Vache Sharafyan

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Vache Sharafyan (Armenian: Վաչե Շարաֆյան), (born February 11, 1966 in Yerevan, Armenia) One of the major composers in Armenia, but also internationally Vache Sharafyan is the author of more than ninety compositions including symphonic works, chamber music, choral, vocal music, including the opera "King Abgar", and ballet "Second Moon".

Praised as " stark, mysterious and ultimately majestic " by The New York Times, " complex, deliberate, ultimately captivating " by Boston Globe, " ingenious... , kaleidoscope of iridescent timbres..., magical " by TheStrad, "fascinating and expressive" by David Harringtone /Kronos Quartet/, Sharafyans music was commissioned/performed/recorded worldwide by artists like Yo-Yo Ma, Silk Road Ensemble, Yuri Bashmet and Moscow Soloists, The Hilliard Ensemble, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP, cond. Gil Rose), Anne Akiko Meyers, Hover Choir, Metropolitan Artists in Concert, Avalon quartet, Soli Deo Gloria Psalm Project, MATA Ensemble (New York), Amsterdam Atlas Ensemble (Ed Spanjaard), Sion Festival (Switzerland), Dilijan Chamber Music series /LA/, Jacaranda Music on the Edge Fest (USA), Cello + festival and MSU (USA), Elba Isola Muzikale (Italy), Del Nazione Fest (Italy), Tony Arnold, Theo Bleckmann, Daniel Plaster, Scott Ramsay, Carl Thiemt, Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, Irkutsk Philharmonic Orchestra (Ilmar Lapinsch), Mansfield Symphony (Robert Franz), State Academic Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra (Eduard Topchjan), National State Chamber Orchestra of Armenia (cond. Emin Khachaturyan, Aram Gharabekian, Vahan Mardirossian), Rostok Philharmonics Symphony and Choir, Dresdner Sinfoniker /cond. Andrea Molino, Premil Petrovic/, Toronto Sinfonia /Nurhan Arman/, Thuringer Sinfoniker /cond. Oliver Weder/, violinists Movses Pogossian, Guillaume Sutre, Colin Jacobsen, Haik Kazazyan, Varty Manuelian, Karen Shahgaldyan, Kaja Danczowska, Johny Gandelsman, Boris Brovtsin, Tigran Maytesian, Pavel Vernikov, cellists Suren Bagratuni, Alexander Chaushian, Mario Brunello, Peter Stumpf, Erik Jacobsen, Boris Andrianov, Aram Talalyan, Eduard Arron, Peter Bruns, Armen Ksajikian, Steven Walter, bassist Michael Valerio, pianists Andrew Armstrong, Joel Fan, Deborah Moriarty, Eric Stumacher, Ksenia Bashmet, Artur Avanesov, Nathanael Mey, saxophonists James Houlik, John Sampen, James Forger, James Umble, Nick Prost, violists Nils Moenkemeyer, Maxim Novikov, Matthias Worm, Yuri Gandelsman, Nicolas Cords, Lyda Argerich, clarinetists Andy Miles, Michael Norsworthy, Zerafin ensemble (Amsterdam), percussionists Kunico Kato, Joseph Gramley. Apple Hill Chamber Players, PNME (cond. Kevin Noe, Robin Fountain), Atanassov Trio (Paris), guitarist/composer Marc Sinan, Fugata Quintet (UK), Baird Trio, Pittsburgh Trio, Khachaturyan Trio, Tchaikovsky Trio, Quintette à vent de Marseille, SionFest, conductor George Pehlivanian, dudukists Gevorg Dabaghyan, Araik Bartikian, Djivan Gasparyan, Emmanuel Hovhannisyan, among many others.

Sharafyan's music is widely performed in his native country but also in the most prestigious international halls in USA (including already 6 performances at Carnegie Hall Stern, Weill, Zankel), Italy, Russia, France, Canada, Ukraine, Georgia, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Thailand, Lebanon, Hungary, Switzerland, Spain, Taiwan, Japan, China Scotland, Mexico, Israel, Poland, Ireland, England, Iceland, Latvia, Greece, Cyprus and Sweden.

It is also invited many contemporary music festivals whether in the US or Europe.

As an official composer for the Silk Road Project since 2001, his compositions “The Morning Scent of the Acacia’s Song” and ”The Sun, the Wine and the Wind of Time” were performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble in Cologne, Brussels Philharmonic halls, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, in USA: including Carnegie Hall (Stern, Zankel), Berkeley, Stanford Universities, Seattle Benaroya Hall, Washington National Mall, Chicago Symphony Hall, in Rome, Florence, Milan.

