Religion: Armenian Church commemorates St. Anton the Hermit

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 17 2019
Society 10:24 17/01/2019 Armenia

The Armenian Apostolic Church honors today the memory of Saint Anton the Hermit.

Some time after the spread of Christianity the hermits’ movement started, reports. Hermits were those persons who devoted themselves to God, went to uninhabited places and deserts and spent their life there praying and fasting. Thus, by God’s will they overcame the human faults and attained spiritual perfection. After many years of ascetic life the hermits were granted the grace of working wonders and healing the sick by means of prayers.

St. Anton the Hermit is the founder of ascetic and monastic life. He was born in the village Koma, Egypt, in 251, in a noble family. After his parents’ death Anton inherited their wealth. Once in the church he listened the evangelical commandment, in which Jesus says: “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” (Mt 19:21). Being led by this commandment, Anton sold all of his property and lived in the spirit of praying, fasting and doing charity.

After some time he left his native village and began to live in a cave, where according the hagiographers he struggled against the demons and devils who constantly appeared to him in the appearance of wild beasts. Patiently facing all temptations the saint left for a desert and lived there completely isolated for 20 years. Becoming aware of his ascetic and secluded life, many people left their houses and went the desert to live ascetic life. Upon the request of his spiritual brothers St. Anton came out of his cave and explained the assembled people monastic cannons and rules, which later became the guideline for monastic life. The saint passed away at the age of 105. 

Music: Recovering Armenia’s Past Through Music

Eugene Weekly
17 Jan 2019

Cappella Romana is one of Oregon’s most famous classical music institutions. Founded in 1991, the Portland-based professional vocal ensemble has gone on to become the premier exponent and explorer of the musical traditions of Byzantium and other early Christian music.

Artistic director Alexander Lingas is one of the field’s leading scholars. He and other researchers have found and revived a long-dormant repertoire, which the group sings in its original Byzantine and Slavic languages. And Cappella has performed music of contemporary European and North American composers who draw on those traditions.

Although it’s based in Portland and performs several concerts each year there and in Seattle, the group draws singers from around the country, including the Bay Area, and has performed in Europe, Los Angeles, New York City, Canada and elsewhere, appearing on National Public Radio, various early music festivals and even at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Cappella earns glowing reviews wherever it sings, securing its reputations as one of the Northwest’s most accomplished musical institutions. 

Recently, the group has branched out into other Orthodox Christian music descended from Byzantine origins, including Russian, Finnish, Ukrainian and more. You’re unlikely to hear any of this music performed anywhere else. 

Now the Oregon Humanities Center is bringing Cappella Romana to Eugene to share its latest discovery: long-lost Armenian Orthodox liturgical music.

On Thursday, Jan. 17, in a free concert directed by Lingas and Haig Utidjian, a British conductor of Armenian descent, Cappella will sing traditional Armenian chants and later arrangements of them by 19th-century Armenian choirmaster Makar Ekmalian and his student, Komitas Vardapet, known as the savior of Armenian music.

Vardapat collected and transcribed thousands of works that would have otherwise been lost to history, including about the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Turks in the early 20th century. 

The 8 pm concert is at Central Lutheran Church. It’s a chance to experience a lost world through music.

Music: Harry Potter and The Godfather concerts are coming to Dubai Opera

The National, UAE
Jan 16 2019

The Armenian State Symphony Orchestra will perform the scores live as part of the venue's 2019 Cinema Series

Film and music fans, rejoice – this February and March Dubai Opera is screening two classic films while the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra performs the scores live.

Richard S Castellano watching Al Pacino aim gun in a scene from the film 'The Godfather', 1972. Getty Images

First, on February 28, The Godfather will be screened at the Downtown Dubai destination. Watch the Sicilian mafia rise to power and fall from grace, as the orchestra plays Nino Rota's Oscar-nominated score.

The Academy Award-winning film – which many movie fans claim is the best film ever made – features Marlon Brando, as Don Vito Corleone, patriarch of the Italian-American mafia family, alongside Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall.

Harry Potter and Dobby the house elf in a scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Then, on March 1-2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – the second installment of JK Rowling's beloved tales – will be screened, as John Williams's memorable songs are performed live.

