Contemporary Classics Composers' Festival
Armenia · 2019
The Choir of Yerevan Specialized Vocal-Choral School of Voice Preservation
Ayb School Choir
Armenian State Symphony Orchestra
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
Among the world’s leading violinists, Gidon Kremer has perhaps pursued the most unconventional career. He was born on 27 February 1947 in Riga, Latvia, and began studying at the age of four with his father and grandfather, both distinguished string players. At the age of seven, he enrolled as a student at Riga Music School where he made rapid progress, and at sixteen he was awarded the First Prize of the Latvian Republic. Two years later he began his studies with David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory. Gidon Kremer went on to win a series of prestigious awards, including prizes in the 1967 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and 1969 Montreal International Music Competition and first prize in both the 1969 Paganini and 1970 Tchaikovsky International Competitions.
It was from this secure platform of study and success that Gidon Kremer launched his distinguished career. Over the past five decades he has established and sustained a worldwide reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation. He has appeared on almost every major concert stage as recitalist and with the most celebrated orchestras of Europe and North America, and has worked with many of the greatest conductors of the past half century.
Gidon Kremer’s repertoire is unusually wide and strikingly varied. It encompasses the full span of classical and romantic masterworks for violin, together with music by such leading twentieth and twenty-first century composers as Berg, Henze and Stockhausen. He has also championed the work of living Russian and Eastern European composers and has performed many important new compositions by them, several of which have been dedicated to him. His name is closely associated with such composers as Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Sofia Gubaidulina, Valentin Silvestrov, Luigi Nono, Edison Denisov, Aribert Reimann, Peteris Vasks, John Adams, Victor Kissine, Michael Nyman, Philip Glass, Leonid Desyatnikov and Astor Piazzolla, whose works he performs in ways that respect tradition while being fully alive to their freshness and originality. It is fair to say that no other soloist of comparable international stature has done more to promote the cause of contemporary composers and new music for violin.
An exceptionally prolific recording artist, Gidon Kremer has made over 120 albums. Many of these have received prestigious international awards and prizes in recognition of his exceptional interpretative insights. The artist’s list of awards includes, among many others, the Grand prix du Disque, the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Ernst von Siemens Musikpreis, the Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Premio dell’ Accademia Musicale Chigiana, the Triumph Prize 2000 (Moscow), the Unesco Prize in 2001, the Saeculum Glashütte Original MusikFestspielPreis from Dresden in 2007, the Rolf Schock Prize for the Musical Arts from Stockholm in 2008, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Istanbul Music Festival in 2010, and the Una Vita Nella Musica – Artur Rubinstein Prize from Venice in 2011. In 2016 Gidon Kremer has received a Praemium Imperiale prize that is widely considered to be the Nobel Prize of music.
In 1997 Maestro Kremer founded Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra to foster outstanding young musicians from the three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The ensemble and its founder have toured extensively together over the past two decades, appearing at the world’s leading festivals and concert venues. They have also recorded two dozen albums for the Teldec, Nonesuch, Burleske, Deutsche Grammophon and ECM labels. During 2016-17 they will jointly celebrate the ensemble’s 20th anniversary and Maestro Kremer’s 70th birthday year with extensive tours of the United States, Europe and the Far East. The violinist will also appear as a concerto soloist with, among others, the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg and Kent Nagano, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Christian Thielemann, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Juanjo Mena, and the National Symphony Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach.
In February 2002 Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica received the Grammy Award in the “Best Small Ensemble Performance” category for After Mozart on Nonesuch; the album was awarded an ECHO Klassik later that year. Their 2014 release on ECM of works by Mieczysław Weinberg was nominated for a Grammy in 2015.
In 2015 Deutsche Grammophon released New Seasons, comprising Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica’s recording of Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto No 2, The American Four Seasons, and works by Pärt, Kancheli and Shigeru Umebayashi. Their latest album, issued on ECM in October 2015 to mark Giya Kancheli’s 80th birthday year, pairs the Georgian composer’s Chiaroscuro for violin, string orchestra and percussion and Twilight for two violins and string orchestra, with Maestro Kremer and Patricia Kopatchinskaja as soloists. Both titles attracted high critical praise and a substantial international audience within weeks of their release.
Gidon Kremer plays an instrument made by Nicola Amati in 1641. He is the author of four books, of which the latest is Letters to a Young Pianist (2013). These writings have been translated into many languages and reflect the breadth of his artistic pursuits and aesthetic outlook.
Giedre Dirvanauskaite studied at the renowned Lithuania Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius and gained important musical impulses through master classes with Mstislav Rostropovich, David Geringas, Hatto Beyerle and the violinist Tatjana Grindenko and the Hagen Quartet.
Since 1997 she has been one of the founding members of the Kremerata Baltica Orchestra, which was founded by Gidon Kremer in the same year. She has been its solo cellist since 2008.
In addition to her activity with Kremerata Baltica, she is a regular guest at various festivals as a chamber musician and has thus played with many world-class artists like Martha Argerich, Michel Portal, Sa Chen, Valery Affanassiev, Oleg Maisenberg, Mate Bekovac, Yuri Bashmet.
As soloist she played under the direction of Saulius Sondeckis, Roman Kofman, Gintaras Rinkevicius, Andres Mustonen, Mario Brunello, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andrei Boreyko.
Giedre Dirvanauskaite performs in a piano trio formation in addition to her regular worldwide tours with the Kremerata Baltica with Yulianna Avdeeva and with Georgs Osokins.
Specialized Vocal-Choir School of Voice Protection has been established in 1973. The school gives comprehensive professional musical education to children with good vocal abilities. Some of the gifted graduates who have continued their education in Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan, are currently among the artists of A. Spendiaryan Opera and Ballet Theatre of Armenia.
The adults choir cooperates with the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra (artistic director and conductor E. Topchyan) and Armenian State Symphonic Orchestra (artistic director and conductor S. Smbatyan). It also participates in the performances of the Armenian National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet named after Al. Spendiaryan.
Art director, laureate of international competitions, professor: K. Arakelyan. Conductor, laureate of international competition: E. Arakelyan
The Ayb School Choir has been founded in 2011 in parallel with the Ayb School's opening. The main purpose of the choir is to introduce to the students the rich heritage of the Armenian choral art, to nurture the spirit of collaboration and co-creation through art.
The Choir's repertoire mainly includes the Armenian spiritual and folk songs and their arrangements.
The Choir had several performances in Armenia and abroad. The first concert was held in 2014 at the Komitas Chamber Music Hall.
In May 2015, the Ayb Choir was involved in the “Choeur à Coeur Enfants d'Europe ARMENIE/FRANCE 2015” project by the invitation and guidance of the renowned conductor George Pehlevanyan, and participated in the concerts dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide at the National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre after Al. Spendiaryan and in three cities of France including the UNESCO Hall in Paris.
In August 2016, the Ayb Alumni Choir performed a solo concert at the Spiritual Music Festival in Patmos, Greece, presenting the Armenian spiritual music.
An important achievement is the CD recorded by the Ayb Choir, which includes choral arrangements of the Armenian spiritual and folk songs.
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 Medici.tv, 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.