Jazz in Armenia
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The first jazz band of Yerevan was founded in 1936, by composer Tsolak Vardazaryan. In 1938, composer Artemi Ayvazyan firstly in the USSR founded the Armenian State Jazz Orchestra. The orchestra's first drummer Robert Yolchyan became the legend of Soviet and Armenian jazz, successfully developed his own style during the decades and continued to play and gave master-classes until his death in early 2000s. Other jazz bands were founded in Nairi Cinema Hall, Yerevan Park of Communars, etc. In 1954, Konstantin Orbelyan organized estrada quintet of Armenian Radio. In 1966 in the same radio, young composer Martin Vardazaryan founded the Estrada Orchestra, which in the 1970s was renamed to Estrada Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of Melik Mavisakalyan and Yervand Yerznkyan. Then Stepan Shakarian founded the jazz sextet of Radio, jazz-trios were founded by David Azaryan and Artashes Kartalyan. Jazz pianist Levon Malkhasian ("Malkhas") founded his jazz trio in cooperation with Armen Toutounjyan ("Chico") and Arthur Abrahamyan. In 1998, Malkhas become one of the initiators of Yerevan International Jazz-Festivals. Among the leading modern jazz musicians are Armen Martirosyan (conductor, pianist), Vahagn Hayrapetian ("Petian", piano) and Armen Hyusnunts (sax).