Vartan Manoogian ‘Had A Willingness To Give And Give’

By Ben Cohen, Star Tribune

Minneapolis Star Tribune , MN
Aug 9 2007

The artistic director of Wisconsin’s Madeline Island Music Camp had a
"passion, love and intensity" for music.

Vartan Manoogian, the artistic director of Wisconsin’s Madeline Island
Music Camp, died of pneumonia in Valencia, Spain, on July 12.

Manoogian, of Madison, a virtuoso violinist, was 71.

He began teaching at the camp at its founding in 1986 and became its
artistic director in 2000, bringing the luminaries of chamber and
ensemble groups to Madeline Island from across the nation.

"Vartan had a passion, love and intensity for the music and teaching,"
said the camp’s founder and executive director, Tom George. "He had
a willingness to give and give and give to his students."

The camp draws heavily on students from Minnesota’s youth orchestras
and has had many teachers from the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul
Chamber Orchestra.

George said that Manoogian was currently under contract to record,
and that his experience as a concert master gave his playing "a big
sound." He also published a methodology on proper bowing.

And Manoogian was known for his fiery temper when students weren’t
paying attention.

In that case, "Watch out," said George, who added that the campers
loved him anyway, as evidenced in their evaluations of Manoogian.

"The kids recognized that they were around a great, wise old master,"
added George.

Evan Vicic of St. Paul, a violinist who attends Central High School,
said it was clear that Manoogian was devoted to his students, and
that they understood he was "passionate" about the music.

"He could pinpoint the reasons for any difficulties that I had with
my studies. He really helped me in my expression of the music,"
Vicic said.

Manoogian was born in Baghdad to Armenian parents who had fled the
Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1918.

When he was 16, he attended the Paris Conservatory and was rated the
best in his class, said George. Later, he earned a master’s degree
from New York’s Juilliard School.

Manoogian served as associate concertmaster of the Lausanne Chamber
Orchestra and later as concertmaster of L’Orchestre de la Suisse
Romande. He was artist in residence at the North Carolina School of
the Arts and a member of the Claremont String Quartet before joining
the University of Wisconsin faculty in 1980.

And Manoogian was keen to make sure that the 80 students who attend the
music camp in June and July had a good time, when not working on music.

Manoogian was teaching and performing at a festival in Valencia when
he died.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Brigitte, of Madison; son,
Avedis of Minneapolis; brothers, Hamazasp of Phoenix; Sooren of La
Crescenta, Calif.; Khachig of Los Angeles; and Archbishop Torkom of
Jerusalem; and sister, Zovig Devletian of Philadelphia.

No funeral service will be held. The camp’s fundraiser and concert
to be held on Nov. 1 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be
a memorial to Manoogian.