Hamasyan’s ‘For Gyumri’ Solo Concert to Benefit COAF

Tigran Hamasyan (Photo by Elena Hamasyan)
Tigran Hamasyan (Photo by Elena Hamasyan)

Tigran Hamasyan (Photo by Elena Hamasyan)

“With startling combinations of jazz, minimalist, electronic, folk and songwriterly elements … Hamasyan travels musical expanses marked with heavy grooves, ethereal voices, pristine piano playing and ancient melodies. You’ll hear nothing else like this.”
—NPR Music

UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) announced the return of pianist and composer Tigran Hamasyan in a solo performance featuring works from his latest album, “For Gyumri,” to benefit the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. at Royce Hall. Tickets for $29 to $59 are available now at cap.ucla.edu, 310-825-2101, Ticketmaster and the UCLA Central Ticket Office.

Considered one of the most remarkable and distinctive jazz-meets-rock pianists of his generation, Hamasyan fuses potent jazz improvisation with the rich folkloric music of his
native Armenia.

A companion to last year’s An Ancient Observer, For Gyumri (February 2018, Nonesuch) is dedicated to his hometown of Gyumri, Armenia, where he was born in 1987 before relocating with his family to Los Angeles in 2003. He currently resides in Erevan, Armenia.

Hamasyan describes the songs as “musical observations about the world we live in now, and the weight of history we carry with us.” All About Jazz hailed For Gyumri as “a loving tribute to his home city” and The Guardian raved, “he’s the hottest pianist in jazz, and he likes to mix things up, whether it’s bebop, thrash metal or dubstep. But his heart is in the folk music of his native land, Armenia.”

Hamasyan began playing piano at age 3 and won the 2003 Montreux Jazz Festival’s piano competition at age 14. He released his debut album, World Passion, in 2005 and the following year won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. In addition to awards and critical praise, Hamasyan has built a dedicated international following, as well as praise from Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau.

Additional albums include New Era (2007); Red Hail (2009); A Fable (2011), for which he was awarded a Victoires de la Musique (the equivalent of a Grammy Award in France); Shadow Theater (2013); Luys i Luso (2015); and Mockroot (2015), for which he won the Echo Jazz Award for International Piano Instrumentalist of the Year.

Ten percent of ticket sales from this performance will be donated to the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), an organization that has been using community-led, comprehensive approaches in reducing poverty in rural Armenia since 2003. Its strategic programs in education, healthcare, child and family services, community engagement and economic development help Armenian village youth access the resources to achieve and, in turn, give back to their communities and the world. COAF believes the new generation of Armenia, together with their families, have the potential and opportunity to revitalize the fabric of community life, and combat the rapid emigration plaguing the country since its independence from the Soviet Union. The organization has dramatically improved the quality of life for 75,000 people in 44 village communities over the past 15 years.

COAF SMART is the organization’s newest initiative designed to jumpstart the advancement of rural communities by connecting them to the world by use of advanced communication and information technology. The first state-of-the-art COAF SMART Center opened its doors in northern Armenia in May of this year, offering 150,00 locals both project-based and action-based learning programs. COAF’s board of directors cover all administrative costs, allowing 100% of donations to go toward funding programs. The organization has consistently secured the highest rating on Charity Navigator. Pianist-composer Tigran Hamasyan has always felt committed to making a difference in his native Armenia and has supported COAF’s mission in empowering Armenia’s youth. Other celebrities who have supported COAF include Serj Tankian, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Stamos, Andrea Martin, Vanessa Williams, Sean Hayes, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Aniston, Patricia Field, Victor Garber, Ariana Grande, Conan O’Brian, Alexis Ohanian, and Usher.

“Children of Armenia Fund’s leadership in advancing rural communities was further cemented by the completion of the technologically innovative COAF SMART Center in the Lori region of Armenia,” said COAF Founder and Chairman Dr. Garo Armen. “COAF values partnerships that share our mission and values: we greatly appreciate CAP UCLA’s generosity in donating proceeds from this concert to COAF, as well as Tigran Hamasyan’s commitment to improving the lives of children in his homeland.”

Hamasyan returns to CAP UCLA following his concert Luys i Luso, an exploration of Armenian sacred music with members of Yerevan State Chamber Choir, at Royce Hall in December 2015.

Funds provided by the Henry Mancini Tribute Fund.


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