Music in Poetry Celebrated at Cultural Foundation


ARLINGTON, Mass. — Poetry and music have been intertwined since time immemorial. In the millennia-old Armenian history, origins of this rich cultural legacy dates to the fifth century CE and beyond. On Saturday, April 6 at 4 p.m., the Armenian Cultural Foundation in cooperation with Amaras Art Alliance and the Armenian Music Festival of Rhode Island will be hosting the Vahan Artsruni (guitar) Duo and Nelly Manukyan (flute). The event is dedicated to the 155th anniversary of Komitas Vardapet, the great Armenian musicologist, composer, arranger and choirmaster.

Born in Yerevan, Vahan Artsruni is a renowned singer and composer known for his innovative approach to music. He is a multifaceted artist known for his contributions to Armenian and Assyrian spiritual music, theater, and cinema. Artsruni explores a wide range of musical styles, from chamber and alt-rock to electronic, symphonic, choir and film/theater compositions. His notable work includes the Komitas: Ten Revelations song cycle based on Komitas’ poetry, arrangements of sacred Assyrian Church of the East music, and reinterpretations of Armenian monophonic hymns by St. Mesrop Mashtots’, a linguist, composer, theologian, statesman and hymnologist best known for inventing the Armenian alphabet (c. 404-406 CE).

Vahan Artsruni

Over his nearly four-decade career, Artsruni has released 14 albums and DVDs, composed the soundtrack for 21 documentaries, six animated and three feature films, and provided the music for eight theater productions and as well as a ballet. Additionally, he has been involved in organizing music festivals and concert programs.

His contributions to the world of music are recognized by his inclusion in the Armenian Musical Encyclopedia of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia (2019). His song cycle Komitas: Ten Revelations was even integrated into the State General Education School Program as a part of the Music school textbook in 2007. Furthermore, his album Mashtots’: Sacred Armenian Songs from the fifth century was featured in the collection Mashtots’ by the Center for Christian Education of Holy Echmiadzin and served as the Official Release of the international initiative, Rock Aid Armenia.

Nelly Manukyan, born in Armenia into a musical family, is a flute player, improviser and pianist. The range of her improvisational skill has no boundaries, from all known styles of jazz, Latin jazz, to rock music as well as ethno-jazz projects.

A graduate of the Tchaikovsky Music School with Excellence Diploma in piano and flute studies, Manukyan entered the Yerevan State Conservatory of Music after Komitas, double-majoring in piano and flute, simultaneously serving as a flute teacher in the music school after Konstantin Sarajyan.

Nelly Manukyan

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Manukyan took part in the first Japanese music festival held in Armenia in 1994, performing compositions of Atsuhiko Takenaka, who inspired by her great performances, wrote many piano compositions dedicated to her. In 1999, she performed these piano compositions during the second Japanese music festival in Yerevan.

Manukyan’s first steps as a jazz flutist passed under the leadership of world famous American jazz piano player Armen Donelian. Her performances also include various musical styles such as Latino, Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Progressive Rock, etc.

She has also participated in different musical projects and jazz festivals in Armenia and performed in prestigious halls such as Royal Festival Hall in England. Manukyan played with many outstanding musicians such as Bobbie Sanabria, Armen Donelian, Garner Thomas, Rick Taylor, Anatoly Kroll, Jay Rodriguez, Alexis Bosh and Rony Barrak. She is a winner of the first Jazz Competition-Festival of jazz improvisators “Master-Jam Fest” which was held in Odessa in June 2013.

One of the most prominent poets of Armenia, Razmik Davoyan (1940-2022) grew up in Gyumri. Upon graduating from high school and later, the local medical college in 1958, he moved to Yerevan in 1959 to study philology and history at the State Pedagogical University and graduated in 1964. From 1965 to 1970 he was the editor of the poetry and prose section of the Literary Weekly, and later, served as senior advisor at the Committee for Cultural Relations with the Diaspora (1970-1975), and Secretary of the Central Committee for Armenia’s State Prizes (1975-1990). In 1994 he became the first elected president of the Writers’ Union of Armenia. From 1999 to 2003 he served as Adviser (on cultural and educational issues) to the President of the Republic of Armenia.

Razmik Davoyan

Davoyan’s first poem was published in 1957 in the daily, Worker of Gyumri. His works, more than 30 volumes, were widely translated all over the Soviet Union and published in countless literary magazines and journals in Russian, Czech and English. Selections of Davoyan’s poems have also been translated and published in literary periodicals in Italy, France, Syria, former Yugoslavia, Iran, China and the US.

He is the recipient of several prizes and commendations, among them, Armenia’s State Prize for Literature (1986), Order of St. Mesrop Mashtots (1997), President’s Prize for Literature for his children’s book (2003) Little Bird at the Exhibition, a Medal “for services to the fatherland” (2010), and the CIS “Stars of the commonwealth” international award in Moscow in 2012.

The program, followed by a reception, will include two works: My Tear of Penitence and Your Compassion Is Abundant by Mesrop Mashtots (362–440 CE); several works by Komitas (1869-1935), five works based on the poetry of Davoyan (1940-2022) as well as original works by Artsruni.

Concert tickets ($25) can be secured through or by contacting the Armenian Cultural Foundation office, weekdays from 10 am to 2 pm.

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