Loris Tjeknavorian

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Loris Tjeknavorian

Loris Tjeknavorian (also spelled Cheknavarian, Armenian: Լորիս Ճգնավորյան; Persian: لوریس چکناواریان‎, born 13 October 1937) is an Iranian composer and conductor. He is one of the most celebrated cultural figures in Armenia and Iran.

As one of the leading conductors of his generation, he has led international orchestras throughout the world: in Austria, UK, USA, Canada, Hungary, Copenhagen, Iran, Finland, USSR, Armenia, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Denmark, and Israel.

As a composer Tjeknavorian has written 6 operas, 5 symphonies, choral works (among them God is love, The Life of Christ, the oratorio Book of Revelation, and a requiem), chamber music, ballet music, piano and vocal works, concerti for piano, violin, guitar, cello and pipa (Chinese lute), as well as music for documentary and feature films.

His compositions have been performed by major orchestras, including London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra Helsinki, American Symphony Orchestra in New York, Tehran Symphony Orchestra, Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, the Mexico Symphony Orchestra, London Percussion Virtuosi, Strasbourg Percussion Ensemble and English Chamber Orchestra. He has made some 100 recordings with RCA, Philips, EMI, ASV, and others.

BACKGROUND AND EARLY YEARS (1937-1969)

Born in Borujerd, Iran in 1937 to immigrant Armenian parents, Tjeknavorian's early life was succinctly chronicled in the London magazine Gramophone in 1976:

“His father came from Eastern Armenia and his mother had fled from Western Armenia during the 1915 massacre…Influenced by three cultures, Armenian, Iranian and Western he benefited from a cosmopolitan upbringing. His grandfather, a doctor, liked to play the violin and as a boy Loris enjoyed listening to professional string-players (Russian, Armenian or Polish immigrants) in local cafés. Although not themselves musical, his parents wanted all three children (one boy, two girls) to play musical instruments. Eight-year old Loris was given a violin. Despite the lack of a teacher, the boy began to study in earnest; before long he had composed a number of piano pieces, with no formal instruction whatsoever. At 16 he formed a four-part choir and organized and conducted his own orchestra in Teheran. A year later he was ready to leave for the Vienna Academy of Music as a violin and composition student. While there, he wrote a violin concerto, which received the ultimate endorsement from his teacher, Hans-Joachim Drevo, who was the soloist in the work’s première. Tjeknavorian graduated with honours.” (Gramophone, November 1976)

Shortly after his graduation, the Austrian music publisher Doblinger published four of his piano compositions as well as his Ballet Fantastique for tree pianos, celeste and percussion in Vienna.

Following this fruitful period of education, Tjeknavorian went back to Iran in 1961, where he taught music theory at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. At the same time, he was appointed director of Tehran’s Music Archives and put in charge of collecting and researching traditional and modern Iranian folk music and instruments. He mounted the first Archives exhibition to great success, and began work on an opera based on the epic poem of Rostam and Sohrab.

Tjeknavorian returned to Austria in 1963 to further his studies in Salzburg at the Mozarteum. There, he met the renowned composer Carl Orff who was to become the young musician’s mentor and enthusiastic supporter. On hearing Tjeknavorian play sections of his opera Rostam and Sohrab Orff offered him a full one-year scholarship to stay in Salzburg to complete the first draft of the opera. In addition, Orff commissioned Tjeknavorian to compose piano music based on Armenian music for the Schulwerk, Orff’s system for teaching music. Tjeknavorian composed over 130 short pieces for beginning to advanced students. These are collected in two volumes called Kaleidoscope for Piano, portions of which were also published by Schott as Bilder Aus Armenia (Pictures from Armenia).

Tjeknavorian moved to the United States in 1965, where he began to study conducting at the University of Michigan. From 1966 to 1967 he was appointed composer-in-residence at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and from 1966 to 1970 head of the instrumental and opera departments at Moorhead University in Minnesota.

BACK IN IRAN (1970-1975)

In 1970, the Cultural Ministry of Iran offered Tjeknavorian the positions of composer-in-residence and principal conductor at the Rudaki Opera House in Tehran. While there he conducted a number of major operas, including his own Pardis and Parisa.

Tjeknavorian’s extensive study of the technical aspects of traditional Iranian instruments culminated with the composition of the dance-drama Simorgh, the first polyphonic composition scored entirely for Iranian instruments and based on themes from Zoroastrian myth and Persian mystical poetry. Following sold-out performances of the ballet in Tehran, the suite from Simorgh was recorded and released as an LP in London by Unicorn in 1975 to great critical acclaim. Writing about his unique compositional style, Gramophone praised the piece as “strangely beautiful”.

In Tehran Tjeknavorian’s talents found huge demand, and he soon became the leading composer of film music in Iran, scoring some 30 scores for documentaries and short and popular feature films, many of them classics of pre-revolutionary Iranian cinema. Among them was the award-winning film Bita, starring Iranian signing and acting legend Googoosh, released in 1972. That same year Tjeknavorian received the Homayoun Order and Medal for Persepolis, his score for the spectacular Son et Lumiere show at the ancient Persian capital. The audience consisted of dignitaries and heads of state from around the world that had gathered in Iran for the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire. The show was a highlight of the unprecedented event, and was followed by the release of the score by Philipps.

