Virtuosos to sing works by Armenian musicians

Virtuosos to sing works by Armenian musicians

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Virtuosos to sing works by Armenian musicians

Turkish violin virtuoso Cihat Aşkın (L) and Armenian piano virtuoso Şahan Arzruni will perform works by Gomidas and Khachaturian during a concert that will take place at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall on Oct 13.

The works of two of the most titanic figures in Armenian music, Gomidas and Aram Khachaturian, will bring together a collection of Turkish and Armenian artists for a special concert tomorrow in Istanbul.

Armenian-American piano virtuoso Şahan Arzruni and famous Turkish violin virtuoso Cihat Aşkın will take the stage at Istanbul’s Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall tomorrow at 8 p.m. to perform pieces by Gomiadas and Khachaturian.

“Cihat is a violinist of international standing. He is a colleague whose musical language speaks to me. Unlike other musical partners, when we are together we don’t have lengthy discussions, we don’t have to make compromises. We feel the same way. We make music, plain and simple,” Arzruni told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Aşkın said interpreting Gomidas’ pieces was of great importance to him as an artist. “Gomidas is one the first composers and ethnomusicologists of this land. He collected Anatolian songs for the first time.”
The difficult and tragic life of Gomidas was fit for a book, Aşkın said. “But I don’t believe the trajectory of his creative output mirrors his personal life. Art is greater than life. A composer’s musical expression is not necessarily reflective of his biography. Mozart had a miserable life, but his music is almost sunny and optimistic.”

Gomidas’s famous song ‘Groong’

During the concert, Arzruni and Aşkın will also interpret world-renowned Armenian composer Khachaturian’s works. “Gomidas is the wellspring of Armenian music; Khachaturian is the musical ambassador of Armenian culture,” said Arzruni.

“The musical aim here is to compare and contrast the two creative forces. Cihat and I will present a number of original Khachaturian compositions and perform virtuosic transcriptions of three of Gomidas’ songs, including his famous ‘Groong’ [Crane]. The latter was arranged for violin and piano by cellist Sergei Aslamazyan, who was a founding member of the Gomidas String Quartet, the oldest existing chamber ensemble in the world,” Arzruni said. “I will play a number of stylized folk dances Gomidas collected and later arranged for piano. There are dances from historic Armenia, including those from Muş, Erzurum, and Yerevan.”

Gomidas was instrumental in researching music from across Anatolia. While he escaped death in the events of 1915, he lost his mental health after witnessing the murder of a number of friends. He died in an asylum in Paris in 1935.