In 1990 graduated with distinction from the Yerevan State Conservatory, Composition Department. In 1992 received Post-Graduate education, class of Prof. E.Mirzoyan. Prise-Winner, All-Union Composers’ Competition in Moscow (1985).

In 1992-96 Professor of music at Jerusalem Theological Armenian Seminary. Authored a Book of Chants for Holy Sepulchre Church, Jerusalem.

Sharafyan’s 2007 world premiers include Viola concerto ”Surgite Gloriae” with duduk, descant, baritone and orchestra premiered by Yuri Bashmet & “Moscow Soloists” at Elba Isola and Moscow Conservatory Grand Hall philharmonics season opening.

“Sinfonia 2 un poco Concertante” was commissioned by Boston Modern Orchestra Project, cond. Gil Rose and premiered in 2008 at Jordan Hall.

Sharafyan has been a prize winner in the 1986 All-Union Composers' Competition in Moscow[citation needed].

Sharafyan has been a BMI Composer since 2002. Publishers: G.Schirmer, Editions BIM CDs on Albany records (New York)- Trio 2 "dream of dreams", "blooming sounds", Traditional crossroads (New York "sun, wine wind of time", Two Devotions, Arrangements and transcriptions", BIS records(Sweden) - Suite for cello and orchestra, Crane for cello, duduk, piano, LouthCMS (Ireland) 2 hymns sung by HILLIARD Ensemble. Nominated to "Civitella Ranieri Fellowship" in 2006, Italy. Guest professor at UCLA in 2011.

List of compositions[edit]


1`. "KING ABGAR", 15 soloists, mix choir, symphony orchestra; 2 acts, 7 scenes; dur. 2 hours. (2010)


1. "The Another Moon" /ballet of sacred gestures/ for orchestra /1,2,1,1, 4,2 timpani, percussion-4, harp, piano, strings, dur. 60 min. (2013) (scenario is about George Gurdjieff)


1. "Firework" for the symphony orchestra (2,2,2,2 - 4,2,3,1 - timpani, percussion -3, harp, piano, strings), for the 90 years anniversary of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra & 25 years of declaring the indepemdence of the Republic of Armenia; to Eduard Topchjan. 2016, 10 min.

2. Sinfonia 2 un poco Concertante for symphony orchestra with duduk (pre-recorded or life) 2007; commissioned by the Boston Modern Orchestra (BMOP), cond. Gil Rose; dur 25 min.

3. Poem for string orchestra, 1987, /9 violins, 3 altos,2 Cellos,1 C-basso/ 15,20min.

4. Symphony for full symphony orchestra/1990/, 17,30min.

5. "Khostovank" for chamber orchestra/1991/ /Flute, Oboe, Horn F, Percussion/1/, Piano, Violins 9, Violas 3, V-cellos 3, C-basso 1. 14min.

6. Concerto for string orchestra/1992/ 9violins,3 altos,3 cellos, c-basso. 12,30min.

7. Concerto-grosso for orchestra /2 Pianos,4 violins,2 violas,2 v-cellos,C-basso / /2002/16min.

Soloist(s) with orchestra[edit]

1. "Concertoserenata" for violin and string orchestra/1998/ 19min. dedicated to Movses Pogossian

2. Concerto-sonata for alto saxophone, piano and string orchestra./2000/16 min.

3. «The Morning Scent of the Acacia's Song» /orchestral version/ for duduk, voce/soprano/ & string orchestra. 2003. Publisher G.SCHIRMER, 17 min.

4. Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Full Symphony Orchestra. /dedicated to James Houlik/ 2003. 18‘ min.

5. Concerto no. 1 for Cello and Orchestra (chamber and symphony orchestra versions), dedicated to Suren Bagratuni, 2004, 23’min.

6. “Surgite Gloriae” Viola Concerto with duduk, descant, baritone, Fr. horn, and strings; dedicated to Yuri Bashmet; dur. 20 min. 2005

7. “CON-COR-D-ANCE” concerto for violin and chamber orchestra (flute, oboe, Fr. Horn 1,2 trumpet Bb, harp, percussion, strings), dur. 28 min. 2008

8. “Luminous Silhouette of a Song” for clarinet (or solo Viola) & orchestra (flute 1,2, Oboe 1,2, Fr. Horn 1,2, Trumpet, harp, percussion-2, strings) dur. 11 min. 2008 (commissioned by CDMC France, publisher Editions BIM)

9. “Luminous Silhouette of a Song” for clarinet & orchestra (version with ensemble of winds: flute 2, oboe, clarinet 2, bass clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, horn 2, trumpet 2, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion 2). 2008 (commissioned by CDMC France, publisher Editions BIM)

10. Suite for viola and orchestra (oboe, strings) dedicated to Yuri Bashmet

11. Suite for cello and orchestra, recorded on BIS records (Sweden), Alexander Chaushian and APO, cond. Eduard Topchjan

12. Concerto no.2 for Cello & Orchestra(clarinet, bass clarinet, percussion, piano, harp, strings), dedicated to S. Bagratuni, 2013, 27 min.