In this story, Harry Potter meets the house elf Dobby and the giant talking spider Aragog, as well as flies a car with pal Ron Weasley and comes face to face with a younger Voldemort.

In December 2017, Potterheads were treated to a screening of the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, in high-definition on a 40-foot screen while listening to the Czech National Symphony Orchestra perform.

Farah Andrews, a Dubai resident who attended the first screening, said: "For a Harry Potter fan, it was a very nostalgic screening, in a very impressive environment.

"The music is such an important, atmospheric part of the series of films, but can be taken for granted a little in a small-screen viewing. It’s nice being able to sit back and really focus on different parts of the film that I thought I knew so well.

"It was absolutely magical."

Tickets are currently on exclusive pre-sale, offering limited-time discounts of 20 per cent to du subscribers.

For the general public, tickets go on sale tomorrow (January 17) at noon. Prices start from Dh175 and there will also be a 20 per cent early bird offer available on the top two seating categories until January 31.

Visit the Dubai Opera website for more information.

Music: Lara Sarkissian is combining Armenian mythology with 21st century beats

Dazed Digital
Jan 16 2019

The Oakland experimental producer explores her heritage using indigenous instruments and contemporary electronic production

16 January 2019
by Angela Skujins

Disruptions usually make us feel uncomfortable – they’re the things that interrupt or stop the ease our everyday lives. But for 26-year-old Lara Sarkissian, who plays with the idea of interference both musically and thematically, disruptions are a source of creativity.

On DISRUPTION, Sarkissian’s five-track debut EP, the Oakland-based producer blends thumping, experimental electronic beats with layers of ethereal woodwind instruments from her Armenian upbringing – with samples fleeced from YouTube tea advertisements – mixed on Ableton with her her Roland System-1 synthesizer. She describes the EP, which flew somewhat under-the-radar when it was released during end-of-year list season in late December, as an “electronic soundtrack to an imagined fictional film inspired from stories of Armenian mythology, the transition from the worship of nature to the roles of gods and goddesses, and tying these narratives to encounters with familial spirits”. Those encounters include what Sarkissian today describes as “visitations” from her deceased grandmother. “There have been multiple times in the past couple of years after my grandma passed away that I had encounters with her, and it’s been very visual,” she says.

The EP is underscored by an electronic rhythmic pulse that draws from Sarkissian’s deep appreciation for club music. For many people involved in the underground music community, Sarkissian is perhaps better known by her DJ alias, FOOZOOL, and as a co-founder of the party and record label Club Chai, which started in 2016 as a DIY clubnight in Oakland connecting non-western club sounds.

We spoke to Sarkissian about DISRUPTION, ritualistically burning frankincense, and how her past ties into her future.

How have you been shaped by your Armenian background?

Lara Sarkissian: My family are actually from Iran, but we’re ethnically Armenian. I was born and raised in San Francisco and I went to an Armenian school for ten years. I grew up around Armenian music – a lot of it was folk music – in a household where my mum would always be blasting it, like in the car. I remember my first memory of music was just me listening in the car through a cassette. I remember how obsessed I was with the percussion in Iranian music, which has a lot of drums, and how much I would fixate on it as a child.

I was going to ask you how music found its way into your life, but it sounds like it was interwoven with your Armenian ancestry.

Lara Sarkissian: Yeah, it’s something that I didn’t expect myself to have a career in because I didn’t realise I could. It was in high school when my friends and I started a band. We were playing a lot of post-punk, a lot of garage rock, some blues covers. That was when I really fell in love with percussion. I just started listening to music really differently then.

How were you listening to it differently?

Lara Sarkissian: I literally just paid attention to the drum lines, the structures, the different layers. I like the different atmosphere in tracks. I think that’s what I like to create in (my music) because I come from a very visual background.

It’s kind of translated into sounds for me – so making landscapes, atmospheres out of new tracks, and all the new layers out of the tracks, I always see it as this environment you’re stepping into. It’s about the distance of it all, what you can hear far away, what you can hear closer, where are voices coming from, and the movement of it all. For me I’m painting this picture like a scene – almost like a film scene.

Lara SarkissianPhotography Azha Ayanna Luckman

What’s the visual landscape you created in DISRUPTION?

