FRESNO — Acclaimed pianist Sahan Arzruni will perform a Concert dedicated to “Komitas: A Portrait of the Musician as a Young Priest,” at 3:00PM on Sunday, October 25. The Concert is a Special Event in the Lorenz Keyboard Concert Series and will take place at the Fresno State Concert Hall located in the University’s Music Building. The event is co-sponsored by the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State and supported by the Thomas A. Kooyumjian Family Foundation.
General admission is $25, $18 for seniors, and $5 for students. For tickets, please call 559-278-2337 or go to www.keyboardconcerts.com/special-events.aspx.
Komitas, the wellspring of contemporary Armenian music, was born in 1869 in Kütahya in western Anatolia. Orphaned at an early age, his beautiful singing voice brought him to the notice of a church emissary, who took him to Etchmiadzin, the Holy See of the Armenian Church, to study. There he was eventually ordained a celibate priest. While still a student at the seminary, Komitas wandered from village to village, collecting the folk music of the Armenian peasant. He notated thousands of songs. In arranging Armenian folk music for concert performance, Komitas made a determined effort to retain the idiosyncratic qualities of traditional song — eschewing western compositional techniques, while fashioning instead the use of drone notes and unconventional textures.
The great majority of Komitas’s works are vocal — both solo and choral. Only a small part of his oeuvre is written for the piano; but they are pieces of unusual beauty and striking originality.
Sahan Arzruni has achieved recognition as a composer, ethnomusicologist, teacher, lecturer, writer, recording artist, broadcasting personality, producer and impresario. He has toured in these capacities throughout North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, and Australia. He has been featured in a number of PBS specials—“Around the World in ‘82,” “Gala of Stars,” and “A Place of Dreams: Carnegie Hall at 100” — and has recorded for European radio networks, including the BBC. Mr. Arzruni has given command performances at the White House, as well as the British, Danish, Swedish, and Icelandic courts.
Motivated by ethnic awareness in the United States, Arzruni continuously researches the musical roots of his Armenian heritage. He recorded a three-record anthology of Armenian piano music, and co-produced an eight-disc set of instrumental and vocal Armenian music.
For more information about the Concert contact the Armenian Studies Program: www.fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies or 559-278-2669 or visit our website.