Tigran Mardanyan at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall

BOSTON — Many stars have graced the stage of Carnegie Hall, including Armenians such as Charles Aznavour, Tigran Hamasyan, and the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra. Joining their ranks on March 3, will be pianist Tigran Mardanyan, 20, performing in Musical Armenia, the annual concert presented by the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America. The program features composer and pianist Grigori Balasanyan who will be playing some of his own compositions and Khachaturian, while Mardanyan will be performing pieces by Mozart, Carl Vine, and Franck.

Mardanyan is a native of Yerevan, Armenia, and is currently a third year student at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee under the tutelage of Michael Lewin. Boston Conservatory at Berklee is widely considered among the top 10 universities in the United States for music. In Armenia, Mardanyan studied at the Alexander Spendiaryan Specialized Music School with Professor Vagharshak Harutyunyan. Mardanyan’s journey from Armenia to Boston was rather unexpected – he had not planned to study in the U.S. but, upon encouragement from his family, applied and was accepted to the Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Classical Piano Performance faculty. It’s a rather small department, comprising roughly 40 students, with Mardanyan among the few Armenians at the school.

“But that’s slowly changing, and I’m all the more happy for it. We have lots of Armenians from the U.S., and more students from Armenia are becoming interested in attending,” Tigran noted.

In his first years at university, Mardanyan has already managed to stand out among the crowd. He was the winner of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee 2021-22 Churchill Piano Competition as well as the Boston Conservatory at Berklee 2021-22 Concerto Competition. His victory in the latter gave him the opportunity to perform Rachmaninoff’s 1st Piano Concerto at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall with the Boston Conservatory Orchestra. His performance was under the baton of conductor Bruce Hangen, artistic director and conductor of the Vista Philharmonic Orchestra, director of orchestral activities, and professor of conducting at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Mardanyan’s chance to perform with the Boston Conservatory is an honor that is only bestowed upon the sole student who wins the concerto competition that year, which he won in 2021–2022.

“Being able to perform at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall with the entire conservatory’s orchestra is not something that you can do easily…you have to work really hard and earn your spot,” Mardanyan reflected.

And he has continued to work hard, gathering the attention of both faculty and his peers, which is what led to his invitation to join Balasanyan at Carnegie Hall for their upcoming concert. The two of them are both enrolled at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and had been in touch through their Armenian connection and the music world even prior to their studies in the United States.

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“One day in early December, I received a message from Grigori asking, ‘How would you feel about performing in Carnegie Hall?’ Of course, I told him I was interested!” Tigran explained. The two of them will be performing for Musical Armenia, an annual program established by Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian and the Prelacy Ladies Guild in the mid-1980s to help promote the next generation of Armenian artists and further the performance of music by Armenian composers. Each year, new performers are selected to highlight the new generation and tradition of Armenian culture. After auditioning with several pieces, Mardanyan received the news in mid-January that he had been chosen to join Balasanyan for this year’s concert.

“It’s a huge honor to be performing at Carnegie Hall, and I’m extremely happy that I can do so with the support of the Armenian community.” Tigran is happy to give back to the community, not only through his upcoming performance but also with contributions to the Saint James Armenian Church in Watertown, where he plays the church organ during Sunday services on an intermittent basis. In the future, Tigran knows he wants to ultimately go down the difficult path of professional concert performances, but he hopes he can also help Armenia through his talent.

“Whether that’s maybe one day teaching in Armenia after I retire or just representing my country in international competitions, that responsibility is not one I take lightly. It means a lot to me.”

For more information about Musical Armenia and to purchase tickets for the concert taking place on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at 2 PM, see the official webpage for the event.


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