Armenian Culture, Science and Education Development Foundation

Aram Khachaturian International Competition has a number of innovations this year


Aram Khachaturian International Competition will discover young conductors. Competition was held in categories of piano, violin, and cello. The trial contest for composers took place only once. The Executive Director of Aram Khachaturian Cultural Foundation Anna Ter-Hovakimyan in a conversation with Culture.AM presents innovations of this year and other details. “This year for the first time we organised a competition for conductors and we have high expectations. We appealed to the World Federation of International Music Competitions and mentioned that we want to organize a competition in conduction category. Since the Khachaturian competition has high reputation it immediately was included in federation’s competition list. Thus for now the competition has 4 specialities”. On the question whether the competition in that category will be held regularly, considering that the composer’s competition was held only once, Ter-Hovakimyan answered: ”The composer’s competition was interesting, new names were risen, but we are inclined to spread Aram Khachaturian’s music among the participants”.

The competition organisers received 57 applications from 29 countries, but only 14 were chosen. The Executive Director of Foundation noticed that only high-leveled participants passed the first round. The booklet of the festival will include detailed information about participants. There are few conducting international competitions and only 4 are members of The World Federation of International Music Competition. In 2016-2017 our competition has been the only one on the list. This might also be the reason why many young conductors decided to come and participate”.

To organize a conductors’ competition is a delicate job and therefore as we discussed and decided, our contest will be made of two phases. The first one will last 3 days on June 7-9, where participants will have rehearsals in the mornings and performances every evening. It means that the competition will also present itself with series of concerts. In both rounds the participants will perform with the National Orchestra of Armenia.

“Especially for the competition our talented contemporary composer Eduard Hayapetyan has created a composition the score of which will be given to participants only on June 6. Meaning that young conductors won’t know in advance what composition they will conduct”. In the first round it is mandatory for all the contestants to conduct a fragment from Joseph Haydn’s Symphony, Eduard Hayrapetyan’s composition and Aram Khachaturian’s “Adagio”. In the second round the participants will choose one composition from the given list and will also perform the 4th fragment from the 2nd Symphony of Aram Khachaturian. Khachaturian’s symphony is quite difficult and long composition and it will let us choose the winner. Conductors’ Competition is a difficult one and must last longer, however we decided that it need to consist of two rounds only”.

In the last few years a tradition has formed which is to invite the competition winners to Armenia to perform at the Khachaturian Festival. This year won’t be exception and the winner will return to the stage with the National Orchestra again.

“We have a goal to make guests of Festival remember Armenia not only for its delicious food. Members of competition jury will visit different museums, architectural monuments and attend number of concerts. Our connection with the young participants is quite strong. We are closely monitoring their career progress and ensuing achievements. Although the members of jury has been chosen, however it is yet to decide who will be the chairman. The consensus on this will be agreed among the jury members themselves. The members of jury include conductors such as Juri Davtyan, Cօnstantine Orbelyan, Vahagn Papyan, Cief conductor of Qatary orchestra Michalis Economou, the artistic director of Municipal Theatre of Santiago Thomas Jaksic, and also spokesman of “Askonas Holt” Mark Hildrew, Executive Director of ”UK Philharmonia Orchestra” David Welton. “It is very important that there will be managers among the jury members as it will increase the chances for participants to be noticed”.

This year we have changed the voting process. Members of the jury will not discuss and analyze performances after every round. They will only give their marks and the National Orchestra will have its preference too. Every member of Orchestra will choose and the result will be presented as a single vote. It is anticipated to give the Orchestra’s Sympathy award.

“We are working with Aram Khachatrian’s home-museum and planning the concert with the Khachaturian Trio. The guest of the festival is a documentary and concert filmmaker Bernard Flasher who brought with him his two films. They will be shown at the Komitas Museum-Institute. In relation to various conversations about participant’s performance qualities last year, the Executive Director said: “It is hard to tell something. Let them gossip. I think, when someone does something then people might either like it or not. It is normal. Everyone has his own subjective opinion. We rely on the opinion of a professional jury and if anyone considers himself having a better knowledge then it’s up to their own dealing”.

Aram Khachaturian International Competition will begin on June 6. This year’s competition in category “Conducting” will take place for the first time. 14 applicants have been chosen from among 57 people who will take part in the competition rounds.  The contest is organized by the Ministry of Culture,  Aram Khachaturian International Competition, “Aram Khachaturian-Competition” Cultural Foundation and Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory. The competition is being held under the high patronage of the First Lady of Armenia Rita Sargsyan, who is the honorary president of the board. Culture.AM is the official information sponsor of the competition.

Sona Khachatryan (Culture.AM)

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