BACK TO THE WEST 1975-1987

In 1975 Tjeknavorian relocated to London where he signed an "Exclusive Conducting" contract with the RCA recording company. His first release was the hugely acclaimed recording of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pathetique”) with the LSO, hailed in Gramophone as “…bold and exciting…” and by RCA as “an astounding performance of electrifying passion and nobility”.

Tjeknavorian’s sudden impact on the international music scene in London created a furor, with RCA running two-page advertisement in Gramophone proclaiming him “the greatest conductor of his generation”. Attended by talk-of-the-town performances at venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Tjeknavorian followed this early success with a series of similarly acclaimed recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, including ground-breaking interpretations of Sibelius, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Dvorak, and Borodin. Tjeknavorian’s also quickly established himself as the world’s foremost interpreter of the symphonic music of Aram Khachaturian. His recording of the complete score of the ballet Gayaneh, the first and only of its kind, was hailed by the London critics as “first class” and “the most distinguished of the RCA recordings made by Loris Tjeknavorian” (Gramophone, April 1977 and June 1983).

In 1978 Tjeknavorian organized Music Armenia, described in Gramophone as “the first Armenian Festival on foreign soil. During the day there were symposiums, conferences and comparative studies of Armenian music, and in the evening, concerts presenting Armenian artists and composers.” Speaking to the London magazine, Tjeknavorian explained: “Being Christian, the first thing the Armenians did…was to translate the Bible as early as the fourth century AD. Then they started writing music in the fifth century. As soon as the alphabet was created, the chants started to be written down in old neumes. By the eighteenth century they could no longer decipher these neumes, so the musicians got together and renotated all the different chants. When I was studying in Vienna I discovered the Armenian Monastery there, and found a wealth of these chants. I became so involved in searching through all the manuscripts, it took me 15 years, and I found seven different traditions amounting to something like 30,000 melodies…It was far removed from my original idea of having the melodies just for my own compositional use, and I realized that it was of immense interest to musicologist.” (Gramophone, May 1979). For his long and dedicated work Tjeknavorian was awarded the order of “Gregory the Illuminator” by the late Catholicos Vazgen I.

Taking some of the medieval chants he had rediscovered, Tjeknavorian composed the profoundly beautiful vocal work Life of Christ, first performed during the Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Hall by the Ambrosian Singers. Many of Tjeknavorian’s most important compositions were written in this fruitful and personally difficult ten-year period culminating with, and immediately following, the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Foremost among his works during this time are his Second Symphony (Credo) and the oratorio The Book of Revelations, the second and third parts respectively of his trilogy on the Armenian Genocide begun with his groundbreaking First Symphony (Requiem for the Massacred) scored for trumpet and percussion and released in London by Unicorn in 1976. Another key work towards the end of this period was his ballet Othello, commissioned by the Northern Ballet Company and premiered in London in 1985 with Princess Ann in attendance. The recording of the piece released that year on EMI with the London Symphony Orchestra was praised by Gramophone as “enormously effective” (Gramophone, November 1985).

ARMENIA 1989-2000

Soon after settling in New York in 1986, Tjeknavorian’s destiny was diverted by the devastating Armenian earthquake of December 1988. In response, Tjeknavorian organized a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall to raise relief funds for the victims. The concert featured Plácido Domingo, Mstislav Rostropovich, Alexander Toradze and stars of the New York Metropolitan Opera, including Mirella Freni, Frederica von Stade, Samuel Ramey and Elena Obraztsova. Ticket sales for the event raised $500,000 that was sent to Armenia, where Tjeknavorian relocated a few months later, having been appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) in Yerevan.

For Tjeknavorian, the most important task was rebuilding the cultural life of Gyumri (then Leninakan), Armenia’s second largest city, which had been devastated by the earthquake. In 1991 Tjeknavorian announced his intention to go on a pilgrimage walk from Yerevan to Gyumri in order to raise funds for rebuilding efforts. Thousands of people joined him along the way and a huge percentage of the Armenian population donated money for the cause. Fifteen million rubles, worth around 20 million dollars at the time, were collected nationwide. Unfortunately, several moths later the Soviet ruble was devaluated and Tjeknavorian was compelled to seek additional money from private sources. Tjeknavorian took over the huge communist party headquarters, which had been destroyed, and in seven years transformed it into the first Academy of Music and Arts in Gyumri. During this time, his fundraising led to the founding of a symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, choir and dance ensemble, the renovation of the theater and restarting of the Gyumri TV station, and purchasing musical instruments for the orchestra and band, whose instruments had all been destroyed by in the earthquake, as well as ten grand pianos for the Arts and Music Academy.

Tjeknavorian was also instrumental in the 1991 campaign for Armenian independence. Through his tours in various Armenian cities and an all-night televised performance on national television two days before the measure passed on September 21, 1991, Tjeknavorian managed to increase the “Yes” vote for independence from 30 to 96 per cent. Given the heated controversy and popular passions surrounding the question of independence, the peaceful nature of the victory was unique, reached by Tjeknavorian through the power of music and a positive cultural message.

