Şahan Arzruni

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Şahan Arzruni
Shahn Arzruni.jpg
Background information
Born 8 June 1943 (1943-06-08) (age 75)
Istanbul, Turkey (Armenian)
Occupation(s) Musician, writer
Instruments Classical piano

Şahan Arzruni // (About this sound listen) (Armenian: Շահան Արծրունի; born 8 June 1943) is an Armenian classical pianist, composer, ethnomusicologist, lecturer, writer and producer, residing in New York City.

Early life and education[edit]

Arzruni (also transliterated as Artsruni), whose family name belongs to an ancient Armenian nobility, was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He received his general education at Esayan[1] and Getronagan[2] Armenian Lyceums, and graduated from the Istanbul Municipal Conservatory (now Istanbul University State Conservatory),[3] where he studied piano with Ferdi Statzer and harmony with Raşit Abed.

He moved to New York in 1964 to study further at the Juilliard School of Music on a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. There his principal teachers were Sascha Gorodnitzki in piano, Felix Galimir in chamber music, and Joseph Bloch in piano literature. Arzruni graduated from Juilliard, earning his bachelor's degree in 1967 and a master's degree in 1968.[4] Arzruni has also pursued doctoral studies at New York University.


Motivated by ethnic awareness in the United States, Arzruni continuously investigates the musical roots of his Armenian heritage. He researches traditional Armenian music and has recorded a three-disc anthology of Armenian piano music, and co-produced an eight-disc set of instrumental and vocal Armenian music. He also delivered papers and organized symposia for such institutions as Harvard University, Columbia University and University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Şahan Arzruni is the author of books and a contributor of articles for academic journals; he has also written for various editions of The New Grove Dictionary and the Dictionary of the Middle Ages.

A Steinway artist, he was invited to perform on an 1869 Steinway piano at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the inaugural of the centennial celebrations of the Museum’s collection of historic instruments. In 2001, Mr. Arzruni delivered a lecture on Armenian liturgical chants at the invitation of the U.S. Library of Congress, in Washington, D.C.[5]

Şahan Arzruni has performed with Victor Borge, playing the role of straight man in Borge's concerts starting with the late 1960s, and appeared with Borge at the 1980 Royal Variety Show Command Performance where the pair performed Borge's classic comedic arrangement for duet piano of Liszt's Second Hungarian Rhapsody.

Arzruni appeared in television and radio broadcasts, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Mike Douglas Show and a number of PBS specials and has recorded for European radio networks, including the BBC. Arzruni has given command performances at the White House, as well as the British, Danish, Swedish, and Icelandic courts. In 2008, he was awarded "Honorary Professorship" from Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory in Armenia. In 2015, Şahan Arzruni was awarded the Presidential Movses Khorenatsi medal, the Republic of Armenia's highest cultural award.[6]

Arzruni records for New World Records,[7] Composers Recordings, Musical Heritage Society, Hearts of Space, Philips, Varèse Sarabande, Good Music,[8] Positively Armenian, and Kalan Müzik.




  • Armenian Composers in Asia Minor / 2 CDs (2008, Kalan)
  • Karamanuk: Memories of Love (2005, Yeghishe Charentz Museum)
  • Karamanuk: Children’s Songs (2003, Yeghishe Charentz Museum)
  • Karamanuk: Choral Music (2001, Albany Records)
  • Yekmalian: Divine Liyurgy (2002, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America)
  • Galanderian: Children’s Songs (2001, Fund for Armenian Relief)
  • Gazarossian: A Memorial Album (1997, private)
  • A Survey of Armenian Music / 8 LPs – Co-producer (1987, Positively Armenian)
  • Komitas: A Centenary Album / 2 LPs – Artistic Director (1970, Komitas Centennial Committee)


External links[edit]