Dripper-container with dove for dripping the holy oil
Bagdad, 1815 (Echmiatsin Treasury)
Tigran Hamasyan, the pianist giving jazz an Armenian twist
He's the hottest pianist in jazz and he likes to mix things up, whether it's bebop, thrash metal or dubstep. But his heart is in the folk music of his native land
Herbie Hancock declared:
"Tigran, you are my teacher now!"
Tigran Hamasyan: 'I get into different types of music and really immerse myself in each one.'
Somewhere, there's home-movie footage of a three-year-old Tigran Hamasyan at his childhood home in rural Armenia. He is listening to Black Sabbath's Paranoid and freaking out on a toy guitar. "That was my childhood ambition," he laughs. "Still, to this day, if I could become a killer guitar player in a couple of years, I'd quit playing the piano and start learning now. I'd love to front a thrash metal band!"
Thankfully, thrash metal's loss has been jazz's gain. At the age of 26, this tiny, impish Armenian-American is the hottest pianist in jazz, selling out arenas and earning fervent praise from the likes of Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau and Herbie Hancock (the latter declared: "Tigran, you are my teacher now!"). But Hamasyan isn't even sure if he makes jazz music. "I suppose it's jazz in the sense that I'm improvising," he says. "But the language I try to use when I'm improvising is not bebop but Armenian folk music."
Hamasyan has an omnivorous musical diet. He devours traditional songs from Armenia, Scandinavia and India, and has studied classical music to a high level (he has suggested a budding jazz pianist would be better off playing Bach or Chopin than studying bebop), while his iPod playlist is that of the twentysomething hipster – J Dilla, Flying Lotus, Radiohead, Sigur Rós, Skrillex and a heavy dose of thrash metal.
But the music he makes doesn't really sound like any of the above. We meet after he's played to a sold-out 2,000-seat theatre in Toulouse, where his 90-minute set lurches from delicate, impressionistic versions of eastern orthodox hymns to bursts of electronica; from Keith Jarrett-like meditations to full-on jazz-rock.
U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr. presented the Universal Rights Award for Media Excellence to Photolure, in recognition of their outstanding professionalism and commitment in their coverage of the #ElectricYerevan protests last summer. “When the press puts attention on human rights, the people start talking and demanding change and action. The press serves as a mediator, helping the public make their case and giving the government an insight into the needs of the people. And powerful photos can forward that conversation as much as well-crafted editorials. For its commitment to true, detached journalistic professionalism, I am honored to present this year’s Media Excellence Universal Rights Award to Photolure.” Do you agree that powerful photos can advance that conversation as much as well-crafted articles?
New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art
Did you know that this beautiful, 19th century Armenian shoe is a part of the permanent collection of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art? The museum holds over two million works and is among the most visited art museums in the world. If you are going to New York, be sure to visit the Met or check out their on-line collection featuring 427,694 items.
Sasuntsi Davit Relief
May 21, 2016
In the 1980s, when the Cascade was being constructed, architect Jim Torosyan (1926-2014) invited sculptor Artashes Hovsepyan to design one of the galleries in the future complex. The artist with the help of four masons worked for four years in the hall which is now called Sasuntsi Davit Gallery. The national epos was always captivating for the sculptor. He had already had the opportunity to create reliefs relating the Armenian epic poems in Sasuntsi Davit Subway Station: Great Mher, Little Davit and Qurkik Jalali, Davit the Shepherd, Little Mher and other works attract attention by their monolithic composition, simple decorative and rhythmic array, as well as monumental-stylistic symbolic forms.
The multi-figure composition in Sasuntsi Davit Gallery, depicting more than thirty episodes from the Armenian epos, is the sculptural version of the famous graphic work (Sasuntsi Davit, 1922, Collection of National Gallery of Armenia) by renowned Armenian artist Hakob Kojoyan (1883-1959). After the destructive earthquake of 1988 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, this tufa relief has remained unfinished.
Coachella organizers officially announce new megafest Desert Trip
Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, The Who, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young to play Coachella offshoot festival
By Alex Young
Goldenvoice, the organizers behind Coachella, have officially announced their next megafest. Taking place October 7th – 9th at Indio, California’s Empire Polo Grounds ...
Aurora Prize Ceremony
The inaugural Aurora Prize Ceremony took place on April 24 at the Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Starting with the foyer, the venue was exquisitely decorated with images of ancient manuscripts. The guests were welcomed with refreshments and musical entertainment from a sextet.
