HOLLYWOOD — More than 250 concertgoers gathered at the Barnsdall Theater in Hollywood to enjoy the oud artistry of the legendary John Berberian and innovative next generation Antranig Kzirian on October 8.
The evening presented guests with a unique concept of art music, classical compositions, stories and traditions of Armenian folk, interpreted on the oud with the added seasoning of generational transfer between Berberian and Kzirian.
The concert’s program consisted of performance pieces accompanied by artists’ remarks which symbolized the elements of oral tradition imbued in the Armenian interpretation of oud and the American Armenian experience. Given the ongoing crisis in Artsakh, the concert also supported the ongoing relief efforts being coordinated by the Armenian Relief Society.
“On October 8 I had the pleasure of performing in concert with Antranig Kzirian. This was a duo-oud performance presented in L.A. to a capacity audience of music enthusiasts. An ‘East meets West’ production that was received with overwhelming enthusiasm and applause,” stated Berberian. “It was also a joy to see my longtime friends and music colleagues not to mention the warm reception and generous hospitality of my hosts, Lianna and Antranig Kzirian. All and all a fun filled and memorable weekend. Thank you to all for coming out to hear our music. Perhaps we can do it again sometime soon.”
Berberian and Kzirian performed together once before many years ago on November 11, 2006, at a Philadelphia AYF Anniversary dance, where Kzirian slid over to guitar, which was his first instrument, in honor of Berberian’s presence on the oud with Kzirian’s kef band “Aravod.” After their early collaboration, Kzirian and Berberian stayed in touch, culminating in Kzirian visiting Berberian in 2019 for an extended period of intensive oud study.
“When we spent time together back in 2019, eventually manifesting in a concert together as an oud duet always felt like the organic next step. It was such a pleasure to perform with John — he’s one of the most influential and pioneering oud players,” stated Kzirian. “To be able to share the stage with such a luminary and one of our true links to Oudi Hrant Kenkulian was extraordinarily special.”