Armenian Cellist Becomes Concertmaster at Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra

Sevak Avanesyan


YEREVAN (Armenpress)—The young Armenian cellist Sevak Avanesyan has become the first lead cellist, or concertmaster, of the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, his father Samvel Avanesyan reported to Armenpress.

Avanesyan was appointed to the position after winning a contest to determine who would replace the vacant seat left by the Philharmonic’s previous concertmaster.

“128 candidates out of 1000 applicants were provided with the opportunity to participate in the contest. Competition was intense,” Avanesyan’s father Samvel said. “As Sevak did not allow us to be present at the contest, I called him at the end of the day with fear in my heart and he told us that four of them had passed to the finals.”

Later the winner was revealed to be Sevak Avanesyan, whose performance won the jury’s admiration.

Sevak Avanesyan was born in 1989 in Armenia, into a musical family. After the Spitak Earthquake of 1988, they moved to Yerevan, where he started studying the cello at age 5 with well-known Armenian cellist, Medea Abrahamyan, student of legendary Mstislav Rostropovitsch. He went on to study at the Tchaikovsky Specialized Secondary and Musical School in Yerevan until 2003. That year, his entire family moved to Brussels, Belgium, where he joined the class of Viviane Spanoghe at the Royal Conservatory. He graduated there with the highest distinction in 2010. The same year he was accepted in the class of the renowned cellist Claudio Bohorquez at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.

Besides his regular studies, Sevak Avanesyan has received precious advice from world famous artists, such as Janos Starker, Steven Isserlis, Maria Kliegel, Liuis Claret, Peter Bruns, Garry Hofman, Wolfgang Boettcher and Igor Oistrakh.

Since the youngest age, Sevak Avanesyan has travelled the world. As a member of the “Young Virtuosos” of AMAA. Sevak performed as soloist and chamber musician in Europe, USA, Canada, China, in halls as prestigious as the Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Ford Hall of Toronto, the Sidney Opera House, and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. More recent concert seasons brought him to such venues as the Festival de Radio France Montpellier, the Festival of Menton and the Brahms Festival in Brussels.

An ardent chamber musician, Sevak Avanesyan is a permanent member of the Avanesyan Piano Trio, studying with the Artemis Quartet at the Queen Elisabeth College of Music. The Avanesyan Piano Trio received the Golden Label prize from the Belgian Music Press Association in 2012.

He has equally collaborated with Augustin Dumay, Philippe Graffin and Pascal Devoyon, Pavel Gililov, as well as with some of the most respected musicians of the younger generation: Alexander Khramuchin, Lily Maisky, Julien Libeer, Alissa Margulis, and his brother Hrachya Avanesyan.

He is a laureate of many international competitions, such as the International Cello Competition “Gerardmer” (France), the European Competition for Young Soloists (Luxemburg), the Sint-Pieters-Woluwe Cello Competition, the Belgische Stichting Roeping (Belgium), and most recently the Lions Club International Cello Competition. Sevak Avanesyan plays on the very first Matio Gofriller cello from 1689 kindly given to him by Mischa Maisky.

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4 Comments

  1. Armenian said:

    Another Armenian contributing to the well-being of other countries through their talent and abilities.

    I’m happy for his achievement, but at the same time, it sad to see such talented and bright individuals leave Armenia to make life better for people other than themselves.

  2. Nurhan Becidyan said:

    He cannot be called a concertmaster because In an orchestra, the concertmaster is the leader of the first violin section. Any violin solo in an orchestral work is played by the concertmaster (except in the case of a concerto, in which case a guest soloist usually plays). It is usually required that the concertmaster be the most skilled musician in the section, experienced at learning music quickly, and counting rests and observing the conductor for the rest of the section to follow.

    The concertmaster sits to the conductor’s left, closest to the audience, and makes decisions regarding bowing and other technical details of violin playing for the violins, and sometimes all of the string players. The concertmaster leads the orchestra in tuning before concerts and rehearsals, and other technical aspects of orchestra management.[2] Leading the tuning is not just a mere formality; if the concertmaster believes that a section is not adequately tuned, he or she will signal to the oboe player to play another “A”. Several larger orchestras have one or more assistant concertmasters.
    The correct term is “principal cellist.”

  3. Sofia said:

    Mr. Becidyan is right, the only instrumental players that can be called concertmasters are the violin players, and only if they are the first of the first violin section. There is only a concertmaster in an orchestra at a concert, and that ‘s always a violin player, never a cello or none other instrument. But congratulations anyway, for being chosen for the principal cello position! He’s very young, so it’s great!

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