McIntire Department of Music

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Shoghaken Armenian Folk Ensemble

The McIntire Department of Music presents the Shoghaken Armenian Folk Ensemble as part of their 2008 US Tour. The world acclaimed ensemble of Armenia's foremost musicians and vocalists will give a concert in Old Cabell Hall at 8pm on Thursday, February 14th. The concert is $10 for the general public, $5 for students and 5ARTS$ for UVA Students. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Cabell Hall Box Office at 434.924.3984. The ensemble will also give an instrument demonstration at 10:00 am and a dance workshop at 1:30 pm on the 14th. The Shoghaken residency is underwritten by the University of Virginia Council for the Arts.

"Wildly ecstatic dance rhythms with mournful vocals... played with dazzling finesse."

Aaron Cohen of the Chicago Tribune writes: “Wildly ecstatic dance rhythms with mournful vocals… played with dazzling finesse.”

The Shoghaken Ensemble was founded by Gevorg Dabaghyan in 1991 and is now one of the leading traditional music ensembles in Armenia. The Chicago Reader proclaims, “There isn’t a better introduction to traditional Armenian music.” It is dedicated to rediscovering and continuing Armenia’s extraordinary folk music history. The group presents music from a broad geographical and historical span using traditional instruments and song styles.

"There isn't a better introduction to traditional Armenian music."

With an extraordinary ancient repertoire of exhilarating dances, haunting love songs and lullabies, Shoghaken has mesmerized audiences far beyond the Caucasus Mountains, where Armenians have lived for centuries as the first Christian state established in 301 AD.

"There may be no instrument that can sound as richly inconsolable as the duduk... exuberance tempered by tearful memories."

Armenian folk music is one of the world’s richest musical traditions, burgeoning with an extraordinary array of melodies and genres. The Shoghaken Ensemble’s program was described by the New York Times as “exuberance tempered by tearful memories.” Shoghaken offers a rare chance to witness the energy and variety of this music that for centuries was so integral to Armenians’ rites of passage and daily lives.

The Boston Herald - "The Shoghaken Ensemble does more than preserve fading rural artifacts – the band gives them eternal life through interpretations that are stunning in their drive, beauty and mystery."

The Shoghaken Ensemble combines the musical virtuosity inherited from the Soviet years with a new attention to the unscripted forms and styles of lost songs and dances from both west and east–a curiosity that has become a hallmark of post-Soviet Armenian culture.

Residency Events

open to the public

Shoghaken Ensemble Demonstration about traditional Armenian instruments

  • Thursday, February 14th
  • 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Old Cabell Hall Room B018
  • Free

Demonstration about traditional Armenian instruments, such as the duduk (endblown woodwind), the kamancha (spike fiddle) and the kanon (plucked zither). The ensemble members will talk about the history of the instruments, demonstrate techniques and play one of the masterworks for each instrument.

Shoghaken Ensemble Folk dance workshop

  • Thursday, February 14th
  • 1:30 - 3:30 pm
  • Old Cabell Hall Room 107
  • Free

Folk dance workshop with live music.
Members of the ensemble will teach 3 or 4 Armenian folk dances.

Shoghaken Ensemble in Concert - Music of Armenia

  • Thursday, February 14th
  • 8:00 pm
  • Old Cabell Hall
  • $10, $5 students, 5 UVa ARTS$
Program notes

The McIntire Department of Music presents the Shoghaken Armenian Folk Ensemble as part of their 2008 US Tour. The world acclaimed ensemble of Armenia's foremost musicians and vocalists will give a concert in Old Cabell Hall at 8pm on Thursday, February 14th. The concert is $10 for the general public, $5 for students and 5ARTS$ for UVA Students. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Cabell Hall Box Office at 434.924.3984. The ensemble will also give an instrument demonstration at 10:00 am and a dance workshop at 1:30 pm on the 14th. The Shoghaken residency is underwritten by the University of Virginia Council for the Arts.

Performers

Vardan Baghdasaryan (kamancha) was born in 1969 in Yerevan. He studied at the Sarajyan Musical School in the department of violin, then at the Echmiadzin Musical Cultural College in the department of kamancha. After graduation, Baghdasaryan lectured at the college. Since 1992, he has been a member of the Sayat Nova Ashoughagan Ensemble. Baghdasaryan has also played on many recordings, and has participated in concerts in Europe and the United States.

