BY SIMON J. SIMONIAN
On July 9, 2015 Mr. Narek Hakhnazaryan, who was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2011 XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition, the most prestigious Prize given to a cellist, played Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Tchaikovsky’s complex cello composition, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra with Lionel Bringuier, Conductor, at the Hollywood Bowl. The piece is difficult and without a break for 20 minutes. His playing was outstanding and brought the audience to its feet. Next, Mr. Hakhnazaryan announced that this year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Los Angeles has a large Armenian community. To commemorate the event he is going to play Lamentations, a suite composed by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson based on a Black Folk song for solo cello, expressing a people’s crying out. He played and sang simultaneously, something we have never seen a cellist do before, expressing his intense agony for about ten minutes. Again he received standing ovations.
The New York Times has said that “Mr. Hakhnazaryan projected intensity from the moment he took the stage. To the very end his intense focus and expressive artistry never flagged.”
The Washington Post described him as “a phenomenal cellist. He produces a powerful and colorful sound in all registers, nails every big shift and flashes all the virtuosos tricks with insolent ease. He should have a stellar career.”
Mr. Hakhnazaryan has since established himself as one of the finest cellists of his generation. He was born October 23, 1988, now aged 26 in Yerevan, Armenia. He began playing cello at age six at Sayat Nova Music School. When 11 he and his mother moved to Moscow. He subsequently trained at the Moscow Conservatory with a Rostropovich Fund. He received First Prize at the Aram Khachaturian International Competition in Armenia in 2006, and in 2008 won both the First Place at the Johansen International Competition for Young String Players, and First Prize at the International Auditions of the Young Concert Artists. He obtained an Artist Diploma at the New England Conservatory, and currently plays David Tecchler’s cello dated 1698. He lives in Boston. Reference: Wikipedia. Mr. Narek Hakhnazaryan has received support from many admirers, among them Annie Simonian Totah who serves on the Board of Directors of Young Concert Artists.
Simon J. Simonian, has served as a Violinist of the London Hospitals Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis, Conductor. He serves as a Minister of the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers who shared a Nobel Prize for Peace in 1947. He has also served as a Medical Scientist in the team which is a Nobel Prize nominee for the production of the first freeze-dried smallpox vaccine which was used by the World Health Organization, to eradicate smallpox in 1977, the first disease eradicated in history, which saves two million lives each year, approximately 70 million lives to date.