Lara Sarkissian: When I made it, I was thinking a lot about my grandmother’s story. There have been multiple times in the past couple of years after my grandma passed away that I had encounters with her, and it’s been very visual. It definitely wasn’t a hallucination.

Like a haunting?

Lara Sarkissian: Not a haunting, but it was almost like I was super conscious and awake. It was a very visual picture of her and I knew what message she was sending me. It wasn’t anything that I could hear – but it was moreso a visual thing. This has happened to me before with family who have recently passed away, but I didn’t know yet.

Things like that have happened to me which throw me off. That’s where DISRUPTION comes from. It comes from a disruption to your day and week, but not in a bad way.

How does her passing tie into the mythological angle of DISRUPTION?

Lara Sarkissian: I was reading a lot about Armenian mythology, and I came across some really interesting things: like a lot of the ancient Armenian instruments that come from the highland regions date back to almost 3,000 years. Certain percussion instruments are used in ceremonies dedicated to certain gods and goddesses.

I was tying that into my grandmother’s story – thinking about her in the afterlife – and creating stories around that. Like who she encounters and what different gods and goddesses she came across. For the track “Greeted by Tir”, Tir was a god that translated a lot of dreams and passed on powers of the arts to people. I was thinking about my grandma and her love for the arts and literature, and who she must have encountered in the afterlife.

“There have been multiple times in the past couple of years after my grandma passed away that I had encounters with her, and it’s been very visual. It definitely wasn’t a hallucination” – Lara Sarkissian

Tell me about the instruments you used in the EP.

Lara Sarkissian: I used a lot of different tools. I used Native Instruments’ “Discovery Series: Middle East” pack as a plug in on Ableton for some of my percussion, which allows you to have more control over it.

I sampled a lot of Duduk sounds – that’s the wind instrument that’s indigenous to Armenia. It’s usually made out of apricot wood and it’s a very lyrical instrument. It almost sounds like vocals, so when you change the pitch of it, and when it’s layered all together, it sounds like different ranges of vocals coming in.

I used a lot of doumbek sounds, Dhol, and then I also used my Roland System-1 synthesiser a lot. I do a lot of looping, a lot of panning of the sounds so they could sound very full. It feels like it’s coming to you from different directions.

What about the lyrics?

Lara Sarkissian: It’s funny because that first track, “Ceremony for Arak”, has lyrics from a tea advertisement on YouTube. It has 100 views, and the lady in the beginning is saying “Light the frankincense / I hope you’re going to be in a relaxed mood…

It’s funny that the sample was for a tea advertisement, but it totally made sense for the theme of the EP because it was talking about rituals. Whenever we visit my grandma at her gravesite that’s the first thing you do – you light the frankincense, and you let it burn for a while. Whenever I would visit gravesites with her, you would do this at all the gravesites for family members. That’s why those lyrics made sense for her, you know, “Burn the sweet aroma of frankincense / Relax and focus your mind / I hope the deep-rooted environment will provide a happy and peaceful mood / Burn the sweet aroma of frankincense / Your mind / Burn the frankincense / Your mind / Burn the frankincense.”

What rituals do you personally exercise to keep grounded?

Lara Sarkissian: Working on music. Honestly, working on music and having access to that has been a really healing thing for me. It’s very therapeutic. So I make sure every day I spend some time on that.

Also lighting incense, lighting candles in my room. The basic things like having cosy lighting. Every time I return to my room when I come home at night, I have to turn on my coloured lights in my room to make sure it’s a cosy space.

We’ve talked a lot about the past. What do you have planned for the future?

Lara Sarkissian: This year I started getting into spacial audio and creating these 360 sound pieces. It’s something that I want to return to next year. I want to get back into filmmaking too. I really want to shoot a really short horror film and create some experimental weird thing.

I’m working with this filmmaker based in Oakland named Nadia Shihab where I’m the associate producer for her documentary film JADDOLAND. I’ll be doing a lot of work around that as well – planning screenings and community screenings, travelling to festivals, and stuff.

Videos at

Music: 14-year-old Eva Gevorgyan wins another international award

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 17 2019
18:11 17/01/2019 Armenia

14-year-old Armenian pianist Eva Gevorgyan is among the winners at Classical Music Awards. (ICMA). As the international competition official website reports, Eva has received The Discovery Award. The award-giving ceremony and the gala concert will take place on May 10 Lucerne in Switzerland.

