Alexander Arutiunian

Biography

Born: September 23, 1920; Yerevan, Armenia   Died: March 28, 2012; Yerevan, Armenia  
Alexander Arutiunian is ranked among the most important Armenian composers in the generation after Aram Khachaturian. His style is quite approachable, and like Khachaturian's, often exotically colorful, exhibiting folk-like Armenian traits, and catchy melodies. But he also employed neo-Classical elements in his works, especially from the 1960s onward. Arutiunian was born on September 23, 1920, in Yerevan. He exhibited musical talent at an early Read more age on the piano and entered Yerevan's Komitas Conservatory while still in his teens. There, he studied piano with O. Babashian and composition with Barkhoudarian and Varkes Talian, graduating in 1941. By then, Arutiunian had decided on a career as a composer: he had joined the U.S.S.R.'s Union of Composers in 1939, but more importantly had already written his first major composition, his piano concerto (1940). While it showed great promise, it was not ultimately a success. For one thing, it appeared at a time when Khachaturian's then-new and masterful piano concerto (1936) was attracting much attention both in the U.S.S.R. and abroad. The war disrupted further education for Arutiunian until 1946, when he enrolled at the Moscow Conservatory and studied composition with Ilya Litinsky, Nikolai Ivanovich Peyko, and Viktor Zuckermann. He left in 1948, offering as his graduation piece a patriotic work, Cantata on the Homeland, for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, an effort for which he received a U.S.S.R. State Prize. This was a difficult time for Soviet composers since they were expected to write stylistically tame music, often on patriotic texts or subjects. Arutiunian composed two of his most successful works in the coming years, the trumpet concerto (1950), written for virtuoso Soviet trumpet player Timofei Dokshitser, and the Concertino for Piano and Orchestra (1951). He also engaged in a collaborative work with a lesser composer -- fellow Armenian Arno Babadjanyan -- an unusually self-effacing gesture even for a young composer. Their effort produced the 1950 Armenian Rhapsody for Pianos (2). In 1954, Arutiunian was appointed artistic director of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, a post he held until he reached age 70 (1990). Arutiunian managed to avoid falling into disfavor with Soviet cultural bosses in the post-Stalin era -- a not necessarily easy task -- composing unadventurous though well-crafted works like his symphony (1957) and horn concerto (1962), the latter achieving some currency in the repertory. In 1960, he was given a government commendation when he was named a People's Artist of Armenia. In 1965, Arutiunian joined the faculty of the Yerevan Conservatory where he taught composition. Two years later, he produced one of his most important compositions, the opera Sayat-Nova. In 1975, he joined the Union of Armenian Cinematographers, Arutiunian having been active over the years in composing several film scores. Two years later, he was given a professorship at the Yerevan Academy. Arutiunian remained active in composition in the 1980s and early '90s, producing a fairly substantial body of work, including his popular quintet for brass, Armenian Scenes, and his tuba concerto (1992). He retired from the artistic directorship of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra in 1990. Read less
Browse 26-34 of 34 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Soviet Trumpet Concertos / Black, Orbelian, Moscow Co
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9668 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mieczyslaw Weinberg,  Alexander Arutiunian,  Alexandra Pakhmutova
    Performer:  Bibi Black
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Chamber Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Romantic Violin Concertos Of The 20th Century / Verdehr
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 514 Release Date: 07/21/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Gian Carlo Menotti,  Alexander Arutiunian
    Performer:  Walter Verdehr
    Conductor:  Leon Gregorian,  Kirk Trevor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Arutiunian: Violin Concerto, Etc / Grubert, Arutiunian, Etc
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9566 Release Date: 11/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Arutiunian
    Performer:  Narine Arutiunian,  Ilya Grubert
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Chamber Orchestra
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  • 29.
    The Making Of A Medium Vol 5 / Verdehr Trio
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 745 Release Date: 05/13/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Arutiunian,  Peter Sculthorpe,  Peter Schickele,  Thomas Christian David
    Performer:  Walter Verdehr,  Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr,  Gary Kirkpatrick
    Conductor:  Thomas Christian David
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdehr Trio,  Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Rota, Bloch, Arutiunian, Et Al: Trombone Concertos / Slokar
    Label: Claves   Catalog: 9606 Release Date: 09/17/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Arutiunian,  Launy Grondahl,  Ernest Bloch,  Nino Rota
    Performer:  Branimir Slokar
    Conductor:  Lior Shambadal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Trumpet Rhapsody / Timofei Dokschitzer
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 32045 Release Date: 03/26/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Arutiunian,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Alexander Glazunov,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel  ... 
    Performer:  Timofei Dokshitser
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Rudolf Barshai,  Alexander Lazarev,  Anatoly Maltsev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Moscow Chamber Orchestra,  USSR Ministry of Defense Symphonic Band
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  • 32.
    The Brass And The Band / Chicago Chamber Brass, Et Al
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 431 Release Date: 06/15/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eugène Bozza,  Herbert L. Clarke,  Edward Llewellyn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  William Camp,  Richard Frazier,  Steven Gamble,  Elizabeth Halloin  ... 
    Conductor:  Howard Dunn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Wind Symphony,  Chicago Chamber Brass
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  • 33.
    Shostakovich: Suite, Concertino For 2 Pianos / Tanyel, Brown
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8466 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Arutiunian,  Aram Khachaturian,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Jeremy Brown,  Seta Tanyel
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  • 34.
    A Musical Voyage / Atlantic Brass Quintet
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 119 Release Date: 09/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Peuerl,  Erik Satie,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Anthony Holborne  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlantic Brass Quintet
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