Yerevan’s Tchaikovsky Music School Undergoes Extreme Makeover
Just blocks from the Yerevan Opera Theater stands another cultural institution—the Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School—that reflects the world-class musical talent that Armenia has produced over many decades. And yet, for all the brilliance emanating from the Tchaikovsky School, the walls, floors, ceilings, classrooms, and public facilities have certainly seen better days. The premises are long overdue for a complete overhaul to meet the needs of a new generation of musically gifted Armenian youth.
While there is no shortage of classically trained musical masters in Armenia, the Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School is the only government-funded school in the country that is uniquely equipped to cultivate aspiring musicians during their formative years. In fact, unlike all other public schools in Armenia, which fall under the domain of the Ministry of Education, the Tchaikovsky School falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture. This special status speaks to the national passion and priority for all things musical—especially classical.
When students graduate from the Tchaikovsky School, they have not only earned an impressive academic diploma but also the credentials to enter Armenia’s Music Conservatory without first completing certain university requirements. More than 70 percent of students of the Yerevan State Conservatory of Music are graduates of the Tchaikovsky School. Students of the school have been awarded with hundreds of diplomas, awards, and medals for their outstanding participation in national, regional, and international competitions.
Khoren Bandazian, the chairman of the Armenia Fund USA Board, points out, “Even during the Soviet years, the abundance of classically trained Armenian pianists, violinists, and other musicians was well known in international circles. Yet, these talents also served as ad hoc ambassadors from their republic, representing their people at the most prestigious international music competitions, conservatories, and music schools in Europe and the U.S. After independence, these national treasures have enjoyed even greater opportunity to expose the world to Armenia’s mastery of the classical genre. This gives Armenia special prominence on the world cultural map.”
The Tchaikovsky School project speaks to three main pillars of the Armenia Fund nation-building model: education, infrastructure, and community. The reconstruction of the Tchaikovsky School is already in process. The project is and will be the focus of many fundraising appeals to transform this dilapidated structure into a gleaming contemporary landmark. Many works need to be completed to bring the school building to the world-class standards of many specialized educational music facilities in Europe and the U.S.
Currently, the walls, floors, ceilings, windows, and doors are being deconstructed and dismantled throughout the building. In addition, earthquake proofing of the building is being put in place, along with the new glass elevator in the main building, which is accessible for people with disabilities and the elderly. After this phase is finished, the water supply system, ventilation system, electrical wiring, and equipment will undergo a complete renovation. New granite floors in the halls and corridors, new classroom flooring, new windows and doors will be installed throughout the building. Ceilings and walls will be plastered and painted. The final phase of the construction will be the installation of an internal video surveillance and fire alarm systems. The newly renovated school building will be equipped with brand new furniture and blackboards.
The outdoor area of the Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School will not be left unattended either, as the school is located in the heart of Yerevan. The overall budget of the project includes the costs of area improvements, such as replacing the curbs, tiling, asphalting, and concrete layering of the school’s entrance area and surroundings. Students will be able to rest and get prepared for their classwork on the benches in the backyard of the school, which will be installed as part of the project as well.
While the Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School is being renovated, classes for the students are being conducted in different music schools around Yerevan city. The estimated completion date for this project is September 2016. After the state-of-the-art school facility is fully functional, Armenia Fund USA plans to invest in new musical instruments, master classes, as well as international student exchange programs for the students of the school.
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