Gevorg Gourgen Dabaghyan (duduk, zurna), born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1965, is one of Armenia’s best living duduk players. He has won many awards, including the grand prize at the international Eastern Traditional Instruments competition in 1990, and the grand prize in the Sayat Nova duduk competition in both 1991 and 1992. He began studying duduk after middle school at the Romanos Melikian Music Institute and from 1984 to 1989 attended the prestigious Komitas State Conservatory. He continued his post-graduate studies at the Conservatory under K. Avetisian until 1992. Dabaghyan has performed around the world in the past decade and recorded extensively. He is featured on more than 50 recordings in the Armenian National Radio archives and as a soloist on several movie soundtracks, including Atom Egoyan’s Ararat (2002) and the Iranian film Miss Maria (2001). The Shoghaken Ensemble, which Dabaghyan founded in 1991, performs on the 6-CD box set The Music of Armenia (Celestial Harmonies). Dabaghyan’s solo performance in this set (Volume 4) was singled out for an AFIM award in 1997. He released his first major independent solo recording Miniatures: Masterworks for Armenian Duduk (Traditional Crossroads CD 4312) in 2002 and The Lost Songs of Eden (Traditional Crossroads CD 4335) in 2008. Known for his melodic expressiveness, Dabaghyan has also greatly expanded the repertoire of Armenia’s archetypal folk instrument. He was the first to play Armenian church music on the duduk and the first to use a traditional Armenian instrument to accompany new symphonic and choral works by contemporary Armenian composers, including Vache Sharafyan’s The Sound of Morning in the Acacia Trees, which Dabaghyan performed with the internationally renowned cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, in concerts throughout Europe and North America as part of the Silk Road Project. A much sought-after collaborator, Dabaghyan has also performed recently in concerts with the violinist Gidon Kremer, conductor Yuri Bashmet, and the saxophonist Jan Garbarek.

Hasmik Harutyunyan (vocals) was born in 1960 in Yerevan. Her ancestors are from the province of Mus in historical Armenia (present-day Turkey). She is one of Armenia’s best-known folk singers, and specializes in the songs of Western Armenia. She graduated from the Department of Vocal Music at the Arno Babajanian School of Music and the Yerevan State Pedagogical Institute. For several years, she worked as a soloist for the “Agoonk” Ensemble of Armenian National Radio. As a member of the Shoghaken Ensemble she was featured as a soloist on Armenian Lullabies (Traditional Crossroads) and The Music of Armenia (Celestial Harmonies) and has traveled throughout Armenia and Europe presenting Armenian folk music, including at the Armenia Festival in southern France in October 2000 and the Smithsonian Festival in Washington, DC in June 2002. She is now the artistic director of the Hayrig Mouradian Children’s Song and Dance Folk Group.

Aleksan Harutyunyan (vocals) was born in Yerevan in 1962. Brother of singer Hasmik Harutyunyan, his ancestors are from the province of Mus in historical Armenia (present-day Turkey). After graduating from Yerevan State University and the Komitas State Conservatory, he worked for many years as a soloist in, and eventually the director of, Armenian National Radio’s Agoonk Ensemble, and then as a soloist in the National Opera and as a member of the State Academic Choir. He performed with these various groups around the globe. He is now a soloist in the National Chamber Choir of Armenia and the vocal group “Hye Folk.”

Karine Hovhannisyan (kanon), born in Yerevan in 1966, is a graduate of the Tigran Choukhajyan Music School and the Arno Babajanyan School of Music, and a prizewinner at the renowned Sayat Nova Competition. She is currently a post-graduate student and teacher at the Yerevan State Conservatory and a member of the Armenian State Dance Ensemble. She recorded a solo CD as part of The Music of Armenia box set (Celestial Harmonies, Volume 3) and continues to perform and travel worldwide with the Shoghaken Ensemble. Her newest recording, Classical Music for the Armenian Kanun, issued by Traditional Crossroads, documents the major works for kanun and symphony orchestra by Khachatur Avetisyan.

Kamo Khatchaturian (dhol) studied at the Romanos Melikian Music Institute and was a member of Armenian National Radio’s Agoonk Ensemble for several years. He currently performs and tours with the Shoghaken Ensemble.

Grigor Takushian (dham duduk), born in Yerevan in 1965, graduated from the Romanos Melikian Music Institute and has performed with both the Agoonk Ensemble and with Shoghaken.

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Maintained By McIntire Department of Music
Last Modified: Monday, 28-Jul-2008 23:30:00 EDT
112 Old Cabell Hall, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Departmental Information: (434) 924-3052
Cabell Hall Box Office: (434) 924-3984