13. Violin and Duduk with string orchestra 22 min., 2013, commissioned by Maria Safariants

14. Triple Concerto for piano, violin, cello and orchestra (flute, oboe, clarinet, trumpet, timpani/percussion, strings) 2016, 32 min. to THe Nobilis Trio


1. Heralding Dawn music for 15 instruments /1990/ /Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in Bb, Fagot, Horn in F, Trumpet Bb, Trombone,Percussion/2/,Piano,Violin1,Violin2, Viola, V-cello, C-basso/ 11min.

2. Five songs for soprano and piano by Metsarents/1993/ 15,20min.

3. String quartet/1997/ 19,20min.

4. Sonata No1 for violin and piano/1997/ 11,30min.

5. Sonata No2 for violin and piano/1998/, to Movses Pogossian 12 min.

6. "The sun, the wine and the wind of time" for doodouk, violin, violoncello and piano./1998/ 16,5min.

7. "To Autumnal Leaves and to Stars" for alto saxophone, violin, violoncello, percussion and piano./1999/ 8min./later included in "The Four Seasons"/

8. "Two Devotions" for Tar, Kemancha, Dhol, Tam-Tam, Piano and string quartet./1999/ 25min.

9. "The Eclipse" for alto saxophone, violin and piano./1999/ 14,10min.

10. Trio N1 for violin, violoncello and piano. /2000/ commissioned for Pittsburgh Trio 15,10min.

11. Sonata for alto saxophone and piano/2000/ 15,30min. /commissioned by John Sampen/

12. "The Morning Scent of the Acacia's Song" for doodouk and string quartet./commissioned for Yo-Yo Ma's the Silk Road Project Inc./2001/ 16min. Publisher - G. Schirmer

13. "By Kouchak" for voce, flute, clarinet and piano./2001/ 6min.

14. "The Four Seasons" for twelve musicians/4 soloists/ and reader /2001/./commissioned by PNME (Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, cond.Kevin Noe) Flute, alto saxophone, percussion/3/, piano, soprano, violin 1,violin 2, viola, violoncello, c-basso, reader. 35' min

15. "Ascending Kemancha" for doudook/zurna/,V-cello,Piano. /2002/15min/Dedicated to Yo-Yo Ma/.

16. "Ancient Anthem" for Soprano and Violin /2002/, to Tony Arnold and Movses Pogossian, 7'min.

17. Piano Trio N2 «The Dream of Dreams» [for violin, cello and piano] 2003. 14 min. /commissioned by Baird trio/ premiered in Carnegie Hall on April 9, 2003.

18. ”Adumbrations of the Peacock” for Piano Quartet/Violin, Viola, V-cello & Piano/ / 2003/. ~14min/ Written for the “Apple Hill Chamber Music Players”/.

19. “Voices of the invisible blue butterflies” for piano, 2004, 7’ min.

20. OFFERTORIUM for solo clarinet, flute, trumpet, percussion, piano, violin, cello, c-bass 10 min. (written for Hammage a Bartok concert series in Budapest) 2006,

21. CANTICUM GRATIOSUM for baritone, flute, clarinet, trumpet, percussion, piano, violin, cello, c-bass 12 min. 2005

22. Blooming Sounds for solo violin 2005, 10 min, to Movses Pogossian, (commissioned by AGBU)

23. Another tale for solo piano; 3 min. 2007

24. Luminous Silhouette of a song for clarinet with orchestra /reduction version for clarinet with piano/ (commissioned by CDMC France, publisher Editions BIM, Switzerland) 2008

25. “Vi-O- La” no. 1 for solo viola (3 movements), ded. to Maxim Novikov, 10 min. 2008

26. “Vi-O-La” no. 2 for solo viola (3 movements), ded. to Maxim Novikov, 14 min. 2009

27. "Light-Drop Peals" for soprano & viola by poetry of Basho 20 min. commissioned by Maxim Novikov 2009, clarinet-viola version premiered by Andy Miles and Max Novikov in Berlin in 2012 and recorded in 2013.

