Over the weekend of May 24, three concerts were performed in the city of Brussels, Belgium featuring Armenian musicians of various musical backgrounds. The concert series, organized by the AGBU Performing Arts Department (PAD) of France/Europe, took place at the Boghossian Foundation, with its magnificent Art Deco venue the Villa Empain, and the Armenian Cultural Center of the Armenian community of Belgium.
Duduk legend Lévon Minassian, who introduced the authentic Armenian instrument to the world through his collaboration with international artists such as Peter Gabriel and contributed to the soundtracks of major feature films, performed on Friday evening at the Villa Empain. He was accompanied by his longtime keyboarder Serge Arribas, along with Brussels-based guitar player Tigran Ter Stepanian, French cellist Pierre Nentwig, and Belgian pianist Philippe Navarre. The non-Armenian audience was won over by Minassian’s unique sound and mastery of the genre.
The following evening, the Boghossian Foundation welcomed Diana Adamyan, the 19-year old rising-star violist who won the 1st Prize of the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition in 2018, in Geneva. Accompanied by pianist Mamikon Nakhapetov, Adamyan performed works by Bach, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Kreisler and Komitas.
The musical weekend concluded on Sunday at the Armenian Cultural Center with a special presentation of the works of Hayrik Mouradian, followed by a concert of the Lisbon-based Dellalian Trio. The musicians emphasized the accomplishments of Mouradian over the course of the 20th century in collecting, transmitting and promoting the musical heritage of Western and Eastern Armenian culture. Dellalian sisters Nariné and Marina, along with cellist Levon Mouradian were accompanied by guest violist Artur Mouradian from Rotterdam. They performed for a world premiere Vache Sharafyan’s Goodlights, a work mixing Hayrik Mouradian’s voice recordings and a piano quartet, as well as Belgian premiere works by Harutiun Dellalian, Tigran Mansurian and Komitas arrangements by Arakelian.
True to the AGBU mission to expand educational and cultural horizons for Armenians worldwide, the concert series helped support the PAD Musical Instruments Fund in collaboration with Musicians for Musicians, an association led by well-known cello player and friend of AGBU Sevak Avanesyan. The Fund lends high quality musical instruments to young musicians in Armenia. As PAD France-Europe’s manager Christian Erbslöh explained, “While Armenia is known for its musical excellence, unfortunately too many young musicians with the ambition and talent to reach the top of their field are deprived of the proper instruments to achieve their dream.”
The Fund lends the instruments to deserving students to help improve their musical practice, participate in international competitions, and perform on prestigious stages. Thanks to the support of concert patrons, the Fund is now in a position to acquire its first instruments: French and German instruments from the last Century, including bows made by Charles-Nicolas Bazin.
Inspired by the success of the musical weekend, AGBU Central Board Member and President of AGBU Europe and France Nadia Gortzounian is looking forward to further developing the Fund, saying, “Armenia has many gifted artists who are the pride of our global nation. The Musical Instruments Fund makes it possible for these great artists of tomorrow to showcase their talents to the world, just as they have during this special weekend in Brussels.”
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs. Each year, AGBU is committed to making a difference in the lives of 500,000 people across Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian diaspora. Since 1906, AGBU has remained true to one overarching goal: to create a foundation for the prosperity of all Armenians. To learn more visit www.agbu.org.