YEREVAN — Jivan Gasparyan, one of Armenia’s most celebrated musicians and composers, has passed away at the age of 92.
Writing on social media, his grandson said: “The world suffered an unimaginable loss this night. It is with deep sorrow I inform you about this huge loss. Rest in peace and may the Lord keep your soul in lights.”
Born in the village of Solak, Armenia to parents from Mush, now in Turkey, Gasparyan started to play duduk when he was six. In 1948, he became a soloist of the Armenian Song and Dance Popular Ensemble and the Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra.
He has won four medals at UNESCO worldwide competitions (1959, 1962, 1973, and 1980). In 1973 Gasparyan was awarded the honorary title People’s Artist of Armenia. In 2002, he received the WOMEX (World Music Expo) Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Honorary citizen of Yerevan.
A professor at the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory, he instructed and nurtured many performers to professional levels of performance in duduk.
In 1998 he released an album with a unique duduk quartet he formed. Creating arrangements for four musicians with “new duduk tones, alto and bass, was an extremely difficult task” and challenge, but the quartet did become a reality performing and “there is no other like it in the world”, he witnessed in the lines notes of Nazeli.
He has toured the world several times with a small ensemble playing Armenian folk music. His music has been chosen on the soundtrack of several international films.
He has collaborated with many artists, such as Sting, Peter Gabriel, Hossein Alizade, Michael Brook, Lionel Richi, Hans Zimmer and many others.
He also recorded with the Kronos Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Gasparyan played as part of the Armenian entry “Apricot Stone” by Eva Rivas at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo and became the oldest ever person to feature in a Eurovision Song Contest performance, but was not officially listed as a guest artist.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, and President Armen Sarkissian have offered condolences over the passing of world famous duduk player Jivan Gasparyan.
“I was deeply grieved to learn about the demise of world famous duduk player Jivan Gasparyan. Throughout his career, the renowned Master spread the glory of the Armenian duduk across the globe, performing on many reputable stages, presenting the sounds of Armenian music in films, cooperating with popular composers and internationally acclaimed musicians,” Nikol Pashinyan said in a message.
“Our nation and the world music community considered Jivan Gasparyan an exceptional Armenian intellectual and ranked him among the Greats of the world art; we were proud and inspired by him,” Pashinyan added.
“On listening to Jivan Gasparyan’s music, William Saroyan said: “Dear Jivan, this is not music, but a prayer.” The prayers created by the Master will forever remain in the hearts and memories of not only Armenians, but also art connoisseurs all over the world,” the acting PM added.
“His art, the emotional melodies that flow from the depths of the soul, have long since crossed all the boundaries of reality and crossed the line of eternity,” President Armen Sarkissian said of Jivan Gasparyan.
“With his unique mastery of the magic flute, Jivan Gasparyan took our folk music to the international stage, world stages, world cinema, making our national culture accessible and understandable to foreign audiences,” the President added.
“The great duduk master was one of the pillars of our modern culture, whose name is associated with the creative work of musicians, especially a whole generation of duduk players,” President Sarkissian added.