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Pure Armenian music should be known in Europe. Varduhi Khachatryan - Armenian National Music (anmmedia.am)
Pure Armenian music should be known in Europe. Varduhi Khachatryan

Published: Mar 08 2020, 16:36

Author: ANM Media
Every concert begins at the airport. This is the principle adopted by the “Avetis” Cultural Association in Geneva, which has been active in the classical music industry in Switzerland for a few years. “The artist is yours from that moment on, and you should give them high importance. Artists are very sensitive and they focus on every detail. As a result, they miss and remember with great warmth the place and the country where they performed. I say it based on my personal experience, as I am an artist,” association president, mezzo-soprano Varduhi Khachatryan told ANM correspondent.

“Avetis” is founded in 2011. The association's activity was very limited at the beginning; They were organizing small concerts, printing notes. Honored Artist of Armenia Hayk Melikyan participated in the opening concert of the Association, then Gurdjieff Ensemble performed a concert in Switzerland.

2015 was a turning point for "Avetis", a concert within the framework of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide was held in the famous Victoria Hall, where Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater" was presented to the audience and the mayor of Geneva gave an opening welcome speech. Today, "Avetis" is organizing 5-6 concerts a year in this concert hall. “This is where our success story began. This was followed by many other concerts and events. We introduced Armenian musicians to the foreign audience: Sergey and Lusine Khachatryans, Barsegh Tumanyan, Hovhannes Ayvazyan, Vag Papyan, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Tigran Hamasyan, Couchane and Astrig Siranossians, Harut Arzumanyan, Juliette Galstyan. Then we started a collaboration with foreign artists from around the world, who always asked to perform works by Armenian authors at our concerts." These artists are Maxim Vengerov, Mikhail Pletnev, Angela Gheorghiu, Khatia Buniatishvili, Elina Garanca, Edgar Moreau. All the concerts in 2019 were dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Komitas and all the artists have performed some of his works. “I realized that there is no need to focus on the local Armenian community. They have their own taste, most of them have the wrong information about ​​Armenian music. In Armenia, people are better informed about Armenian music, here they know Komitas better and feel his purity. Either we have to work hard from school or work on a European who will come and recognize the true Armenian music. Our goal is to present Armenian music to the foreign audience. About 10 percent of our listeners are Armenians, the rest are Europeans, who know us as Armenians and know that Armenian work will surely be heard. At the same time, they do not go to an Armenian event but they go to a classical concert.” According to the singer, they especially love Komitas and Komitas CDs are also in great demand. “When I sang Narekatsi's “Havoun-havoun” in a dark hall during the concert, and at the end of the performance, when the light lit up, I saw tears in the people's eyes. At the end of the concert, they asked me the name of the author and the name of the work, which I performed.” 

The collaboration between “Avetis” Cultural Association and the Ambassador to Switzerland Charles Aznavour was also very active during these years. He attended “Avetis” concerts many times and had an opening welcome speech. "The concert "Viva Cello" with participation of cellists Edgar Moreau and Narek Hakhnazaryan accompanied by Hayk Melikyan was supposed to be dedicated to Francophonie event. Aznavour passed away a week before the concert and we dedicated it to the memory of the great chansonnier. The hall was full. The concert began in the darkness, only Charles's voice was heard. Narek Hakhnazaryan's salute was also very interesting. When he wanted to bow, Charles's picture was him so he turned around and bowed to Aznavour's picture, paying tribute to the great chansonnier. It was moving." 

2020 is full for the Association. On the occasion of Women's Day, they are organizing a concert of mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca; pianist Khatia Buniatishvili will perform at Carnegie Hall. Martha Argerich and Nikolas Angelich to represent C. Saint-Saens' “Carnival of the Animals” concert.

The first project of "Avetis" in the homeland was the concert of Khatia Buniatishvili with the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, which had great success. This year nothing planned in Armenia yet as 2020 in Geneva is quite full. “Singer Angela Georgiou has expressed her desire to perform in Armenia. She performed Arno Babajanyan's "Vocalize" during our concert, and also wants to sing Komitas."  

How Avetis managed to achieve such great success in Switzerland when the music field is much more competitive than in Armenia? “As I am an artist, I know all the nuances of the market. The hardest thing is to work with vocalists. They need special care because their voice is their instruments. Singers should arrive earlier than other musicians, be silent the day before the concert, and many other details about which I, as a singer myself, know very well. For example, they said it was difficult to work with Angela Gheorghiu, while she likes to work with professionals. We even put an air humidifier in the room, which almost no one would think of, and for the singer's voice, it is a very necessary thing. We attach great importance to every detail. ”


By: Sona Khachatryan