Alexey Shor | Contemporary Classics Composers' Festival

Contemporary Classics Composers' Festival

Armenia · 2019

Ministry of education, science, culture and sport of the RA






Alexey Shor

Armenian State Symphony Orchestra

Sergey Smbatyan,

Victor Julien-Laferrière, Cello
Victor Julien-

Ingolf Wunder, Piano


Sergey Smbatyan

Extending far beyond his native Armenia, Sergey Smbatyan’s renown and prolific musical career feed on his inexorable vision to make the world a better place through music, culture and spiritual enrichment of people. Sergey Smbatyan’s robust endeavors have earned an array of achievements for the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, of which he is the Founder, Artistic Director, and Principal Conductor.

Born to a family of musicians, Sergey’s journey in the world of classical music started with violin studies first with his grandmother Tatiana Hayrapetyan, followed by the classes with violinists Bagrat Vardanyan, Zakhar Bron and Yuri Davtyan. A graduate of Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory and Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Smbatyan also graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2012. He also holds a Ph.D. in Fine Arts from the Institute of Arts, a division of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences. 

The conservatory undergraduate Sergey Smbatyan lay the foundation of the future Armenian State Symphony Orchestra in 2005, assembling like-minded young fellows into a youth orchestra that would champion classical music in Armenia and promote Armenian musical heritage worldwide. The future achievements awaiting the orchestra along its journey proved the visceral faith of its founder to be an infallible foresight. Throughout the 2020 concert tour with the renowned violin virtuoso and the orchestra’s artist-in-residence Maxim Vengerov brilliant performances were hosted on reputable stages around Europe - Berliner Philharmonie, Vienna's Musikverein, London's Barbican Center,  Prague's Dvorak Hall, Salzburg's Grosses Festspielhaus, Moscow's Zaryadye Concert Hall and elsewhere.

Sergey Smbatyan also holds a rich record of conducting experience with foreign orchestras, including, among many others, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

Among Sergey Smbatyan’s most cherished and sustainable legacies of are his self-founded 4 music festivals (Armenian Composing Art Festival, Khachaturian International Festival, “Armenia” International Music Festival and “Contemporary Classics” Composers’ Festival), as well as the introduction of “Conducting” category in the annual Khachaturian International Competition,  which is a member of the prestigious World Federation of International Musical Competitions (WFIMC). Other valuable enterprises include 5 exclusive orchestras formed in the framework of significant events, 7 special musical projects and concert series and 7 educational projects, the most massive and impactful of the letter being “DasA” (literally- “ClassA), launched in 2018. Targeting high school students in Armenia, this project’s mission focuses on the popularization of classical music and positive transformation in the young generation’s attitude towards classical music.

By virtue of his relentless and creative outlooks, Smbatyan always pursues new dimensions for innovative artistry and embarks on novel initiatives in the Armenian cultural context.

In 2015, Sergey Smbatyan received the title of Chevalier of the “Order of Arts and Letters”, awarded by the Minister of Culture and Communication of France. In 2017, the honorary title of “Worker in Arts of Armenia” was conferred on him for the great merit in rearing of creative generation.

 “The conductor led the orchestra with an uncommon attention to detail, skillfully guiding the musicians through the whole performance. His hands were clear and precise; this was a performance of great dignity and nobility.
A highly successful and passionate performance!”.

Hessisch Niedersächsische Allgemeine

Victor Julien-Laferrière


In 2018 and 2019, Victor Julien-Laferrière is the guest of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Valery Gergiev, Orchestre National de France/Emmanuel Krivine, RTÉ Orchestra Dublin/Nathalie Stutzmann, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse/Tugan Sokhiev, Orchestre National de Belgique/Maxim Emelyanychev, Orchestre National d'Ile de France/James Feddeck, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra/Jiri Rozen/Stéphane Denève, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie/Yves Abel, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris/David Reiland, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne/Joshua Weilerstein, I Pomeriggi Musicali de Milan/Yusuke Kumehara, Ural Philharmonic/Dmitri Liss, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra/Alexander Joel, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia/Olivier Grangean, Orchestre National de Montpellier/Michele Gamba, Orchestre National de Lille/Jean-Claude Casadessus. 

He also receives many recording awards, including the Diapason d'or of the year 2017 for his sonata album with the pianist Adam Laloum. In January 2019, Victor Julien-Laferrière releases a new album devoted to Schubert with the Trio Les Esprits (Sony Music). His next release is planned for the Automn 2019 with the pianist Jonas Vitaud for the label Alpha Classics.

Victor Julien-Laferrière began the cello with René Benedetti, then studied successively with Roland Pidoux at the Paris Conservatoire, Heinrich Schiff at the University of Vienna and Clemens Hagen at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. At the same time, he took part from 2005 to 2011 at Seiji Ozawa International Music Academy Switzerland.

In recital and chamber music, he is the guest of the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonie de Paris, CelloBiennale in Amsterdam, Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, Essen Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Louisiana Museum in Copenhague, KKL of Lucerne, Tonhalle of Zurich, Auditorium du Louvre, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Phillips Collection in Washington, Fondation Louis Vuitton, festivals of Prague Spring, MecklenburgVorpommern, Kuhmo, Gstaad, Copenhagen Summer Festival, Klavier Festival Ruhr, Rheingau Musik Festival, Folles Journées de Nantes et Tokyo, Ester festivals of Deauville and Aix-en-Provence…

1st Prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition 2017 in Brussels, as part of the first edition dedicated to cello, Victor Julien-Laferrière also won the 1st Prize and two special prizes at the 2012 Prague Spring International Competition. In 2018, he was awarded the Victoire de la Musique in France as “Best Instrumental Solo”.

