Conductor Raffi Mikaelian

Honoring Aram Khachaturian in Burbank: A Triumph of Culture and Resilience


By Sevan Boghos-Derbedrossian

BURBANK, Calif. — St. Leon Cathedral in Burbank was the site of an homage to a musical genius on December 3. The occasion marked the 120th anniversary of the birth of composer Aram Khachaturian, celebrated through a concert organized by the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church’s Zvartnots Cultural Committee.

Dr. Simon Simonian, chair of the Zvartnots Cultural Committee, commenced the evening with an impassioned address. He articulated the resilience of the Armenian people in the face of historical challenges, emphasizing the vital role of the Armenian Church in safeguarding the rich tapestry of Armenian culture and heritage. His words echoed a profound truth: that amidst adversity, culture stands as a beacon, guiding and preserving the essence of a people.

Dr. Simon Simonian

Under the baton of conductor Raffi Mikaelian, the program unfolded, weaving together beloved selections from Khachaturian’s iconic ballets “Gayane” and “Spartacus.” The ethereal performances by the Voce Dell Orchestra and the enchanting harmonies of the Shnorhali Choir under the guidance of Deacon Arthur Vartanian breathed life into Khachaturian’s timeless compositions. Applause reverberated through the hallowed halls, a testament to the sheer delight and admiration felt by all present.

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, extended heartfelt gratitude to Raffi Mikaelian, the orchestra, and the choir for their breathtaking renditions.

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian speaking, front left, facing conductor Raffi Mikaelian, with the Shnorhali Choir in the background

In honoring Khachaturian, the concert became a testament to the endurance of culture, an affirmation that through the darkest of times, the light of artistry and heritage continues to shine brightly, illuminated by the brilliance of the past.

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