Tigran Hamasyan wins ECHO Jazz 2016 Awards!
Tigran Hamasyan has been named winners of ECHO Jazz 2016 Awards
Tigran Hamasyan was named International Instrumentalist of the Year, Piano, for his Nonesuch Records debut album, Mockroot.
The ECHO Jazz awards are conferred by the Deutsche Phono-Akademie (German Recording Academy), akin to the Grammy Awards in the United States.
The organization has handed out the ECHO Music awards annually since 1992 and the ECHO Classic awards since 1994. The ECHO Jazz prizes are the latest addition, having launched in 2010, when Bill Frisell received the inaugural award for International Instrumentalist of the Year, Guitar.
The ECHO Jazz 2016 Awards ceremony will take place at Kampnagel in Hamburg on Thursday, May 26.
Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Best Actor Nomination for 2016 Oscars
The long-coveted event is on its way! The 14th British Film Festival featuring the best and brightest pieces of the British cinematography.
Natalie Cole's unforgettable life celebrated at star-studded Los Angeles memorial with
Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight and more
Natalie Cole, who passed away on New Year's Eve, was remembered in a touching ceremony on Monday in Los Angeles
Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson, Lionel Richie, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and David Foster were among those in attendance
Cole's longtime friend Chaka Khan sang at the funeral, which was held at West Angeles Church of God in Christ
One of the greatest voices of all time was celebrated by music's biggest stars on Monday in Los Angeles.
Natalie Cole, who passed away on New Year's Eve, was remembered in a touching ceremony that brought out such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson, Lionel Richie, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and David Foster at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
Also there was Cole's good friend, music legend Chaka Kahn, who sang at the funeral.
'I feel so blessed to have called you my friend, and my buddy, and many times my confidante,' said Robinson speaking at the funeral.
'You are so real and down to Earth. Now I have to say you’re so real and up to heaven.'
Winston Churchill and His Love for ‘Ararat’ Brandy
BY ASSADOUR GUZELIAN
LONDON— October 29, 2015 was a special day for Sotheby’s Auction House. Under the auspices and with the participation of Albert, the Crown Prince of Monaco, an auction was organized on the occasion of the 50th Death Anniversary of Winston Churchill.
The main organizers of the event were Prince Albert of Monaco, the British Ambassador to Monaco and the former Prime Minister and current Ambassador of Armenia Dr. Armen Sarkissian. The entire proceeds of the auction were allocated to Prince Albert’s charities related to climatic changes.
Items being auctioned were the drinks, cigars and menswear of renowned brands and others objects favored by Churchill.
During the auction the main attention was focused on the statue of Churchill by the well-known sculptor Oscar Nemon and a decades old bottle of “Ararat” Armenian brandy with an interesting background history. Many years ago, this unique bottle of Armenian brandy was sold at an auction by Christy’s for more than GBP 15,000. According to the documents provided the bottle was filled from the same barrels from which for many years Stalin supplied Churchill with “Ararat” Armenian brandy.
The exclusive bottle of brandy was donated to the auction by former Prime Minister and current Ambassador of Armenia Dr. Armen Sarkissian.
Sotheby’s auction house was filled with many high class aristocrats. What happened at the auction next, surpassed everyone’s expectation; The 70 year old “Ararat” was sold for GBP 80,000, which is equal to USD 120,000!
The participants to the auction with amazement and admiration spoke about Armenia and the Armenians. Hopefully the unprecedented success of the Armenian brandy in misty Albion will help to promote the fame of “Ararat” brand.
When and where did Churchill first drink the Armenian brandy?
My wife Vivienne and I had the pleasure of enjoying the friendship of Winston Churchill’s daughter Sara for many years, starting from late 1960s. When for the first time she was invited to dinner, she noticed in our sitting room on the piano, a bottle of “Ararat” Armenian brandy. She looked at the bottle with amazement and said,
“From 1945 until his death, my father used to drink this brandy.”
Then Sara told us when and where Churchill first drank “Ararat” brandy.
During the Yalta Conference In 1945 February, after the dinner Stalin asks Churchill if he wished to have a drink?
“I like a brandy with my cigar”, answers the British Prime Minister.
The host offers Churchill “Ararat”, the best Armenian brandy.
According to Sara, Churchill “falls in love” with “Ararat” Armenian brandy and asks Stalin;
“Where can I purchase few bottles of this brandy?”
