AGBU Concludes Worldwide [email protected] Tour in New York City

55 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022-1112
Phone (212) 319-6383
Fax (212) 319-6507
Email [email protected]

Monday, May 24, 2004


NEW YORK, NY-AGBU marked the conclusion of its yearlong
[email protected] tour with master pianist Sahan Arzruni through a
screening of a documentary at the French Institute Alliance Française
(FIAF) in New York City. A sold out audience gathered at the Tinker
Auditorium on Tuesday May 18 at 7:30 pm to view “Khachaturian: An
Archival Film,” which contained rare footage of the composer dating
back to the 1930s and 1940s. His Excellency, Armen Martirosyan,
Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, was among
the many guests at the program.

Mr. Arzruni introduced the documentary, calling Khachaturian’s
music among the rarest of our cultural treasures. He explained the
various reconstructive stages it had gone through before reaching
these shores for a proper viewing in digital format. The original
forty-nine-minute long reel was first put together in Moscow in
Russian and later translated into Armenian. It is a particularly
valuable document, as it tells not only the story of Khachaturian’s
life in his own words, but also places his legacy within the rich
heritage of Armenian musical culture.

The black-and-white film opens with Khachaturian as a young boy, a
student at the Moscow Conservatory and a budding composer. It depicts
his first artistic initiatives, his later international triumphs
and his meetings with world leaders. Along the way, Khachaturian
himself talks about his views on composing, his own abilities,
Armenian music and the role of the people’s voice in a given creative
work. Particularly touching is hearing an urban folk song, “Vorskan
Akhper,” a tune Khachaturian’s mother used to sing, which magically
turns into the main theme of his Second Symphony during the course
of the film.

Following the screening, Mr. Arzruni entertained a number of questions
from the audience, weaving many anecdotes about Khachaturian into his
answers, thus lending humor and levity to the evening. Guests enjoyed
a reception after the Q&A session.

Taking the AGBU [email protected] tour to some two-dozen cities in four
continents over the past year, Mr. Arzruni has performed most recently
in Beirut, Lebanon; Geneva, Switzerland; and Toronto and Montreal in
Canada. The series proved to be an enriching conduit for Armenians
everywhere to become reacquainted with their cultural identity.

Mr. Arzruni has already left for Armenia, where he will preside over
the state graduation examinations at the Komitas Conservatory. For
his dedicated efforts in promoting Khachaturian’s music throughout
the world, Armenia’s Ministry of Culture has bestowed upon him a
special honor, which he will receive in Yerevan.