The competition webpage says apart from her bright emotional eloquence and impeccable technique, Eva possesses the important features of a mature master. Among them, in particular, are the ability to freely manage tempi, to reveal all the possible colours and nuances of a modern piano as well as an astonishing sense of style.

At her young age Eva Gevorkian is already a winner of numerous international competitions. Last year, Gevorgyan was earlier named first prize winner of the Junior Division of the Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists.

Eva is studying at the music school under the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. She has been playing the piano since 3 years of age. Eva has been taking part in international music competitions and festivals since she was 15 years old, winning all of them.

Book: Villanova Political Science Professor’s New Book Examines the Politics of Memory in Turkey and Japan

Targeted News Service
Wednesday 6:51 AM EST
Villanova Political Science Professor's New Book Examines the Politics of Memory in Turkey and Japan
VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania
Villanova University issued the following news release:
Many countries have dark pasts, ranging from colonialism and slavery to ethnic cleansing, genocide and mass killing. Some have tried to come to terms with their histories by taking steps toward acknowledgment, apology and commemoration. In other cases, however, perpetrators stay silent, denying and rationalizing atrocities in their pasts.
Intrigued by variations in whether and how states deal with skeletons in their closets, Jennifer Dixon, PhD, Assistant Professor of Political Science, investigates how and when states' stories about past atrocities change over time. Focusing on Turkey's narrative of the Armenian Genocide and Japan's narrative of the Nanjing Massacre, she set out to understand when and why countries change the stories that they construct about past atrocities. Her analysis is laid out in her new book, Dark Pasts: Changing the State's Story in Turkey and Japan, which is published and available now from Cornell University Press.
The Armenian Genocide took place in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1917, against the backdrop of World War I. In the genocide, an estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians were killed. The Nanjing Massacre occurred in the context of World War II, between late 1937 and early 1938, when an estimated 100,000-200,000 Chinese were killed by the Japanese army.
To conduct her analysis, Dixon looked at official speeches, statements, commemorative activities and publications, as well as government-approved history textbooks, over a 60-year period beginning in 1950. To identify and compare changes and continuities in each state's narrative, she constructed a conceptual framework that includes the range of possible elements of a state's narrative, from denying and silencing to commemorating and offering compensation. She then examined what was or was not said over time and used her framework to identify points of substantive change and periods of continuity in each state's story.
The analysis revealed that, in spite of increasing calls for states (and others) to face their pasts, "Change is not simple, straightforward or immediate," reports Dixon. Instead, states' narratives of dark pasts exhibit strong continuities and change is contingent on interactions between a set of domestic and international political factors. One of the book's central findings is that international pressure increases the likelihood of change, but domestic factors – such as electoral concerns and domestic activism – shape the content of change in states' narratives. On the flipside, if government officials fear that greater acknowledgment might strengthen demands for territory, property, restitution, or reparations, then change in the direction of greater acknowledgment and contrition is less likely. Similarly, if a state's narrative is connected to key national narratives, then officials are going to be reluctant to change the narrative, since to do so might destabilize elements of national identity.
Combining historical richness and analytical rigor, Dark Pasts unravels the complex processes through which international pressures and domestic dynamics shape states' narratives and the ways that state actors negotiate between domestic and international demands in producing and maintaining such narratives. In so doing, the book sheds light on the persistent presence of the past and reveals how domestic politics functions as a filter that shapes the ways in which states' narratives change – or don't – over time.

Book: Armenia, Antara launch photo book entitled Armenia: Land of Legend

Antara News, Indonesia
Armenia, Antara launch photo book entitled Armenia: Land of Legend

Managing Director of Antara News Agency Meidyatama Suryodiningrat (right) hands over a photo book "Armenia: Land of Legend" to Armenian Ambassador to Indonesia Dziunik Aghajanian (center) and Director General of America and Europe at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry Muhammad Anshor (lefti) during the launch of the book at Auditorium Adhiyana, Wisma Antara, Jakarta, Tuesday (Jan 15, 2019). (ANTARA FOTO/Hafidz Mubarak A/nz.)

