PR_March 29 2016 /Armenia’s Ark of Music – Part 1

Media Contact:

Celeste Hardester

Date: March 29, 2016

Armenia’s Ark of Music: Rediscovering a Hidden Treasure

A Remarkable Human Story of Preserving a Music of Universal Beauty

PHILADELPHIA:  April 16 & 17, Fine Art Music Company (FAMC), presents Armenia’s Ark of Music (Part One): The HERITAGE –  threading ancient traditions through living music. The concert will be performed on Saturday, April 16th, 8:00 pm at Saint Marks Episcopal Church, and on Sunday, April 17th, at 3:00 pm. The program will focus on the living heritage of modern Armenian composers who carry on the remarkable Armenian music traditions rooted in ancient times. Vocal and instrumental music by composers Komitas (1869-1935), Alan Hovhaness, (1911-2000), Arno Babajanian (1921-1983), Alexander Arutiunian (1920-2012), Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978), and a World Premiere work by Petros Shoujounian (b. 1957).


Saturday, April 16 at 8 pm, St. Mark’s Church 1625 Locust Street, Philadelphia 19103

Sunday, April 17 at 3 pm, The Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Sq., Philadelphia 19103

Vartan Gabrielian, bass-baritone
Anush Avetisyan, soprano
Jonathan Moser, violin
Michal Schmidt, cello
Rollin Wilber 
and Katarzyna Marzec-Salwinsk, piano

 Tickets/ Information: $15-25, or 215-803-9725 or Tickets also available at the door.

Much music of Armenian culture was preserved by Komitas (born Soghomon Soghomonian), an Armenian priest, singer, and composer who has been cited as one of the first ethnomusicologists. After training in Paris and Germany in Western classical music performance, composition and recording, he returned to Armenia, where he collected thousands of songs, creating a resource for modern composers to continue the tradition in their own voices.  Tragically, Komitas was arrested in 1915 and imprisoned during the Armenian Genocide, witnessing brutal executions. Though he survived, he later experienced mental breakdowns that later may have been recognized as post-traumatic stress disorder. Today, Komitas is considered a martyr of the Genocide, and is greatly honored by modern Armenians.

Founder of FAMC, pianist Rollin Wilber commented: “When I heard Komitas’ music for the first time, introduced by an Armenian friend, I was stunned at its haunting beauty, and greatly moved by the commitment of this one man to save his people’s music in the face of societal decline and ultimate genocide. Indeed, this music lives on. Hence we entitled this very special program Armenia’s Ark of Music.”

Armenia’s Ark of Music will present Do-Lao, a World Premier especially written for this occasion by Canadian-Armenian composer Petros Shoujounian. Vocal works will be performed by Armenian-Canadian bass-baritone, Vartan Gabrielian (The Curtis Institute of Music), and Armenian soprano, Anush Avetisyan (AVA, resident artist).

The concert is the first of an in-depth Armenian culture series that FAMC is committed to continue in the 2016-2017 season, with a performance-lecture seminar in the Fall, followed by Armenia’s Ark of Music, Part Two: The SOURCE, dates to be posted shortly, with the new season schedule announcement.

About Fine Art Music Company:
Founded in 2010 by pianist, educator and arts entrepreneur Rollin Wilber, FAMC presents compelling concert programs in intimate settings that allow close interaction with audience and musicians, in order to engage the listener’s mind and to share the potency of classical music with continual freshness of discovery. In 2014, FAMC launched its chamber music series co-presented with The Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia and the International Institute for Culture, and has presented such thematically oriented program as Harmony Across Barriers – Black Origins in American Classical Music, Oppression and Transcendence: Sounds of Reaction, Of War: Composing for Mankind, and others. The 2015-16 season has presented classical music of Argentina, Hungary, Russia, and Scandinavia, as well as subject-driven programs, most recently, A Musical Ode to Earth, featuring music of George Crumb and David Ludwig. Contact Rollin Wilber at 215-803-9725 or More at



Composers and Artist Bios:

Composer Komitas:
Composer Alan Hovhaness:
Composer Arno Babajanian (also Babadzhanyan):
Composer Alexander Arutiunian
Composer Aram Khachaturian:
Composer Petros Shoujounian:
Artists Bios:



Ethical Society:

Saint Mark’s Church:



Social Media:



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