Following independence, Tjeknavorian served on the committee to reinstate the pre-communist Armenian flag and the national coat-of-arms. He was especially influential in the adoption of the national anthem, “Mer Hayrenik" (Our Fatherland), for which he rewrote the words for the first stanza. Tjeknavorian also renamed the two major avenues of Yerevan during last year of the Soviet period, from Lenin and Red Army to Mesrop Mashtots (creator of the Armenian alphabet in 451) and Gregory the Illuminator (founder of the Armenian church in 301 AD) respectively. The renaming reflected his philosophy of "Faith and Culture" as the twin foundations upon which the Armenian nation must be re-built. During the crippling energy blockade between 1992 and 1995 - a result of the Karabakh war - the capital was gripped by shortages of food, water, heat and electricity. Faithful to his vow that “the doors of culture must never be closed”, Tjeknavorian maintained weekly concerts at this time, including a regular series of spiritual music concerts every Saturday in anticipation of the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia. Organizing transportation for the musicians and securing their daily needs, installing power generators and electric heaters and ensuring constant power supply in the building, Tjeknavorian turned the Aram Khachaturian Hall into a sanctuary of culture and faith, and was instrumental in lifting the spirits of the thousands who packed the hall each week. This phenomenon was memorialized by numerous eyewitnesses of the time, including former Russian Ambassador Vladimir Stupishin, who wrote at length about Tjeknavorian’s activities in his memoirs.

During his eleven-year collaboration with the APO, his recordings with the orchestra for ORF (the Austrian radio and television station) and ASV (an English recording company) achieved worldwide recognition; they frequently toured Europe, the United States, Canada, Iran and Lebanon. For three successive years, from 1991 to 1993, the APO was the resident orchestra in the ORF benefit program Licht Ins Dunkel in Vienna.

IRAN 2000-PRESENT

In 2000, Tjeknavorian resigned from the APO in order to devote more time to composing. During this period he also conducted the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and performed at the San Francisco Opera House, the Contemporary Music Festival and at the Vienna Music Festival in Hong Kong and Bangkok. He conducted the Austrian premiere of his opera Rostam and Sohrab at the Festspielhaus in St. Pölten.

From 2009 to the present Tjeknavorian has continued to devote his time to composing, as well as painting and writing short stories. Among his most recent works are the operas Zahak (libretto based on Ferdowsi’s Shahname) and Mowlana and Shams-e Tabriz (libretto based on the poetry of Rumi), as well as the chamber opera “The Final Hour of Sadegh Hedayat” (libretto based on “The Blind Owl” and other works by the Iranian poet Sadegh Hedayat). Other works include his second concerto for violin and chamber orchestra, a work for solo piano titled 1915, and two major symphonic suites: King Cyrus, about the ancient Persian king, and Takhti, dedicated to the celebrated Iranian wrestler. Tjeknavorian’s paintings were exhibited at the Gallery Shirin in Tehran, Gallery Maryam Seyhoun in Los Angeles, and twice at the House of the Artists in Tehran. His series of short stories, written in English, will be published in the near future.

Tjeknavorian’s recent performances include benefit concerts in Tehran and Los Angeles for the organization MAHAK on behalf of children with cancer, a series of concerts with the Armenian Chamber Orchestra at the Talar Vahdat Hall in Tehran, a performance of his Ararat Suite with the Sacramento Symphony, and the world premiere of his King Cyrus symphonic suite with the San Francisco Philharmonic Orchestra in August 2013. In 2011 the Iranian BARBAD recording company issued a 20-CD box set of Tjerknavorian’s major works (symphonies, choral works, ballet, chamber music, operas, etc.) plus 2 DVDs of his opera Rostam & Sohrab.

AWARDS & DISTINCTIONS

Tjeknavorian has received recognition for the impact of his weekly religious concerts in Armenia during the early 1990s from non-Armenian religious leaders including the Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and received the Golden Cross from the head of the Rumanian Church. In addition to his widespread popularity in Armenia and Iran, Tjeknavorian has been awarded the Gold Medal from the Ministry of Culture of Armenia for his services to Armenian culture, and is the recipient of the Republic of Armenia’s highest honor by president Sargsyan in recognition of his role in Armenian independence. In addition he has received the First Class Artistic Degree (Honorary Doctorate) from the Iranian Islamic Ministry of Culture for his lifelong cultural contributions, and the Austrian Presidential Gold Medal for his artistic achievements.

Armenian Philharmonic[edit]

In 1989, Tjeknavarian was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra (APO). During his eleven years collaboration with the APO, his recordings for ORF (the Austrian radio and television station) and ASV (an English recording company) achieved worldwide recognition, they frequently toured Europe, the United States, Canada, Iran and Lebanon. In three successive years, from 1991 to 1993, the APO was the resident orchestra in the ORF benefit program "Licht ins Dunkel" ("Light into the Darkness") in Vienna. However, in 2000, Tjeknavarian resigned from this position in order to be able to devote more time to composing and conducting other orchestras.

Preceded by
Vahagn Papian
Principal Conductors, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra
1989–1998
Succeeded by
Michael Avetissian
Preceded by
Michael Avetissian
Principal Conductors, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Eduard Topchjan

Chronology[edit]

1937-54 Iran Born in Broudjerd, 13 October 1937, son of an Armenian immigrant family. Studies violin, piano. Attends Tehran Conservatory. top

1954-61 Vienna Attends Vienna Academy of Music (1954–61), studying composition, violin and choral conducting, graduating cum laudem in composition Concerts of his compositions in Vienna, Graz and Salzburg (1959–60) • ORF Austrian Radio broadcasts . Violin Concerto. Ballet Fantastique. Piano works, chamber music, song cycles, etc. top

