Monday 25 January 2021

Armenian State Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 15th anniversary

The Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and Sergey Smbatyan at the Barbican in January 2020
The Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and Sergey Smbatyan at the Barbican in January 2020

The Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, which we heard on its recent visit to the Barbican [see my review], is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Founded as the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia by conductor Sergey Smbatyan, the orchestra is now the state symphony orchestra with Smbatyan as artistic director and chief conductor. They plan to mark the anniversary on 25 January 2021 with a gala concert at Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall in Yerevan, Armenia.

The orchestra performs around 50 concerts per year, along with other events, as well as a number of festivals. In 2010, Sergey Smbatyan started the Armenian Composing Art Festival, with each year dedicated to a particular Armenian composer, including Tigran Chukhajyan (1837-1898), who created the first opera institution in the Ottoman Empire and wrote the first Armenian opera Arshak II (1868) and what may be the first Turkish language opera Arif'in Hilesi (1874), Romanos Melikyan (1883-1935), Haro Stepanyan (1897-1966), Grigor Yeghazarian (1908-1998), Ghazaros Saryan (1920-1998), Arno Babajanyan (1921-1983), Edvard Mirzoyan (1921-2012), Avet Terteryan (1929-1994), and Edgar Hovhannisyan (1930-1998), There is also the Khachaturian International Festival, which was established in 2013, and the Khachaturian International Competition which in 2020 was devoted to the violin.

They also run an education project which 'strives to incite curiosity, understanding and liking for classical music among high school students', and recent charitable endeavours have been centred on the Armenian Christians fleeing the war in Artsakh (which is currently part of Azerbaijan) with open-air fundraising concerts in Yerevan and four-day New Year charity screening-and-concert of the Disney animated film Frozen for children from Artsakh and Armenia  affected by war, with the scores of the animated film played live by the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra.

Full details from the orchestra's website.

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