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From medieval music to classic, jazz and rock: The Naghash Ensemble performed within the framework of the Khachaturian Festival

04.12.2017

On December 2 a unique project was held within the framework of the 5th Khachaturian International Festival. Generally, the Khachaturian Festival is a platform where not only famous classical compositions are presented with classical traditional formats, but it also offers interesting projects, new concert repertoire. The next guest of the festival was the Naghash Ensemble with its unique concert program.

In 2012, the Naghash Ensemble, created by composer, conductor, pianist John Hodian, expresses its unique style: the ensemble is open to different art interactions. The ensemble consists of three brilliant female vocalists and some of Armenia’s finest instrumentalists on duduk, oud, dhol and piano.

Years ago John Hodian heard Hasmik Baghdasaryan singing at Garni Temple, and he decided to find some ways to combine this beautiful voice and modern musical expressions.

And that path led him to the 15th century, when the medieval Armenian singer, artist Mkrtich Naghash lived and created his poems. John Hodian composed “Songs of Exile” series inspired by Mkrtich Naghash’s theme of alienation. The Armenian folk song, classical music, rock and jazz elements are combined in the series.

The premiere of the orchestral version of the “Songs of Exile” was held within the framework of the Khachaturian Festival, with the participation of the the String Section of the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia.

John Hodian composes in different styles and genres of music. Hodian finds it difficult to say what genre is preferable to him. “The compositions Naghash present are the most preferable to me,”-John Hodian noted.

The Naghash Ensemble performs all over the world. Answering to the question how the foreign audience perceives the ensemble’s music, especially the Armenian one, John Hodian noted that the majority of the audience is usually foreign. It’s great to see how they perceive this music that is quite different from the traditional art. According to Hodian, the audience’s responses are fantastic.

Nowadays people want to see new things and get new feelings in all spheres, including the music. By creating the Naghash did John Hodian wanted to say something new?  “I’m not trying to do anything, I’m doing what is natural to me, what I want to do,” the maestro said. Hodian said that he had worked on Naghash’s texts for about ten years.

The evening of December 2 was consisted of eight pieces. The concert was accompanied by Sevak Hakobyan reading Naghash’s poetry texts, the texts on which John Hodyan created the “Songs of Exile”.

 

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