To The Birthday Of Komitas

Soghomon Soghomonyan was born on September 26, 1869, in Kütahya (Armenian: Կուտինա) into the musical family of Gevorg Soghomonyan and Taguhi Hovhannisyan. His parents were gifted singers and composers who were admired by the entire city.

Having lost his parents early (his mother died in 1870 and father in 1880), Soghomon was brought up by his father’s grandmother. Since an early age, he sang beautifully, and it is no coincidence he was called a “wandering singer” in Kutina.

In 1881, the rector of the Kutina Church Derdzakyan had to go to Echmiadzin to be ordained a bishop. At the request of the Catholicos, he had to bring along an orphan boy as a student for the Theological Seminary of Ecthmiadzin. Twelve-year-old Solomon was chosen from among twenty orphans.

In 1890, Soghomon was ordained a monk. In 1893, he completed his studies at the seminary. He then took the rank of a priest and the name of Catholicos Komitas I, an outstanding poet of the 7th century and author of sharakans.

In the seminary, Komitas was appointed a music teacher. In parallel with teaching, Komitas founded a choir, an orchestra of folk instruments, made arrangements of folk songs, and wrote the first studies on Armenian church music.

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