an artistic family. Your grandmother Arax Makarian was the first makeup artist in Iran, whose book of memoirs I have read with pleasure. I am friends with your mother, pianist Ruzanna Makarian-Hovanesian and your aunt, soloist of Iranian opera Shake Makarian, as well as your sister Armineh Hovanesian, who is engaged in artistic photography. No wonder you possess so many artistic skills. However, how do you characterize yourself?