Ingolf Wunder


He has recorded 4 CDs for Deutsche Grammophon and has been performing in Europe, Asia and both Americas, including such prestigious halls as Musikverein Vienna, Berlin Philharmonie, Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Sala Verdi (Milan), Tonhalle Zurich, Rudolfinum (Prague), Mariinsky Theater (St. Petersburg), Suntory Hall (Tokyo) etc. 

Recently, Ingolf Wunder and his wife launched – a platform exclusively for art education: live online lessons. It's dedicated to teachers, students and art lovers. It aims at helping inspired individuals to find the right contacts and enrich their world in a madeto-measure way; to nourish their creativity, interests and artistic passion.

Ingolf Wunder was born in Austria in 1985, started his musical adventure on the violin, at the age of 4. Never pushed by his parents, he treated violin as a hobby. Around 14 years of age a teacher from Linz, H. Mattheus, coincidentally discovered his talent for the piano. After 10 years, Wunder gave up violin, left Klagenfurt and began intensive piano studies at the Music Conservatory Linz, under Prof. Mattheus. A few months later Wunder participated in his first youth competition and won the 1st Prize (VII Concorso Internazionale di Musica, Cortemillia). 

Soon after came the 1st Prizes at the XVI European Music Competition (Torino), the 63. Steinway Piano Competition (Hamburg) and a few more.

About one year after changing the instrument he made his debut at the Vienna Konzerthaus. Wunder continued his piano studies at the Music University in Vienna. In 2008 Wunder started his collaboration with the Polish pianist, Adam Harasiewicz. A year later he decided to take part in a piano competition for the very last time. The 2010 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw brought uproar, recognition, the 2nd Prize, a few special prizes and many devoted listeners around the world. Next to playing concerts and touring, he undertook conducting studies to widen his musical horizons. He obtained his diploma in the end of 2012.


Armenian State Symphony Orchestra

The famous Armenian conductor Sergey Smbatyan founded the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra (ASSO) in 2005. He and a group of gifted young musicians who shared similar love and dedication towards music and art, decided to come together to make their dream of an orchestra come true. At that time the Orchestra was still known as the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia. Now, it is known as the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra (ASSO). Sergey Smbatyan is not only the Founder but also the Artistic Director and the Principal Conductor of the ASSO. 

The ASSO has worked with Valery Gergiev, Krzysztof Penderecki, Vladimir Spivakov, Maxim Vengerov, Denis Matsuev, Vadim Repin, Vag Papyan, Boris Berezovsky and many others.

The ASSO has performed in numerous venues both in Armenia and elsewhere. World-famous concert halls have hosted the ASSO including but not limited to concert halls in Germany, France, Russia, Belgium, China, The Netherlands, Italy, Lebanon, etc. The musicians have performed in Opera Garnier (Paris), Konzerthaus (Berlin), The Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), Musikverein (Vienna), Dubai Opera House, Teatro Real (Madrid), Dr. Anton Philipszaal (Hague), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels), P. Tchaikovsky Philharmonic Concert Hall and Conservatory Great Concert Hall (Moscow), etc. ASSO's concerts have been broadcasted by, Euronews, and Classic fm.

The Orchestra has taken part in numerous international festivals, to name a few, “Moscow Easter Festival” (Moscow, Russia), “YOUNG EURO CLASSIC'' (Berlin, Germany), "Kultursommer Nordhessen" (Kassel, Germany), "Young Classic Wratislavia" (Wroclaw, Poland), Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, and many others. In addition, the ASSO has been the resident orchestra at the Aram Khachaturian International Competition (since 2007) and performed as a resident orchestra at the Musica Riva International Festival (2013, Riva del Garda, Italy), the 9th Frederic Chopin International Competition for Young Pianists (2014, Foshan, China), the Al Bustan International Festival (2014-2016, Beirut, Lebanon), Malta International Music Festival (2018), etc. In 2019, the Orchestra performed Nino Rota's original score from “The Godfather” and John Williams' music from “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” under the baton of American composer/conductor Justin Freer in Dubai Opera House.

The orchestra has got a rich portfolio of interesting musical projects and charitable events both in Armenia and overseas. Since 2010, the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra with the support of the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport has been holding the annual Armenian Composers' Art Festival and since 2013, the yearly Khachaturian International Festival. The ASSO continually presents new exciting projects, such as concert series entitled “Hollywood Non-Stop,” “Cartoon Non-Stop,” “Tours to...”, “ASSO Meets” and others. Another fantastic project is the regular series “Master Creates Masters.” Within this project, the younger musicians get the chance to take master classes from world-famous masters such as Valery Gergiev, Zakhar Bron, and others. Since 2018 the Orchestra has been implementing the valuable educational-cultural project DasA with the support of the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport. 

The extensive repertoire of the Orchestra ranges from classical to contemporary music. In 2011 the Orchestra, headed by the artistic director and principal conductor Sergey Smbatyan, released its first CD entitled Music is the Answer. Recorded at Sony recording studio, the CD includes works by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Eduard Hayrapetyan.


Alexey Shor

Selections from the
Ballet Suite “Crystal Palace"

Cello Concerto
“Musical Pilgrimage”

Alexey Shor

Selections from
“Images from
the Great Siege”
Symphonic Cycle

“Travel Notebook”
Concerto for Piano
and Orchestra

← 4 November • Krzysztof Penderecki | 7 November • Georgs Pelēcis →

Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall