Armenian Culture, Science and Education Development Foundation

Yerevan pianists attract crowd in Albany

Marina Abrahamyan and Susanna Kirakosyan_2

WATERVLIET, N.Y. – On an April Saturday afternoon in downtown Albany, NY, the mesmerizing sounds of the ivory were pleasantly heard by nearly 250 people who attended a piano concert performed by two Armenian artists.

Marina Abrahamyan and Susanna Kirakosyan, professional pianists and teachers in the Komitas Yerevan State Conservatory and Tchaikovsky Music School in Yerevan, Armenia, as well as laureates of the International Contest Festival, flew in for their first appearance in the United States. The concert was held at the Lewis Swyer Theater in the well-known The Egg, Center for Performing Arts, located in downtown Albany, NY.

“The Armenian community in the Capital District was blessed to have had the opportunity of having two world-class pianists perform in our own backyard. The repertoire was well planned and included many well-known selections,” shared Ralph Enokian, a music instructor himself. He continued, “I was impressed with how well the performers were able to play long lyrical lines (“Claire de lune” and “Oblivan”) with such delicacy, but at the same time, played with energy and strength when the music called for it, as in the “Masquerade” and “Hungarian Dances.”

The concert, held on April 26, was dedicated to the Marytrys of the Armenian Genocide with proceeds benefiting Syrian relief. Organizer of this extraordinary event, Eduard Aghayan explained his inspiration to bring this to the Capital district. “I used to sponsor concerts in Armenia and I wanted to organize something nice for the local Albany community after being here for seven years. This was a big success and a huge honor for me to once more let people know about the Armenian Genocide as well as to help these two Armenian pianists have their first ever concert in the United States.”

“Anyone who may have missed this Piano Concert given by these super talented Armenian pianist, Susanna Kirakosyan and Marina Abrahamyan, really missed an amazing tribute to our 1915 Martyrs. What an honor it was for our community to be able to enjoy such a wonderful performance,” expressed Isabel Kubikian, who came with her husband and nine month old daughter.

The pianists performed mostly duet but also some solo pieces by well-known composers, including Armenian composers Babajanian, Harutunian and Artem Khachatur.

“I’ve heard some of the songs performed several times on a CD or Radio but I’ve never experienced the music as I did during the concert. Watching the emotion, expression and movement of the pianists was captivating and moving. Several times I found myself experiencing chills going down my spine as I watched them execute their pieces seemingly effortlessly,” said Jonathan Dadekian, who also shared the experience with his wife and young daughter. His thoughts were repeated by others of multiple generations who were in attendance.

Alice Semerdjian, a local piano instructor, assisted Eduard in organizing this event. “They played beautifully,” she passionately shared, adding, “It was much overdue for the Armenian Community to have authentic Armenian music performed.” Semerdjian continued to praise Aghayan for initiating and bringing this concert idea to fruition. “It was simply a beautiful event.” Semerdjian is credited with making arrangements with The Music Studio and the Artist Pianos of Albany, NY, to have the two pianists rehearse there leading up to the concert. Additionally, Semerdjian’s own students assisted on stage as invaluable page-turners to the pianists.

Beth Geragosian poetically and elegantly introduced each musical presentation while Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, parish priest of host parish St. Peter Armenian Church of Watervliet, provided opening and closing remarks.

Feeling overwhelming pride after attending the concert, Mary Panjarjian shared, “I am not a pianist by any measure, but I did appreciate the two high caliber pianists who gave us such an inspiring performance. It was a real blessing to see such a live concert in our hometown, by two professional artists who are so accomplished and yet so humble to come to Church on Sunday to worship with us in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of April 24, 1915.”

The pianists, Marina and Susanna, also added their thoughts, “We are very happy and proud with the fact that our first large concert in the USA took place in Albany, NY, for our beautiful Armenian community.” The women expressed special thanks to Fr. Stepanos, Eduard and Alice for their enthusiasm, organization, support and management of the concert. Other community members and Church staff also contributed in the success of this event.
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