28. Golden Apricot for kyamancha and violin (written for Golden Apricot Film Festival opening ceremony 2009

29. "Verses" 1,2,3 for violin and percussion; 16 min. 2009

30. "Night-garden music" for violin and cello; to Movses Pogossian and Rohan de Saram, recorded in Cyprus, 10 min. 2010

31. Esquisses Noctalgiques for wind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, Fr. horn) and duduk/zurna 2010, 23min. commissioned by Winds Instruments Academy of Marseille, France; Quintette a Vent de Marseille premiered in 2012 in Venelles and Aix-en Provence.

32. "Once in a Beautiful Meadow" for ensemble Zerafin (Amsterdam), 15min., 2011, based on a fable from Kalila and Dimna

33. "Path towards this moment" for viola and organ, to Maxim Novikov and Jevgenia Lisitsina, (premiered in Riga Dome) 7 min. 2012.

34. Serenade with a Dandelion for 2 violins, written for the inauguration of Dilijan Chamber Music Series in Los Angeles, dedicated to Varty Manuelian and Movses Pogossian, premiered in Zipper Hall, 2005.

35. "Between the dream and awakening" for saxophone and cello; 8 min. 2012; for Suren Bagratuni and James Forger,

36. Sonata- Fantasy for Viola and Piano 20 min. to M. Novikov, 2010

37. PARTITA for violin and piano (5 movements, 17 min.); dedicated to Anne Akiko Meyers, 2012

38. CONTINUATIONS four movements for piano trio (14 min), for SIMA Trio (NY). 2012

39. 4 Arrangements of Komitas pieces for piano trio, 2012

40. Madrigale for alto saxophone, 8 minutes /2013/; commissioned by James Umble

41. "Gem-Rose" for soprano, cello and pre-recorded track, to Marta Bagratuni; /7 min./ 2013

42. "Eyes color of the sea" for soprano and cello /7 min/ 2013

43. TRIO # 3 "Moon-rise over the Jerusalem" for piano, violin & cello (2013); 19 min., commissioned by Trio Atanassov

44. "Paintings to be drawn" Trio for saxophone, cello & piano 2014, 9min

45. "Cello-breath" for solo cello, dedicated to Suren Bagratuni, 2013, 7 min.

46. "Inner dance" for guitar, accordion, piano, violin, c-bass, 2014, 8 min, commissioned by Fugata Quintet

47. "Two Translations" for flute, oboe/Eng. horn, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, piano, 2014, 19 min. commissioned by Festival delle Nazioni, Italy

48. "Drawing in air" for solo flute, 2014, 7 min.

49. "Goat-rite" for piano, cycle of 12 movements, 58 min. (written for pantomime theater, director J. Dadasyan) 2014

50. " To meet..." for solo lute, dedicated to Bernhard Hofstoetter, 8 min. 2014

51. "Cello-dance" (dancing cello) for solo cello, dedicated to Mario Brunello, 9min. 2014.

52. Divertissement for string quintet (2 violins, viola, cello, c-bass), commissioned by Dilijan chamber music series, 26 min. 2014

53. "Dialogues with Komitas" - flute, clarinet, duduk/zurna, percussion, guitar, soprano, violin, cello. (includes arrangements of Komitas dances, songs, sacred music, as well as original compositions of Sharafyan), dur.50 min. commissioned/recorded for Deutsche Gramophone, 2014

54. "Measurements of Infinity" 8 movements cycle for violin and piano (upon reading of E. Hilsenraths' "The story of the last thought"), 35 min. commissioned by KU Leuven, 2015

55. Mit der Stimme for soprano and piano /text by Paul Celan/, 7 min. /commissioned by Teatro La Fenice di Venizia, MARATONA CONTEMPORANEA, Italy/ 2015

56. Concerto-grosso "Fire-bird" for clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano/or harpsichord/, commissioned by the Firebird Ensemble /USA/ 20 min. 2016

Choir (choir with instruments)[edit]

1. "Ter vor i mej lerinn" for mix choir a capella by Mashtots /1996/5,15min.

2. ”Tsov Kentsaghuis” / ”the sea of our life troubling me”/ by sharakan of St.Mesrop Mashtots /5th century/ For Counter-Tenor, Tenor, Baritone, Bass and three duduks / 2003/ ~5min.

3. SNOW CANTATA for mix choir (+organ in 2 movements); 40 min. 2011

4. Waterfall music for mix choir (with optional viola part) 2011, 7 min.

5. Ne (She) for choir and hand-bells 2015, 5 min.

Choir with orchestra[edit]

1. CANTICUM DOLOROSUM et CANTICUM PACIFICUM for soprano, mix choir and orchestra (D trumpet, percussion, piano, strings) 23 min.