1961-63 Tehran, Vienna Shortly after his graduation from the Vienna Music Academy, four of Tjeknavorian's piano compositions and his ballet fantastique were published by Doeblinger in Vienna. Tjeknavorian taught music theory at the Teheran Conservatory of Music. At the same time, he was appointed director of the National Music Archives by the Iranian Ministry for Culture and was in charge of collecting and researching traditional Iranian folk-music and national instruments. During this period the Austrian pianist Winfried van den Hove premiered Tjeknavorian's piano concerto with the Teheran Symphony Orchestra and recorded all his other piano compositions for ORF, the Austrian broadcasting station. top

1963-64 Salzburg At around the same time, Tjeknavorian began to compose his tragic opera based on a famous Iranian epic poem "Rostam and Sohrab", written in the 10th century by the Iranian poet A. Ferdowsi. In 1963, Prof. Carl Orff granted him a scholarship which allowed him to reside in Salzburg and to complete his opera. During his stay in Salzburg, Tjeknavorian composed some 150 piano pieces, all based on traditional Armenian folk-music, for the Orff-Schulwerk. A number of these compositions were published by Verlag Schott. Composed the first Iranian film music "Duel under the Sun". top

1965-70 USA University of Michigan, Teaching Fellow (1965-66: DMA program, composition and began to study conducting with the Prof. Elizabeth Green) • Concordia College, Minnesota, Composer-in-Residence (1966–67) • Moorhead State University, Associate Professor, Composer-in-Residence, Head of Instrumental & Opera Program (1967–70) • Director, Central Minnesota Summer Music Academy (1969).

Conducts Calgary Symphony Orchestra (soloist Teresa Stratas), St Paul Chamber Orchestra Concerts with the combined Minnesota and Moorhead State University Orchestras. Various opera productions (Gluck, Menotti, Mozart). top

1970-75 Tehran, London Composer-in-Residence, Iranian Ministry of Culture & Fine Arts • Principal Conductor, Tehran "Rudaki" Opera and Ballet • UK orchestral debut, Manchester July 1974. Signed exclusive contract with RCA

Novello & Co UK, Retained Composer • Persepolis 2500 .Simorgh: an Iranian Dance Drama for national instruments premiered Roudaki Opera House; London premiere at Sadler's Wells. Pardis and Parisa (fairy tale opera) premiered Rudaki Opera House. Persian Miniatures. Symphony No 1 (Requiem for the Massacred ). Armenian Bagatelles. Wind Quintet, etc. • David Wilde and the Halle' Orchestra premiere revised version of Piano Concerto • More than forty feature film, television and documentary scores. Receives Hamayoun Order & Medal for Persepolis 2500 Trustee, Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi Foundation. Made over fifty recordings, many of which have been highly praised and some of them nominated for "Best recordings of the month and year". top

1975-88 London, USA, Touring Royal Festival Hall debut (Philharmonia) conducting Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, London December 1975 • Royal Albert Hall debut (London Symphony Orchestra) conducting Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony in the presence of HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and HSH Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi, London April 1976 • Khachaturian Memorial Concert (London Symphony Orchestra) in the presence of HRH Prince & Princess Michael of Kent, Royal Festival Hall October 1978 • London symphonic choral debut (London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus) conducting Berlioz's Grande messe des morts, Royal Albert Hall February 1979 • Barbican debut (London Symphony Orchestra), London August 1982. top

During this period Tjeknavorian was based in London and New York where he made recordings and gave concerts with major orchestras and eminent artists. He was equally committed to his works of composition and wrote a guitar concerto,which was commissioned and premiered by the Nebraska chamber Orchestra. premiered by Pepe Romero; his Symphony No. 4, performed by the American Symphony Orchestra in New York; his ballet of "Othello", commissioned by the Northern Ballet Company in London (Princess Ann attended the premiere); a violin concerto performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra; the Fairy tale Suites No. 1 and 2, performed by the London Symphony, and the CREDO - Symphony performed by the Helsinky Philharmonic Orchestra. Lake Van Suite (commissioned by Granada Television UK for use as their daily call-sign). Moods for oboe & percussion. Life of Christ (a cappella oratorio) based on the medieval Armenian Chants. Requiem (commissioned by the Gulbenkian Foundation, premiered in Lisbon). Sonata for Good Friday for Organ; Simorgh An Iranian dance Drama staged by London Ballet Company; The London Philharmonic Orchestra, performed "The Piano Concerto" The English chamber orchestra premiered the "Erebouni" for 12 solo strings and The Serenade for String ensemble. The Symphony No. 3 "2000" commissioned by the Moorhead State University and it was premiered by the Rio de Janeiro Symphony orchestra. The Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra premiered the Symphonic Poem "Armenia 1700" etc. top

Guest Conductor - American Symphony Orchestra (New York), Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Mexico State Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra, New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, NIRTV Chamber Orchestra (Tehran), Philharmonia, Rio de Janeiro Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland (Dublin), SABC National Symphony Orchestra (Johannesburg), Toluca Symphony Orchestra (Mexico), Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra • English Chamber Orchestra, London Percussion Virtuosi (LSO), Nebraska Chamber Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (Minnesota) top

Touring • USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania with NIRTV Chamber Orchestra of Tehran • Iran with English Chamber Orchestra • Japan with Birgit Nillson and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, replacing Karl Boehm • Germany with Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra • Europe and USA with Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra top