Montegrappa’s New Pens Highlight the History of Armenia
December 18, 2015
Crafted in collaboration with a group of Armenian artists, entrepreneurs, and clergy members, the new Montegrappa Erebouni series of writing instruments pays tribute to Armenia, the storied nation straddling Europe and Asia between the Black and Caspian seas. Carrying the ancient name of Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan, the collection comprises three versions: the top-shelf Hokevor, the limited-edition Haverj, and the standard-edition Kragan.
The Erebouni collection is heavily driven by symbols that recall the country’s heritage and history, especially the Hokevor and Haverj pens because they feature intricate die-cast metalwork depicting the 17th-century Zevartnots church on the cap, a reference to Armenia as the first Christian nation; pomegranates on the barrel and cap, a cultural representation for life; the Eternal Flame of Yerevan’s Dzidzernagapert memorial, lit in memory of the estimated 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide; and a teardrop-shaped blue cubic zirconia by Swarovski on the clip, symbolizing both grief and hope.
Ranging in price from $5,699 to $53,000, the Hokevor series is available in three versions—vermeil, sterling silver, and solid gold (made to order)—each of which is limited to just 100 pieces. The Haverj pens range in price from $1,750 for a sterling-silver roller ball to $2,350 for a gold-plated fountain pen, with each style limited to just 1,915—a respectful nod to the date of the Armenian Genocide. The Kragan pens are special illustrated editions of the classic Montegrappa Fortuna and are priced from $790 for a yellow-gold ballpoint to $820 for a rose-gold roller ball. (armenianpen.com)
Concert in Vienna, dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide
The Concert “With you, Armenia” dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide took place in Vienna, Austria on Saturday, November 7. The concert concluded the series of oversees cultural events took place recently in various major cities worldwide.
The concert was organized by the Armenian Genocide Centennial State Committee, Armenia’s Ministry of Culture and the Embassy of Armenia in Austria, in cooperation with Yerevan Perspectives International Music Festival.
The event took place at famous Wiener Musikverein concert hall’s main stage - the Grosser Saal.
Armenian Ambassador to Austria, Dr. Arman Kirakossian in his opening speech expressed the sincere gratitude to the renowned artists, who stand side by side with Armenian nation, share its sorrow and make invaluable contribution to the prevention of further crimes against humanity.
Violinist Emmanuel Tjeknavorian, pianist Nare Aghramanyan, world famous cellist Misha Maisky and his family trio played works by Komitas, Babajanian, Brahms, Rachmaninov, Bizet and other European and Armenian composers. A group of prominent opera singers, including Liana Harutyunyan, Hovhannes Ayvazyan, Varduhi Khachatryan and Barsegh Tumanyan performed Mozart’s Requiem to the accompaniment of famous Bachchor and Camerata Salzburg chamber orchestra.
Ambassadors accredited to to Austria, heads of various international missions, diplomats, Austrian politicians and governmental agents, Austrian-Armenian community members attended the event.
Pianist Martha Argerich is awarded top music honour
Martha Argerich was presented with the medal by the RPS chairman John Gilhooly at a ceremony at London's Wigmore Hall
5 November 2015
Pianist Martha Argerich has been awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society's (RPS) Gold Medal, one of classical music's highest honours.
Argentinian-born Argerich, 74, follows in the footsteps of Placido Domingo and Antonio Pappano, among others.
Argerich is known as one of the most innovative pianists and a strong supporter of new talent.
The RPS said she was gifted with a "combination of technical mastery and passionate artistry".
The society's statement continued: "Martha Argerich's extraordinary live performances are a musical and intellectual tour de force."
The society also praised her commitment to emerging musicians and the "inspirational collaborations" between up-and-coming artists and established ones she had made happen.
Pianist Gabriele Baldocci, one of Argerich's long-standing duo partner, paid tribute to Argerich.
"She says everything through music. I've never had a formal lesson with her, but she is my greatest teacher," he said.
Argerich is the 101st recipient of the gold medal, which was founded in 1870 in celebration of the centenary of the birth of Beethoven.
The Royal Philharmonic Society commissioned Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and continued to have a close association with the composer.
Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and began piano lessons at the age of five. Her talent was soon obvious and she gave her debut concert in 1949 at the age of eight.
