January 27, 2014 - 16:47 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Outstanding Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian celebrates his 75th birthday on January 27.
Mansurian is one of the few, if not the only Armenian composer who succeeded in merging Armenian melos, classical and avant-garde music in his works. It all started by a mere chance, as it usually happens with the geniuses.
Says the artist himself, "one evening, I saw a trophy German piano. It all happened in a workers' club, where a game of chess was ongoing. This was the fist time I saw a piano and was unable to tear myself away from it ever since. I started playing, not knowing the notes. I got to improvising, best I could. And it all went on from there... To enter a musical college, I learnt the notes, theory of music, solfeggio – all of it unassisted. It was hard. From that time on, music has been my personal business."
Mansurian was born in Beirut; in 1947 Mansurian's family moved to Armenia, finally settling in the capital Yerevan in 1956. Mansurian studied at the Yerevan Music Academy with Edvard Bagdasaryan and completed his PhD with Lazar Saryan at the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory where he later taught contemporary music analysis.
In a short time he became one of Armenia's leading composers, establishing strong creative relationships with international performers and composers such as Valentin Silvestrov, Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, André Volkonsky and Edison Denisov as well as Kim Kashkashian, Jan Garbarek, and the Hilliard Ensemble.
Mansurian was the director of the Komitas Conservatory in the 1990s. He has recently retired as an administrator and teacher, and concentrates exclusively on composition. Mansurian's musical style is characterized mainly by the organic synthesis of ancient Armenian musical traditions and contemporary European composition methods. His oeuvre comprises orchestral works, seven concerti for strings and orchestra, sonatas for cello and piano, three string quartets, madrigals, chamber music and works for solo instruments.
Tigran Mansurian was nominated for a Grammy award in 2006. He was the first Armenian composer to have ever been nominated for this award.