Premieres • Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra give European premiere of Symphony No 2 (Credo Symphony ). Symphony No 3 (commissioned by Moorhead State University). Symphony No 4 (commissioned by Nebraska Chamber Orchestra). Toluca Symphony Orchestra (Mexico) premieres Symphony No 5 • Ralph Holmes and the London Philharmonic give UK premiere of Violin Concerto. Pepe Romero premieres Guitar Concerto • Northern Ballet Company UK commissions Of Othello, premiered in the presence of HRH the Princess Royal. London Symphony Orchestra premieres orchestral Suites Nos. 1 & 2 from the fairy tale opera Pardis and Parisa. Mexico State Symphony Orchestra premieres orchestral Suite from the opera Rostam and Sohrab top

Founder member & Chairman, Institute of Armenian Music, London and Music Armenia 78 - first international festival and conference of Armenian music (1976–80, under the honorary patronage of Khachaturian and Yehudi Menuhin) • Composer-in-Residence, American - Armenian International College, La Verne University (1979–82) • Founder - member 8 Program Advisor, Armenian Musical Studies, USC School of Performing Arts, Los Angeles (1980–81) top

Honorary Professor, Komitas Conservatory, Yerevan (1978, in succession to Khachaturian). For services to sacred music first recipient of the Cultural Order of St. Mesrop Mashtotz conferred by His Holiness Vasken I, Supreme Catholicos of All Armenians • Composes complete setting of the Book of Revelations (King James version) for soloists, chorus and orchestra top

1989-97 Vienna, Armenia Director, Armenian Earthquake Appeal Benefit Gala Concert, Carnegie Hall New York. Guest artists include Rostropovich, Domingo and Ramey. For this occasion, Tjeknavorian composed his work "In Memoriam" which was premiered at this concert with the members of the American Symphony Orchestra (New York) The benefit raised $500,000. top

The Armenian Prime Minister Fadeh Sarksyan approved of Tjeknavorian's wish to help the Armenian people to restore cultural life in earthquake areas, especially around Leninakan-Gyumri. Tjeknavorian immediately left for Armenia and worked voluntarily for the betterment of the cultural scene. He founded an orchestra and a chorus and carried out several other projects. In summer 1989 he was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) in Yerevan. top

Armenian Earthquake Appeal. Leads a pilgrimage walk from Yerevan to Gyumri (formerly Leninakan), joined by more than one million people • With publicly donated monies and funds received from the Armenian General Benevolent Union, New York (Louise Manoogian Simone, President), founds the Academy of Arts in Gyumri (inaugurated October 1997), establishes an orchestra, choir, dance and chamber ensembles, and builds the television station. top

In Armenia, Tjeknavorian also involved himself on a social and political level. He participated in a campaign for Armenia's independence from the Soviet Union. This "YES"-campaign had its climax in a marathon television broadcast with the APO which influenced Armenians in their decision to vote for independence. He also fought for the acknowledgment of the national flag, the national anthem and for renaming streets, etc. top

As the Music Director & Principal Conductor, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra historically, the first ever non-resident artist to hold a full-time post in the former Soviet Union • With funding aid from the Armenian General Benevolent Union, New York, develops and consolidates the orchestra's international profile • Touring schedule - USA (twice), Europe (twice, including visits to Belgium, Cyprus, England, France, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland), Austria (five times), Greece (six times). Following the 1979 Revolution, first western orchestra invited to tour Iran • Secures international recording contract with ASV London (1991) • Concert seasons feature the Viennese classics, integral Beethoven and Brahms cycles, symphonies by Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Mahler, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, 20th century British, American and French works, contemporary Armenian music, and core choral repertory such as the Mozart, Brahms and Verdi Requiems • In addition to these commitments, establishes the Yerevan Municipal Symphony Orchestra and APO Chorus • 1994 started the weekly sacred music hour concert series. top

For three consecutive years invited with the Armenian Philharmonic to participate in ORF Austrian Television's annual Christmas "Licht ins Dunkel" concerts, telecast to over 500 million worldwide . ORF commissions the orchestra to record a series of official Christmas CD recordings • ORF produces a television documentary about LORIS TJEKNAVORIAN and Armenia - "Brother helps Brother" • Appears with the Armenian Philharmonic at the Vienna Summer Festival, "Klagenbogen" and takes part in the ORF Concert for Jeunesse Musicale. top

Othello ballet staged, concert version of the opera Rostam and Sohrab, Ararat Suite for orchestra, and two song cycles for voice and orchestra (Love Story, Eternal Love ) premiered in Yerevan.

Government of Armenia awards LORIS TJEKNAVORIAN Khorenatzi Medal for cultural services to Armenia. Receives Gold Medal from University of Armenia; Honorary Citation, Armenian Academy of Arts and Sciences • Macedonian Silver Orb conferred by Bishop Bartolomeus I of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Awarded Golden Cross of the Rumanian Church.

1997-2000 Yerevan The International Star Registry permanently names a star - “Pegasus RA 22h 46m 32;99S d22*00’55.008” - after Loris Tjeknavorian.

top

Significant Events

April 1998: performance of Tjeknavorian's Symphony No. 1 "Requiem for the Massacred" with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) and Choir at the Athens famed MEGARON Concert Hall conducted by the composer.

August 1999: Tjeknavorian conducts two concerts with the APO at the Baalbek International Music Festival in Lebanon.

Tjeknavorian continues to conduct weekly concerts at the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall in Yerevan with the APO and records CDs for the London-based ASV label with works by Khachaturian, Glinka, Ippolitov-Ivanov, Babadjanian and Tjeknavorian.