In 1955, she and her family moved to Vienna, Austria, and she continued her studies in London, Vienna and in Switzerland.
In 1957, Argerich won the prestigious Bolzano and Geneva Piano Competitions, and in 1965 the Warsaw International Chopin Competition.
Since then, she has been one of the most prominent pianists in the world and has won many awards, including two Grammys.
Yo-Yo Ma performs 'The Swan' from 'Songs from the Arc of Life'
Famed classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma's latest album "Songs from the Arc of Life" is filled with the music that he considers to be the soundtrack of his life with pianist Kathryn Scott, from childhood to adulthood. He is joined by Anna Polonsky on piano to perform Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan" on TODAY.
Free admission (all visitors, all hours)
The Metropolitan Opera’s annual Summer HD Festival, which presents free outdoor screenings of operas on Lincoln Center Plaza each summer, returns with 10 screenings of performances featuring the company’s leading artists in a varied selection of operas by Bartók, Bizet, Gounod, Mozart, Offenbach, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, and Verdi, running on consecutive nights from August 29 through September 7.
In addition, this year’s festival will open on Friday, August 28 at 8 p.m. with a special presentation of the classic 1961 movie musical West Side Story. The film, which won 10 Academy Awards and features a score by Leonard Bernstein, is largely set in the neighborhood where Lincoln Center now stands. This screening is co-presented with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which also co-presented the Met’s screening of Moonstruck last summer.
The summer of classical continues at the renowned Tanglewood
As the Toronto Summer Music festival packs up for the season, world-class music can be found at the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Lativa's Andris Nelsons conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood summer music festival. Nelsons is one of the most talked-about baton wavers of the 30-something generation, writes William Littler.
By: William Littler Music Columnist
LENOX, MASS.—In just over a week, Toronto Summer Music will pack up its scores for the season. Elsewhere, the festival season goes on, especially on a sylvan site in Western Massachusetts known as Tanglewood.
Tanglewood is the grandaddy of this continent’s major summer music festivals, the oldest, largest and most famous. This is where Leonard Bernstein studied conducting with Serge Koussevitzky and where Seiji Ozawa, one of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s most popular music directors, studied conducting with Bernstein.
Most significantly of all, this is the summer home of one of the world’s great symphonic ensembles, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, whose members come to play, to teach and to be bitten by mosquitoes.
Yes, most of the concerts take place in quasi-outdoor settings, the roofed 5,000-plus-seat Shed, and the roofed and side-walled 1,150-seat Ozawa Hall, both of whose backs open to sprawling lawns where corks are popped and chicken legs consumed to the accompaniment of Beethoven and Brahms.
Conversation, master class and performance:Karajan conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5
01/01/1966 — 31/12/1966
Herbert von Karajan
The Art of Conducting was the title given by Herbert von Karajan to the series of innovative music documentaries which he made in the mid-1960s with the distinguished French director Henri-Georges Clouzot. Karajan loved to know how things work and was convinced that in the modern world others thought likewise. At the same time he was convinced that too little was known about his own profession and that of the orchestral musicians with whom he collaborated. His aim in The Art of Conducting was to throw fresh light on this.
Karajan used a variety of combinations. In the Schumann programme it was rehearsal and performance; in the Dvořák it was conversation and performance. For this Beethoven film a further element is added, as an apprentice conductor is shown how to rehearse the slow movement of the Fifth Symphony. Karajan would tell students: “I cannot tell you how to conduct but I can tell you how to rehearse in such a way that in the concert you will not need to conduct.”
Karajan believed that words can establish an idea which will help unlock the music’s essential character. He also believed in the need for musicians to imagine the sound they require; lodge that in the mind and the fingers will do the rest. What Karajan does not say – though his comments during the rehearsal vividly demonstrate the fact – is how any aspiring conductor must know in the finest of fine detail the inner workings of the piece he is about to conduct.
The Berliner Philharmoniker have long been known for the visceral intensity of their music-making. In this 1966 film Clouzot’s cameras set out to celebrate the corporate togetherness of the Berlin playing in the context of Karajan’s own high-octane reading of this most celebrated of symphonies.
Happy 75th Birthday Herbie Hancock!
Jeff Lynne's ELO to team with Ed Sheeran for Grammys
Photo: Peter Still, Redferns via Getty Images
Brian Mansfield, USA TODAY 7:02 a.m. EST February 4, 2015
Jeff Lynne's ELO will perform with Ed Sheeran Sunday as part of an all-star moment with Herbie Hancock, John Mayer and The Roots' Questlove at the 57th Grammy Awards Sunday (CBS, 8 p.m. ET/tape delayed PT).
