KOMITAS IN THE MODERN ARMENIA
October 22, 2005 marks the
70th anniversary of Komitas Vardapet’s death. However, all
this time the name of the great musician has lived not only in
his compositions, treatments, researches, poems, paintings, inspired
by his bright image, but also in daily life of his beloved and
native country, Armenia.
Indeed, the name of Komitas today is directly or indirectly present
in all the different and at times unexpected occurrences. At present
one of the oldest and favorite green spots of Yerevan, the Park
of Komitas, carries the name of Komitas; it was designed by architect
M.Mazmanyan. It is located along one of the major roads of the
city, Arshakunyats street, and it is a popular place for people
to rest. In the park there are interesting entertaining attractions
for children, green alleys for strolling and rest from the daily
routine. The Park of Komitas is also a local place of interest.
Here one can find the city Pantheon, the burial place for famous
leaders of Armenian culture: musicians, painters, poets, writers,
theater and movie actors.
The gravestones of Aram Khachaturian,
Vahram Papazian, Sergey Parajanov, William Saroyan, Alexander Tamanian,
Avetik Isahakian, Vahan Terian, Hovhannes Abelian, Hrachia Nersisian
and others rise above the spacious alley.
Here every gravestone was designed in an individual style, reflecting
not only the physical features of the hero, but also his creative
nature. Thus, for instance, on the gravestone of a well-known actor
Vahram Papazian one can see masks, and the actor himself is shown
in the position typical of one of his heroes.
On May 26, 1936 Komitas’ ashes were brought to the Pantheon
and buried there. His magnificent sculpture with an open notebook
in one hand stands on the round pedestal and reminds us of his inspired
creativity and precious researches…
What Armenia has today is Komitas’ dream that didn’t
come true during his lifetime: it is well-known that all his life
he dreamt of opening a higher musical institution on his motherland,
for local preparation of professional music candidates. It is also
well-known that he, being a brilliant teacher, repeatedly developed
programs for teaching the Armenian musicians of various profiles.
In 1921 a music studio was opened under the leadership of a famous
Armenian composer Romanos Melikian in Yerevan. On its basis, on
October 1, 1923, Yerevan State Conservatory was opened. After World
War II, in 1946 the latter was named after Komitas.
Yerevan Conservatory is the only musical institution of higher education
On October 1, 2003, it celebrated its 80th anniversary. Throughout
all these years the Conservatory has had numerous generations of
graduates-musicians, who have performed the best stages of the world
up to this day.
Not only musicians, but the Conservatory itself that carries the
name of Komitas, has gone through a long and interesting path of
development. In the first years of its foundation it offered classes
of piano, violin, alt, cello, wind instruments, vocal, choral singing,
string quartet and teaching.
In 1924-25 academic years the Conservatory organized the first Armenian
In 1926-27 the first opera studio was opened, in 1930-31 –
a composition class, and a year later – classes of opera and
In 1937-38 academic years the Musicology department was founded,
which allowed the students to obtain deep knowledge in the fields
of music theory and history, art critique, harmony, polyphony, form
analysis, and other.
Postgraduate studies have functioned at the Conservatory since 1961;
here the students who wish to continue to perfect their music education,
have an opportunity to receive an academic degree of a Candidate
of Arts after the defense.
In the latter years the Conservatory opened a number of classes
related to the problems of national folklore. In 1969 there was
created the cabinet of national folklore, in 1978 – the cabinet
of national instruments, in 1987 – the cabinet of national
song, and in 1988 – the department of national folklore.
Today the Conservatory also offers the departments of foreign students,
foreign languages, social sciences and computer science, which contribute
to the expansion of professional outlook of the students. In 1997
the department of jazz music was opened for future representatives
of Armenia’s music.
For its 80-year old path the Conservatory of Komitas has been developing
under the leadership of bright musicians, famous composers and artists:
Romanos Melikian (1923-1924)
Arshak Adamian (1924-1926)
Anushavan Ter-Gevondian (1926-1930)
Spiridon Melikian (1930-1931)
Snar Snarian (1931-1932)
Georgiy Oganesian (Kimik) (1932-1933)
Vardan Samvelian (1933-1936)
Konstantin Sarajev (1936-1937; 1940-1954)
Samson Gasparian (1937-1940)
Grigor Egiazarian (1954-1960)
Lazar Sarian (1960-1986)
Edgar Oganesyan (1986-1992)
Tigran Mansurian (1992-1993)
Armen Smbatian (1993-2002)
Sergey Sarajian (2002-present)
residents of Yerevan, Komitas is also the name of one of the major
streets. Komitas street was constructed in 1963-64. It is the most
popular link connecting the city center with Zeytun district.
In 1996, Komitas Publishing House was established in Yerevan. It
is a specialized musical publishing house founded by a musician
and teacher Ruzanna Yesayan. The mission of the publishing house
is to represent Armenian music all over the world, to promote the
most significant works including those written by young talented
composers, as well as to publish new musicological works. Most of
the published materials are the first prints of the corresponding
manuscripts. For the 8 years of successful work, Komitas Publishing
House has issued about 60 items of musical literature including
musical scores and books on music. The latter ones have been repeatedly
represented at various international exhibitions in Moscow and Frankfurt.
Komitas also pays special attention to Armenian folk and ashugh
In 2004, Komitas Publishing House established a library where non-published
manuscripts of Armenian composers of different periods are preserved.
Komitas is a member of the National Publishers’Association.
The publishing house collaborates with various musical schools and
with distinguished figures of the national musical culture. Here
is the list of the literature published by Komitas:
Treatments for piano
Treatments and arrangements for violin and piano
Collection of songs
Piano sketches (on Komitas’ themes) for two performers
Suite on ashugh themes (for two pianos)
Fantasy (piano trio)
Works by modern Armenian composers
20th century. Works by Armenian composers (3 collections)
Bells (for piano)
Vocal works by young composers
Manual on playing the duduk
Concertos, quartets, collections
of songs, choruses, educational materials, etc.
I. Zolotova, Sh. Apoyan
On the history of piano teaching and performing art of the 20th
Piano training technique
Digest of musicological works
Books I, II
Armenian medieval interpretations of voices
of the best concert halls of Yerevan, the Chamber Music Hall also
bears the name of Komitas. This small but very original building
was constructed in 1978 (architect: Stepan Kurkchian). It is located
in the city center, deep in the park. Nowadays, Komitas Chamber Music Hall hosts concerts of chamber, vocal-instrumental, choral
and organ music. Though the hall is not so large in size, it can
seat about three hundred.
Many distinguished figures of Armenian and international music have
performed on the stage of Komitas Chamber Music Hall. International
musical festivals are regularly held here as well.
Several films about Komitas have been created.
Since 1924, the famous Komitas String Quartet
has also functioned in Armenia.