During this period Tjeknavorian was also active as composer. He has composed Two love Song cycels for Soprano, Tenor and Orchestra. Nostalgia for Piano and Orchestra. "Straussiana" Waltz dedicated to J. Strauss. Fantasy for Orchestra. Premiered the "Armenian Rapsody" for Cello and Orchestra with Alexander Chaushyan and the APO. The String Quartet (Armenian Bagatelles) with Ani String Quartet. Six Motets "God is Love" for Choir and Orchestra etc. top

2000-2004 Vienna Significant Events

February: Tjeknavorian conducts the premiere of the concert version of his opera "Rostam and Sohrab" at the 15th International Music Festival "FAJR" at the Vahdat (RUDAKI) Concert Hall with the APO and Choir.

Following the success of "Rostam and Sohrab", the President of Iran, Dr. Khatemi, invites Tjeknavorian to a private audience and placed the opera's score in the Presidential Museum.

May: Tjeknavorian and the APO are awarded the "Japanese Government Grant" of a half-million dollars (USD) for musical and recording equipment.

June–July: Tjeknavorian conducts all 10 concerts of the "Vienna Music Festival" with the APO and Choir with soloists from Austria. This series presented works by major Austrian composers. The festival was co-sponsored by the City of Vienna's Cultural Department and the APO.

Following the "Vienna Music Festival", Tjeknavorian resigns his post as the APO's Music Director (a tenure of 11 years) in order to devote more time to composing and conducting international orchestras.

September: Tjeknavorian conducts the Brno Opera Gala Concert in Brno, Czech Republic.

October: Tjeknavorian is invited to be the visiting composer/conductor at the Hong Kong Academy of Arts.

December: Tjeknavorian conducts the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra " Celebration concert on the Occasion of His Majesty the king of Thailand's 72nd Birthday".

Tjeknavorian conducts the Teheran Symphony Orchestra's season finale at the Vahdat "RUDAKI" Concert Hall. This was Tjeknavorian's first concert after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. top

2001 February: Tjeknavorian is invited by the Iranian Music Center and the City of Vienna Cultural Department to conduct all five concerts of the "Vienna Music Festival" at the Vahdat "RUDAKI" Concert Hall with the Teheran Symphony Orchestra, members of the Vienna-based Gustav Mahler Orchestra, Austrian soloists, and members of the APO and Choir. This series was part of the "FAJR" Iranian International Music Festival.

April: Tjeknavorian conducts the Vienna Symphony Orchestra at Vienna's famed Musikvereinsaal with his Symphony No. 2 "Credo" and Suite from the opera "Rostam and Sohrab."

May: Tjeknavorian conducts Jeff Manookian's "Symphony of Tears" with the Intermountain Classical Orchestra and the Oratorio Society of Utah at the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

May: Tjeknavorian conducts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir which is nationally televised.

August: Tjeknavorian conducts the Mexico Symphony Orchestra which program includes his Piano Concerto with soloist Jeff Manookian.

August–September: Tjeknavorian conducts the premiere of Chookhadjian's opera "Arshak II" at the San Francisco Opera House.

Invited to take part at the Hong Kong Contemporary Music Festival to conduct his Piano Concerto.

Conducts all five concerts of the "Vienna Music Festival" in Hong Kong, co-sponsored by the City of Vienna Cultural Department and the Hong Kong Academy of Arts.

December: Tjeknavorian conducts the Gala Opera Concert with the Bangkok Symphony. "SHAHRE KETAB" commissions Tjeknavorian for three additional operas "The Tragedy Of Zal" to complete a cycle of four operas (with "Rostam and Sohrab" being the first of this series) about the life and death of the Iranian hero, Rostam.

Received permission from "Fisher verlag" for use of Franz Wefel's text "Forty Days of Musadagh" for a new opera commission. top

2002 Austria The European premier of opera "Rostam & Sohrab" (Concert version) at the St. Pöltner festspielhaus. With NTO Symphony Orchestra, Bratislava Philharmonic Choir and well known Austrian soloists conducted by the composer.

Tehran,Iran Concert Performance of the opera "Rostam and Sohrab" at the amphitheater, Tehran

Australia Concert Tour to Australia, Hong Kong with the Armenia String Virtuosi.

Tehran,Iran Taking part as composer and conductor at the Beethoven Festival with Jenear Philharmonie.

Tehran,Iran Conducting series of concerts at the Tehran International "Word and Us" music Festival.

Yerevan Tjeknavorian founds The Armenian Virtuosi Ensemble-Orchestra and Choir.

USA The American Biographical Institute awards Tjeknavorian with a commemorative medal for “Man of the Year”

Tehran, Iran

The premiere of Khosrow & Shirin and Shirin & Farhat Narration: Jale Sadeghian Music based on Loris Tjeknavorian’s “Love Songs Without Words” Performed by the Armenian String Virtuosi

Tehran,Iran Tjeknavorian conducts the Armenian Virtuosi and soloists at the “We and the World” Music Festival.

