Ara Dinkjian

Dinkjian and Petrosyan to Perform with Chamber Players of Greenwich Symphony in Brooklyn

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. — On Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m., masters of Armenian music, oudist Ara Dinkjian with perform with duduk virtuoso Arsen Petrosyan, accompanied by a string quartet from The Chamber Players of the Greenwich Symphony (Sami Merdinian, Annamae Goldstein, David Creswell and Daniel Miller), at the Roulette.

Dinkjian, who began his musical career by accompanying his father Onnik Dinkjian, a celebrated Armenian folk and liturgical singer, founded the acclaimed Night Ark quartet and recently performed at RBA concerts with The Secret Trio. Petrosyan, who has emerged as one of his generation’s main proponents of the Armenian duduk, is following in the footsteps of such masters as Djivan Gasparyan and his mentor Gevorg Dabaghyan. The concert features duets with Ara Dinkjian and Arsen Petrosyan, duduk solos with Petrosyan, pieces played by the string quartet, and music performed by Dinkjian, Petrosyan and the string quartet.

This program includes music composed by Ara Dinkjian; folk dance melodies; love songs; sacred music; music composed by Libarid Nazarian in memory of the Armenian Genocide martyrs; and folk songs collected and transcribed by Komitas Vardapet (considered the founder of the Armenian national school of music), which portray the nostalgia, sorrow, bliss and hopeful voice of a resilient nation.

Ara Dinkjian learned several Western and Eastern instruments (piano, guitar, darbuka, clarinet, cümbüş) and in 1980 graduated from the Hartt College of Music, earning the country’s first and only special degree in the instrument for which he has become most well-known, the oud. For over 40 years, he served his Armenian Apostolic Church as organist.  Throughout his musical life, he has continued to develop his highly personal compositional style that blends his Eastern and Western roots. In 1985, to help realize these compositions and musical concepts, he formed his Night Ark quartet, which recorded four CDs for the international RCA/BMG and Universal/PolyGram labels. For over a decade he has been a part of the Secret Trio (with Tamer Pinarbasi and Ismail Lumanovski), a group that performs distinctive chamber-music style arrangements of ethnic folk, pop, classical, jazz, and original compositions. His songs have been recorded by world-famous instrumentalists and singers in 16 different languages. His hit song Dinata, Dinata was performed by Eleftheria Arvanitaki at the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics. Many of his compositions have appeared in movie and television soundtracks. He has performed in 24 countries, including teaching master classes. CD releases in the past decade include “Diyarbakiri Hokin” (The Soul of Dikranagerd), a collaboration with his father, Onnik; “1915 – 2015 Truth & Hope,” commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide; “Live At Princeton University,” with the Secret Trio and the New York Gypsy All Stars, and “Coexist” with the Secret Trio. The documentary film, “Garod,” tells the story of how Onnik Dinkjian kept Armenian folk music alive in the diaspora and handed it down to his son, Ara.

Arsen Petrosyan (Arsineh Valladian photo), at left, and Ara Dinkjian (Alena Soboleva photo)

Arsen Petrosyan was born and raised in Charentsavan, Armenia, where he currently lives. His familial roots are from the ethnic Armenian enclave of Javakhk (in the Republic of Georgia), while his ancestral homeland is in Erzurum (now in modern day Turkey). He received his master’s degree in Music  (concentrating on duduk) at the Komitas Conservatory of Yerevan in 2016. He has managed to carve out his own pathway through diverse collaborations with Steve Hackett (Genesis), Emirati composer Ihab Darwish, and oudist Omar Bashir, among others. With both of his ensembles — the A.G.A. Trio and the Arsen Petrosyan Quartet — he has performed throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus.  As a solo artist, he has also toured extensively in North America, as well as the forementioned regions. His recordings include “Charentsavan: Music for Armenian Duduk,” “A.G.A. Trio Meeting” and “Hokin Janapar” (My Soul’s Journey), in which his pieces document a nation and culture which refuse to die. In addition to his active recording and touring schedule, he has conducted master classes and lectures on the Armenian duduk and made notable media appearances.

The Chamber Players of the Greenwich Symphony is now in its 52nd season. Its musicians are drawn primarily from the principals of the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, and are often joined by guest artists. Its repertoire includes music of all the familiar and beloved classical composers as well as pieces by less well-known but noteworthy masters that the musicians enjoy introducing to their audiences.

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Sami Merdinian has appeared as a soloist with the Montevideo Philharmonic, the Argentinian National Symphony, The Charlemagne Orchestre, the Gagneung Philharmonic in South Korea, and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic, among others. He has been a prize winner in several international competitions, including a Gold Medal in the XII International Young Solo Instrumentalists Competition in Argentina, and the New Talent Competition in Slovakia organized by the European Radio. As a highly sought-after tango violinist, he has performed and recorded with some of the most prominent artists of the genre and received a Grammy nomination for Masters of the Bandoneon for Best Tango Album.

Annamae Goldstein has been a violinist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for over three decades and previously performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville Symphony. She also performed with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Ensemble under the direction of James Levine, the IRIS String Quartet, and Musica Amici.  She began her studies at Juilliard at the age of 11 and graduated there with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

David Creswell has been an integral part of the New York music scene for over 20 years, spanning nearly every musical style and setting: classical, contemporary, recording studio, stage, solo performance, opera and orchestra, including the New York Philharmonic. He has been part of over 30 Broadway productions, and played both viola and violin for the bluegrass musical “Bright Star” by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. He has also been part of numerous film soundtracks and television events. A dedicated music educator, he co-developed a lecture series on the elegant intersections of tuning and mathematics.

Daniel Miller, principal cellist of the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, is an active concert, theatre, and recording musician in the New York area. He performs with numerous ensembles, including the American Ballet Theatre, American Symphony, Glimmerglass Opera, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and New York Pops. He has appeared as soloist with the Greenwich Symphony, the New Amsterdam Symphony and the Mostly Mozart Festival, and is the cellist in the Broadway production of “Wicked.” A former member of the Orchestra Del Etro San Carlo in Naples, Italy, he is also the cellist with Cuartetango, the tango string quartet which recently recorded the Grammy-nominated “Masters of the Bandoneon” album.

Roulette is located at 509 Atlantic Avenue at 3rd Avenue, Downtown Brooklyn. For info and tickets: https://www.robertbrowningassociates.com/2024-music-of-armenia.html

The concert is made possible in part with public funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

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