Composer Arno Babajanian – A Man in Love with Life

Poet Andrey Dementiev once said: “I have worked with Babajanian quite a lot. He was so in love with life, there was so much humor and humanity in him. His music was begotten by his kindness. He had an intuition for the beautiful. Arno Babajanian remained a composer of light and joy.”

Arno Babajanian was born in Yerevan in 1921. There haven’t been any professional composers in his family, though his father – a mathematics teacher – played on the flute perfectly well. At the age of 3-4, Arno attempted to play on an old harmonica. Years later, he would with delight recall his first meeting with a real composer in the kindergarten. “Once, we had a visitor. This man asked us to sing to give him an idea of who had aural skills. I also sang. He listened to me and said that I should play music. I would later learn that this man’s name was Aram Khachaturian.”

In 1928, Babajanian joined the musical group of young singers under the Yerevan Conservatory. In 1933, Babajanian received his first award at a contest of young musicians for his excellent execution of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 4 and “Rondo Capriccioso” by Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns.

One could endlessly praise the talent, uniqueness, and the beautiful music of Babajanian and its role in the musical art. Konstantin Igumnov, a Russian pianist and one of Babajanian’s teachers at the Moscow Conservatory, was assured that the student would one day become a brilliant virtuoso pianist. Babajanian became a composer but remained a virtuoso. His compositions were fated to become successful in the country and even abroad.

Martin Vardazaryan and Yervand Yerznkyan prepared a small surprise in the Aram Khachaturian concert hall at the Yerevan Opera Theatre for the 85th anniversary of Babajanian. The guests at the event were predominantly youth. The program of the event included the recognizable music from the Armenian films “The Song of First Love” and “Bride from the north.”

Martin Vardazaryan opened the concert with Babajanian’s nocturne. The program also featured a jazz-style nocturne by Levon Malkhasyan. It was then when Vardazaryan wasn’t able to resist to remark: “Arno Harutyunovich arrived in Yerevan and got sick. We brought him a record player and played Malkhasyan’s nocturne. The composer listened to four bars and said: ‘Malkhas.’ Interestingly, he recognized his own nocturne.”

Mostly young solo orchestral performers appeared on the scene, once again reassuring us that we still have talented musicians, including Levon Miridzhanyan, Vazgen Ghazaryan, and Marat Hayrapetyan. Veterans of the Armenian musical art such as Raisa Mkrtchyan, Ruben Matevosyan, and “Chiko & friends” quartet performed as well. The winter of 1983 came to my mind: back in the day, we were passing by the Opera Theatre when we learned about the death of the composer.

Architect Levon Igityan recalls: “On that day, we had a premiere in the theatre and were waiting for Robert Amirkhanyan. He arrived half an hour late and without saying a word went on the stage, sat down at the piano, and played the compositions of Babajanian. Everyone stood up, realizing that Arno Harutyunovich had passed away.”

One more thing… Arno Babajanian was born on January 21, the day when Lenin died. Because of that, his father changed the birth date to January 22. Those were difficult days: the neighbors could simply report to the authorities that the Babajanian family was having fun on the day of mourning.

Karine Ter-Sahakyan

Arno Babajanyan — Fantasy on -Call me

Ноктюрн Бабаджаняна – Исполняет автор / Арно Бабаджанян

Poet Andrey Dementiev once said: “I have worked with Babajanian quite a lot. He was so in love with life, there was so much humor and humanity in him. His music was begotten by his kindness. He had an intuition for the beautiful. Arno Babajanian remained a composer of light and joy.”



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