Germany Music from Tjeknavorian’s Fairytale Suite (Pardis & Parisa) is featured in commercials for BMW’s 7er Series automobile

Tehran,Iran Tjeknavorian Completes his third opera “Rostam & Esfandiar” Based on the poem by Ferdowsi with a libretto by Tjeknavorian Commissioned by the Tehran Book City

Leyli & Majnun: A love Story by Nezami Narration: Jale Sadeghian Music by Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern composers Performed by the Armenian Virtuosi Conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian top

2003

Los Angeles Tjeknavorian conducts the Aram Khachaturian 100 Gala Concert with the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

The Khachaturian 100 committee present Tjeknavorian with the Khachaturian Medal for recording, conducting and promoting Khachaturian’s compositions.

Tehran A live performance of Tjeknavorian’s music accompanying the silent movie “Othello” (1922) directed by D. Bucowetzki. Performed by the Armenian Virtuosi Conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian

Tjeknavorian conducts the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, Choir and soloists for the world premiere of the prominent Iranian composer Said Sharifian’s sacred oratorio "Khosuf: The Last days of Emam Hosein”

Brisbane, Australia Conducts and records several concerts of works by Western and Armenian composers with the Armenian String Virtuosi for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Tehran Festival of Music: Baroque and Modern Music by Iranian and Armenian composers with soloists for Iran and Armenia

Tjeknavorian conducts a concert with the famous Iranian-Kurdish singer Shahram Nazeri and The Armenian Virtuosi Orchestra and Choir at Tehran’s Milad Hall

A concert performance of Tjeknavorian’s opera “Rostam and Sohrab” at Milad Hall. Armenian Virtuosi Orchestra, Chorus and soloists Conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian

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2004-2008 Vienna, Tehran

Yerevan Tjeknavorian is commissioned by the Iranian Ministry of Culture to record his opera “Rostam and Sohrab” for the Tehran Marionette Theater with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Choir and soloists.

Beirut, Lebanon Three concerts at the UNESCO Hall Performed with the Armenian Virtuosi

Paris Benefit concert for the victims of the Bam earthquake at the Eglise Saint-Sulprice Performed with the Armenian String Virtuosi

Benefit concert for the victims of the Bam earthquake at the Conservotoire Niedermeyer Hall. Performed with the Armenian String Virtuosi

London-Royal Festival Hall Tjeknavorian conducts a benefit concert for the victims of the Bam earthquake with singer Sharam Nazeri and the Armenian Virtuosi. Program includes works by Western and Iranian composers.

Tehran Tjeknavorian is presented with a Decree-Order for Artistic Achievement by the Iranian Minister of Culture Mr. Masjed Jamei.

Tjeknavorian composes and records his orchestral work “Conflict & Dialogue” based on verses by Hafez. Commissioned for the international conference “Dialogue Among Civilizations” and performed by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, soloists and Choir.

World Premier in Vahdat hall of “The Songs of Peace”, a classic-rock symphony by Shahryar Cohanzad. Performed by Shahryar Cohanzad with the Armenian Virtuosi Orchestra & Choir and including solo electric guitar, drums and electric bass. Conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian

USA The famous American-Japanese pianist Jon Makamitsu (winner of the Van Clyburn Piano Competition) includes Tjeknavorian’s Dances Fantastiques in his program during his US tour.

Yerevan Tjeknavorian Records Shahryar Cohanzad’s" The Songs of Peace" with the Armenian Virtuosi Orchestra and Choir. top

2005

Tehran Tjeknavorian founds the Tjeknavorian Academy of Music in Tehran.

Yerevan Tjeknavorian Records Shahin Farhad’s 9th Symphony for orchestra, choir and solo tenor.

Tehran-Yerevan Tjeknavorian composes music for the TV series and feature film versions of “The Messiah” directed by Nader Talebzade. Recorded by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian.

Tehran Completes his opera “Siawash” based on a poem by Ferdowsi. Libretto by Loris Tjeknavorian. Commissioned by Naderi Travel Agency in the Island of Gheshm.

Yerevan Tjeknavorian conducts a midnight performance of his oratorio “The Life of Christ” on April 24 to mark the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Persepolis-Iran Tjeknavorian conducts a gala concert with The Tehran Symphony Orchestra. It is the first concert at the ancient ruins of Persepolis since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Yerevan To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Alina & Zareh Tjeknavorian produce “Credo”, a film visualizing Loris Tjeknavorian’s “Credo Symphony” using the 1919 silent movie “Ravished Armenia” and archival footage of the genocide. “Credo” was shown repeatedly on all Armenian TV channels.

Vienna- OsterKlang Festival Tjeknavorian conducts the premiere of his a cappella Oratorio “The Life of Christ” (Based on medieval Armenian Chants) with Armenian male singers and soloists.

Tehran Premiere of Tjeknavorian’s opera “Rostam & Sohrab” at the Ferdowsi Marionette Theater. Directed by Dr. Gharibpour. The show has run daily since May, 2005.

Tjeknavorian conducts memorial concerts for Annet Aharonyan of his oratorio “The Life of Christ” and “The Sunrise Service” for male choir and two male soloists.

Yerevan Tjeknavorian conducts a festival of 10 concerts with the Armenian Virtuosi, the Nouri Choir, and soloists from Austria, Iran and Armenia in memory of Mozart's death on December 5 and commemorating his 250th birthday celebration on January 27. Tjeknavorian conducts many of Mozart's compositions including the Coronation Mass and Requiem.

Tjeknavorian records Shahin Farhad’s 7th Symphony with the Armenian Virtuosi Orchestra.

Tehran Tjeknavorian conducts three concerts with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra and Choir at the International “Fajr” Music Festival. The program includes works by Western and Iranian composers.