2. LACRYMOSA for cello, descant, soprano and symphony orchestra 12 min.

3. Cantata "ANDASTAN" (Blessing of the 4 corners of the world) for children choir and symphony orchestra (also version with ensemble 9 performers -clarinet, duduk, percussion 2, piano, string quartet), texts - Kyrie eleison (Ter voghormea), Komitas "to the Crucified, Daniel Varuzhan "Andastan". 17 min. commissioned by "Best musicians of the World" France. 2015

4. Cantata "Everlasting life" for choir and quintet (string quartet, piano) 2015...


The New York Times, MUSIC REVIEW "Sounds in Keeping With New Galleries" By STEVE SMITH Published: December 19, 2011 about Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert (Colin Jacobsen, Nicholas Cords, Edward Arron, Andrew Armstrong) concert at Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 17

And all of the string players confidently handled unconventional intonation in Mr. Sharafyan’s “Adumbrations of the Peacock,” a stark, mysterious and ultimately majestic concatenation of broken-bell piano chords, tremulous melodies and quivering textures.

theSTRAD Magazine May 2012; by JOANNE TALBOT about Suite for cello and orchestra and Crane for cello, duduk, piano released on BIS Records.

...use of harmonic clusters colors Vache Sharafyan's Suite, which with its ingenious allusions to the harmonic patterns and dance forms of the Baroque travels through a kaleidoscope of iridescent timbres... Equally enthralling is Sharafyan's arrangement of Komitas's Krunk (Crane) for duduk, piano and cello. As in the Suite, tonally conventional elements co-exist with the oscillating pitches and clusters of Sharafyan's harmonic language to magical effect.

Chicago Tribune (12,18,02) wrote about The Silk Road Ensemble at Chicago Orchestra Hall: "...But the most wonderful piece on the program was "The Sun, the Wine, and the Wind of Time" (1998) by the Armenian composer Vache Sharafyan. The score derived much of its ineffable sadness from the duduk, an oboe-like instrument whose quivery, throaty sounds were framed by piano (Joel Fan), violin (Colin Jacobsen) and cello (Ma). The seamless evolution of moods and textures—from soft, somber lines made up of pained intervals, to more violent outbursts, back to mournful lines—made it entirely absorbing to the ear and mind..."

The New York Times / May 9, 2002, Thursday MUSIC REVIEW:" At a Cultural Crossroads, Yo-Yo Ma Becomes a Spice Trader; By ALLAN KOZINN [1]..."And the Shostakovich, on Tuesday, seemed to flow naturally from the world of the work performed just before it -- The Sun, the Wine and the Wind of Time by Vache Sharafyan, from Armenia -- although it quickly established itself on Shostakovich's own terms"...

Pittsburgh Post Gazette (8 May 2002) wrote: …The evening's gem, though, was the Sharafyan. Without overtly referencing Vivaldi, this "Four Seasons" uses the calendar year as a metaphor for a circle of life...

Pittsburgh Live By Mark Kanny / TRIBUNE-REVIEW CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC / Monday, August 5, 2002 [2] Vache Sharafyan’s "The Four Seasons" was the significant world premiere, including Armenian poetry as a prelude to each of the four movements… Sharafyan’s language includes remarkable solo writing … The composer is not afraid of dissonance, and the furious intensity he achieves serves clear narrative intent, including real satisfaction. David Harrington (Kronos Quartet) wrote: “I find him (Sharafyan) to be a fascinating and expressive composer whose music unites the ancient with the new and mysterious inner worlds with boldly tangible elements...”

SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOCE / April 30, 2002, Robert Commanday, Senior Editor [3] The issue with a cross-cultural composition is one of criteria. By what standard and in what aesthetic is the work to be perceived? It must be the product of a real and gifted composer, strong enough a composition to establish its own measure, as Takemitsu’s pieces are. To an extent, Vache Sharafyan’s The Sun, the Wine, and the Wind of Time (from Armenia, 1998) created its own time and space. The western tradition was reflected in its overall song-form structure and writing for piano, violin and cello.

THE BOSTON GLOBE, by Matthew Guerrieri Globe Correspondent / May 27, 2008. By contrast, Vache Sharafyan's "Sinfonia No. 2 un poco concertante," a BMOP commission and world premiere, takes that essence as its starting point. Melodies erupt into dense, slow-shifting harmonic clouds; a repetitive figure builds into crashing waves of multitudinous, Ivesian dissonance. A solo duduk, the Armenian folk oboe (pre-recorded for this concert), spins periodic arabesques, the instrument's microtonal inflections transmuted in the orchestra. Sharafyan creates complex, deliberate, ultimately captivating grandeur - artistic director Gil Rose led a terrific, vivid performance. [4]

External links[edit]


Vache Sharafyan on YouTube