Jakarta, Jan. 16 — The Armenian Embassy in Jakarta, in collaboration with the Antara News Agency, launched a photo book entitled "Armenia: Land of Legend" at the Adhiyana Auditorium, Wisma Antara, on Tuesday (Jan 15) to introduce Armenia to the Indonesian people.
"Geographically, Armenia's population is indeed small when compared to Indonesia. It also has almost no historical connections. But the real challenge is to explain the wealth of natural beauty and Armenian culture to the Indonesian community extensively," Director of Antara News Agency Meidyatama Suryodiningrat said here on Tuesday.
Suryodiningrat hoped that the photo book could be a source of enlightenment describing the wonders of Armenia, which would trigger the interest of the Indonesian people to better understand the potential of the two countries.
However, the real challenge for introducing the country, which is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran to the south, lies on how the information on the richness of Armenia's natural beauty and culture can be introduced to the people at large in Indonesia.
With a total population of around three million and a size of Indonesia's Central Java Province, Armenia, which is a landlocked country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, is still absent on the radar of average Indonesians who possess information on the world's economic super powers.
The Ambassador of Armenia to Indonesia, Dziunik Aghajanian, also hoped that the photo book could become an entry for Indonesian people who did not know Armenia comprehensively.
"Despite the historic presence of Armenian community in Indonesia throughout several centuries, nowadays, for many Indonesians, Armenia is an unknown terrain. I hope this book will be an introduction for those whose inquisitive mind will draw them to this hidden jewel called Armenia, one of the ancient countries, and its people rich in history, culture, and traditions," the ambassador stated.
The book, the ambassador noted, would attract them to visit this small nation with a warm heart and open mind, renowned for its hospitality, very tasty gastronomic culture, and exceptional creative mind that is depicted in the innumerous monuments dotting the scenic beauty of the land.
"Armenia: Land of Legend" is called a photo book because around 70 percent of its content showcases selected photos, while the remaining presents articles about the richness of the Armenian history, culture, and scenic beauty.
In writing this photo book, Antara's senior photojournalist Hermanus Priatna remarked that he and his colleague, Atman Ahdiat, have attempted to make a breakthrough.
A photo book generally looks more like a catalog, whose content is fully filled with photos with less explanations about the images, making it lack in variety, or monotonous.
"Instead, this 105-page photo book is drafted journalistically and completed with articles describing the visual pictures of a variety of Armenian objects, including the country's historical remains and interesting tourist sites and attractions," Priatna explained.
Reporting by Azis Kurmala

Sports: Armenian weightlifters are getting ready for the national championship

MediaMax, Armenia
Jan 17 2019
Armenian weightlifters are getting ready for the national championship

Armenian men’s weightlifting team has been working in a training camp in Olympavan since January 8. The athletes will stay at the camp until January 30.
Head coach of the team Pashik Alaverdyan told Mediamax Sport that afterwards the team will continue the training in Abovyan.
The main objective of the weightlifting team is to prepare for the Armenian Championship scheduled for February 10-15.
After the national championship the weightlifters will hold training camps in Yerevan in Tsaghkadzor over 18 days and then travel to the European Championship in Batumi on April 6-13.

Sports: Mkhitaryan to return to full training next week

MediaMax, Armenia
Jan 17 2019
Mkhitaryan to return to full training next week
Arsenal’s press service reports that Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s recovery is passing successfully.
The footballer is expected to return to full training next week.
Earlier the footballer said that he looks forward to being back on pitch.
Mkhitaryan received an injury in the match against Tottenham in December. Soon it became known that he would return to the pitch six weeks later.

Sports: Armenian visit Real Madrid FC, meet Raul and Morientes

Public Radio of Armenia
Jan 17 2019
Armenian visit Real Madrid FC, meet Raul and Morientes

2019-01-17 15:26:25 


In the evening they had a meeting with former Real Madrid C.F. players Raul Gonzalez and Fernando Morientes. The day ended with the attendance of Spanish Cup match between Atletico Madrid and Girona.

The Armenian managers were briefed on the approaches to the training of different age-groups, rehabilitation programs for injured players.

The coaches then met with Real Madrid Legend Raul and Fernando Morientes, who shared their experience and pledged to provide further advice.