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2006 - 2008

Selected Important Events - Weeklong Music Festival with the Ukraine Radio Symphony Orchestra in Tehran

-Signing three year contract with “ TV Tokyo Music Inc” for performing, publishing and promoting Nostalgia for Piano & Orchestra ands the 16Th love songs for Orchestra

- EMI Classic. Recording of Nostalgia for piano solo and for piano and orchestra by Yuki Kurashima Nordosdeuschen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tsunanobu Kawamoto

-US premiere of Othello Ballet with the Sarasota Ballet company. Choreographed by Robert de Warren Sarasota, Florida

- Week long Mahak Music Festival in 2006 and 2007 with the Chamber music from Armenia, soloists Gottlieb Wallisch, Thomas Feodoroff and Wolfgang David from Vienna

- Conducting Garbis Aprikian’s Oratorio Sasoon of David at the Marseille opera, France

- Conducting the Armenin philharmonic Orchestra at the Tehran “Fajr” Music Festival.

- Premiere of the Sympjhonic Suite “ Prophet of peace and Love” With the Tehran Symphony orchestra at the Vahdat Concert Hall

- Jon Nakamatsu, The well known US pianist, performing Dances Fantastic in his US tour including at the Lincoln Center in New York

-Receiving Golden Cultural Medal from the Armenian Ministry of Culture.

-Piano Recital of Tjeknavorian’s Piano music performed by Austrian pianist, Gottlieb Wallisch

- Performance of the Rostam and Sohrab opera with the Tehran Marionette company in Tehran, Prague and Dubai.

- Performance of the Rostam and Sohrab opera with the Tehran Marionette company in Tehran, Prague, Dubai and Rome

- Receiving from the Ministry of Culture at the Fajr Festival “The Molavis Golden plate” for the Artistic Merit.

- Performance of Rostam & Sohrab suite by Oakland Symphony orchestra conducted by Maestro Michael Morgan

- Three year compositional contract for producing the Love Song suite and Nostalgia with Japan TV Tokyo Music Inc.

- Presenting the recording of Persepolis suite at the British Museum’s conference of “The First Human rights proclamation by King Cyrus”

- Completing the computer copies of 75 compositions among them 5 Symphonies, 4 operas, Concertos, Piano Music, Chamber music, Choral works. Orchestral suites etc.

- Receiving the Austrian Presidential “GOLD MEDAL” for Artistic Merit.

- On December 15 at the British Museum on the occasion of " The Magic of Persia" exhibition organized an event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Declaration along the 2500 year old Cyrus the Great Cylinder containing the first declaration of Human Rights. On this occasion the CD of Tjeknavorian's Persepolis 2500 Suite from the "Son et Lumiere Persepolis" was promoted. During the ceremony Tjeknavorian was awarded a gold plated replica of the Cyrus Cylinder.

- On December 20 Tjeknavorian recorded Hafez Nazeri's "The night of Angel" with the London Symphony orchestra.

Awards[edit]

  • L. Tjeknavorian Awarded Top Art Medal (Jun, 20, 2002)
  • In a ceremony held in Vahdat Hall, Minister of culture A. Masjedjamei awarded Loris Ttjeknavorian Iran's highest medal for performing arts.
  • Recipient of two "Golden Harp Awards" for the Highest Artistic Achievement in the 15th and 16th "FAJR" Music Festival in Teheran.
  • Honorary Professor, Komitas Conservatory, Yerevan
  • For services to Church music first recipient of the Cultural Order of "St. Mesrop Mashtotz" conferred by His Holines Vazken I. Supreme Chatholicos of all Armenians.
  • Received the Government Order for services to the Earthquake from Mr. Oskanian the Prime Minister of Armenia USSR .
  • The Government of the Republic of Armenia awards "Khorenatsi" Medal for cultural services to Armenia.
  • Awarded Golden Cross of the Rumanian Church.
  • BBC Music Magazine Top 1000 CDs Guide
  • Receives Gold Medal from University of Armenia.
  • Macedonian Silver Orb conferred by Bishop Bartolomeus I of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
  • EMG Art of Record Buying Recommendation
  • EMG Golden Art of Record Buying Recommendation
  • Gramophone Classical Good CD Guide
  • Gramophone Critics' Choice
  • Gramophone Editor's Choice
  • Gramophone Recommended Recording
  • Hi-Fi World Record of the Month
  • High Fidelity Critics' Choice
  • Penguin Guide to Compact Discs *** Outstanding performance and recording
  • Records & Recording Pick of the Month, Pick of the Year
  • Receives Homayoon Order and Medal for the composition of "Son et Lumiere Persepolis 2500"
  • Recipient of the "Golden Conducting Baton" from the Armenian Philharmonic Choir for Artistic Achievement.
  • Golden Cultural Medal from the Armenian Ministry of Culture

Filmography[edit]

  • 1983: Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra & conductor Loris Tjeknavorian - ( Tours in Austria,Germany,Greek ) ARM TV 108min. Director cameraman Levon Mkrtchyan The script of film Hrachuhi Taturyan
  • 1991: Pilgrimage To Gyumri[1][2][3]
  • 1998: Armenian Philharmonic in Baalbek - conductor Loris Tjeknavorian, director Levon Mkrtchyan
  • 2000: Rostam and Sohrab - Opera statement in Iran, Tehran, director cameraman Levon Mkrtchyan

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]