Ghazaros (Lazar) Saryan - composer, pedagogue, musician-public figure, People's
Artist of the USSR and Republic of Armenia, and Laureate of State Award of the
Republic of Armenia, was born on 30 September 1920 in Rostov-on-Don. In early
childhood, he moved with his family to Yerevan. His love for art was inherited
from his parents - renowned Armenian painter Martiros Saryan and Lusik Aghayan,
who was the daughter of prominent writer Ghazaros Aghayan. He received primary
musical education at the piano department of the school of Yerevan Komitas State
Conservatory (E. Khosrovyan's class). Then from 1934 to 1938, he continued his
studies in the creative department of the same Conservatory in the classes of
Vardges Talyan and Sargis Barkhudaryan. He then continued his studies at the
Gnessin State Musical College (class of V. Shebalin) in Moscow. Although he
studied there for short period, the college played an essential role in his
education as Saryan strengthened his musical skills especially in this very
In 1939 Saryan was drafted into the Soviet army, and from 1941 to 1945
participated in Great Patriotic War. Due to composer, the heavy battles of the
7th regiment located 2 km away from Voronezh, were accompanied by music. There
Saryan played bayan, whereas the whole regiment sang the songs that were
authored by the composer himself. After the war was ended, in 1945-1950 Saryan
continued his studies at the Moscow State Conservatory after Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
There Saryan was instructed by D. Kabalevsky, D. Shostakovich and A. Alexandrov.
Especially valuable were the lessons with Dmitri Shostakovich as it was more
than student-lecturer relationship but it encompassed a broader range of issues
reflecting the arts. As a diploma work, the composer presented the Symphonic
Poem (1950), which marked the beginning of the composer's mature creative
period. After graduating from the Conservatory, he returned to Armenia, pursuing
active music-social and pedagogical activities. Starting from 1950 Saryan taught
orchestration at the Yerevan State Conservatory and then led a creative class.
From 1954 to 1956, Saryan served as chairman of the Armenian Composers' Union.
In 1953, he created the "Day of Peace" vocal-symphonic suite (lyrics by H.
Ghukasyan) consisting of three parts: "Morning", "Harvest Feast", "For the Sake
of Peace" (first performance in 1954). One of the highly rated works of the
national symphonic music is considered to be "Symphonic Images" created in 1955.
Here parts of the suite are linked together through the folk song “Nubar-Nubar”.
In 1957 the “Festive Overture” was created for the symphony orchestra. The
music-social activities that Saryan was doing with great responsibility, in some
ways were taking his creative time. For about 26 years, 1960-1986 Saryan served
as the rector of the Komitas State Conservatory and later in 1986-1998, as the
chair of the creative department at the Conservatory. In 1966, the composer
finished one of his best works Symphonic panel "Armenia", consisting of four
parts: "Garni", "Old Yerevan", "Ararat Valley", "Solar Landscape". The
composition was based on the music of a documentary film about Martiros Saryan
(1965). It was inspired by canvases of the prominent artists, and by means of
music, it is the reflection of colorful palette of the artist.
From 1963 to 1967, the constructive works of Martiros Saryan House-Museum and
the organization of the first exhibition were underway. Saryan served as the
first director of the museum. In 1968 Ghazaros Saryan married musicologist Araks
Harutyunyan Saryan (second marriage). The composer's latest creative works
include Violin and Orchestra Concert (1973), Symphony (1980), String Quartet
(1987). Among composer’s creative heritage, Saryan’s film scores are of
important value. Among them are "Small Change" (1954), "The Captives of
Hovazadzor" (1957), "The Song of First Love" (1958, co-authored by Arno
Babajanyan), "01-99" (1959), the documentary “Martiros" Saryan” (1965).
Noteworthy was the collaboration with Tigran Mansuryan when they worked on the
music instrumentation for the screening of Tigran Chukhajyan's operetta
In 1972 Saryan received a degree of professor, whereas in 1983 he received the
State Award of the Republic of Armenia. Among the important works of composers
latest creative years are "3 Postludes" (1990) for piano, “Passacaglia” for
Symphony Orchestra (1994) dedicated to the memory of his daughter Lusik Saryan,
and “Andante and Presto” (1997) for violin and chamber orchestra. In Saryan’s
creative class have studies composers Tigran Mansuryan, Ruben Altunyan, Ruben
Sargsyan, Stepan Lusikyan, Vardan Achemyan, Stepan Rostomyan and others.
Ghazaros Saryan died on 27 May 1998 in Yerevan and was buried in Tokhmakh
Cemetery, Yerevan. Many cultural institutions are names after Ghazaros Saryan,
among them are the Yerevan Conservatory Opera Studio, Art School N1 in Yerevan,
Secondary School of Professional Art in Ararat, String Quartet, and National
Cultural Center of Thessaloniki in Greece.