Music opens Armenian soul, history

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“Now that (Armenia is) relatively independent,” Barsoumian said, “we are trying to find out and experiment with sound that is closest to our heart and experiences as Armenians, without any impediments.” Dilijan, in its inaugural season, brings together small groups of musicians to play classical music, using the Colborn School of Music in downtown Los Angeles as a venue and operating out of the Glendale office of the nonprofit Lark Musical Society. The series is not dedicated only to compositions by Armenians. It has already featured the work of classical music heavyweights Josef Haydn, Felix Mendelssohn and Johannes Brahms. And many of the 26 professional musicians involved in the project are also not of Armenian descent. Phil O’Connor, 33, who plays clarinet and saxophone, said he has enjoyed being part of the series. “In the chamber music setting, because it’s less people involved, you have more ability for everyone to interject their opinion and … you can develop a group interpretation much more readily than you would in a symphony,” O’Connor said. Artistic director Movses Pogossian, 39, of Montrose is a violinist who made his American debut in 1990 as a soloist with the Boston Pops. A native of Armenia who taught music at universities in Pittsburgh, Bowling Green and Detroit, he is impressed by Los Angeles musicians who are just as comfortable playing at a movie studio as a symphony hall. “Musically it’s the busiest city in America,” Pogossian said. “I think it has the greatest number of great musicians in the country.” On April 21, in a show called “Armenian Genocide Commemoration,” Pogossian and five other musicians will perform the last installment of the Dilijan series. The show comes a few days before the date when Armenians mark the 1915 deportations and killings in the Ottoman Empire that claimed the lives of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians. One of the pieces chosen for the evening is a work by the Armenian priest and composer Komitas. He was deported by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 and narrowly escaped death, but the experience put him in an insane asylum and he died a few years later. The April 21 show will also feature work by the living Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian, and the late French composer Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” which was written in a German prison camp during World War II. “Instead of bringing out the dark and tragic in the piece, basically Messiaen is singing the glory to God and it’s an incredibly positive and life-affirming piece,” Pogossian said. On Oct. 20, the series presented a unique show called “Condemned by Stalin,” highlighting three Soviet composers who fell out of favor with dictator Joseph Stalin. They include Aram Khatchaturian, a Russian-trained composer of Armenian descent. “They thought that he was trying to do some advanced modernistic styles,” Barsoumian said. The other two composers were Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich. “Their music was going to be checked by people who acted like policemen, music policemen,” Barsoumian said. For more information on the Dilijan chamber music series, go to (818) 546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! GLENDALE – Performing the classics to open a window into the Armenian soul, the directors of the fledgling Dilijan chamber music series have chosen composers who offer turbulent life stories. They include an Armenian priest and composer who ended up in an insane asylum after being deported by the Ottoman Turks in 1915, and a Russian-trained composer of Armenian descent who was sanctioned by the Soviet “music police” for creating pieces deemed too abstract. The Dilijan series has also sought to present the work of emerging composers, especially those of Armenian descent. After Armenia’s long history of being ruled by the Ottoman Empire and then the Soviet Union, the nation’s composers are finally coming into their own, said Vatsche Barsoumian, a Glendale-based creator of the Dilijan series. And as Armenian composers create new music, the series is bringing their work to Southern California audiences. last_img

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