The recently reunited ELO, which played its first full show in 28 years in London this past September, features founding members Lynne and keyboardist Richard Tandy. The appearance is likely a precursor to a new album and U.S. tour later this year.
ELO's '70s and early-'80s hits included Mr. Blue Sky, Livin' Thing, Strange Magic and Don't Bring Me Down.
The latest set of performer announcements for Sunday's telecast includes four-time nominee Sia and 20-time Latin Grammy winner Juanes. Sam Smith will duet with Mary J. Blige, and Smith's fellow new-artist nominee Brandy Clark will make her Grammy performance debut singing with Dwight Yoakam. Coldplay's Chris Martin will guest with Beck, and pianist Lang Lang will sit in on an as-yet unannounced song.
Those performers will join a Grammys lineup that already includes AC/DC; Tony Bennett with Lady Gaga; Eric Church; Common with John Legend; Ariana Grande; Hozier with Annie Lennox; Jessie J with Tom Jones; Miranda Lambert; Adam Levine with Gwen Stefani; Madonna; Rihanna with Paul McCartney and Kanye West; Usher; and Pharrell Williams.
Ian Gillan addresses Gyumri Community
Yerevan /Mediamax/, Deep Purple Frontman Ian Gillan addressed a letter to the people of Gyumri regarding the tragedy of January 12.
Six members of the Avetisyan family, including their two-year-old daughter, were slain in Gyumri on January 12. Their six-month-old son Seryozha Avetisyan who got stab wounds on the day the rest of the family was killed died a week later. Soldier of Russian 102nd Military Base stationed in Gyumri Valery Permyakov is accused of the massacre.
Ian Gillan’s letter reads:
I am writing to express my deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences regarding the atrocity committed in Gyumri on Monday the 12th of January.
This heinous, senseless crime – the murder of the Avetisyan family – has left me feeling sick and desperately sad for the whole community; this brave and loving community; to which I feel a strong spiritual connection, through previous events of tragedy and endeavor.
I have tried for days to write words to explain my emotions, but the words just wouldn’t come. Now, on this peaceful Sunday at home in England I have finally found the will to reach out, but I can offer little apart from love and a communal hug.
It is impossible for ordinary people to imagine how such a bestial act can occur and so I pray that the authorities will do the right thing and that justice is not only done, but it is seen to be done in a manner that is respectful to the memory of these slaughtered innocents, who shall be remembered with respect and affection”.
In 1989, Ian Gillan took part in Rock Aid Armenia project which aimed to raise funds for Armenia affected by Spitak Earthquake in 1988.
Lavash was inscribed on UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
On November 26 the decision to inscribe the nomination submitted by Armenia “Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia” on UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was made at the ninth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Paris.
In 2013 submitted nomination went through procedural stages set out in the Convention, getting positive expert assessment.
Thus, yet another, the 4th Armenian cultural value, was added to UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The nomination was elaborated by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography National Academy of Sciences Ministry of Culture and Armenian National Commission for UNESCO.
“Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia” nomination is available at the link below:
Pink Floyd - The Endless River
The Endless River has as its starting point the music that came from the 1993 Division Bell sessions, when David Gilmour, Rick Wright and Nick Mason played freely together at Britannia Row and Astoria studios. This was the first time they had done so since the ‘Wish You Were Here’ sessions in the seventies. Those sessions resulted in The Division Bell, the band’s last studio album.
In 2013 David Gilmour and Nick Mason revisited the music from those sessions and decided that the tracks should be made available as part of the Pink Floyd repertoire. It would be the last time the three of them would be heard together. The band have spent the last year recording and upgrading the music,using the advantages of modern studio technology to create The Endless River.
The Endless River is a tribute to Rick Wright, whose keyboards are at the heart of the Pink Floyd sound. It is a mainly instrumental album with one song, ‘Louder Than Words’, (with new lyrics by novelist Polly Samson), arranged across four sides and produced by David Gilmour, Phil Manzanera, Youth and Andy Jackson.
Watch President Obama awkwardly sing along to “On the Road Again” with Willie Nelson
Wings to reissue classic albums
Venus and Mars and At The Speed Of Sound
12th British Film Festival