Alan Hovhaness Tribute to Take Place in Arlington

ARLINGTON, Mass.–The Armenian Cultural Foundation invites the public to a concert in tribute to world renown composer and former Arlington resident Alan Hovhaness. The concert, on Sunday, October 5th at 3:00 p.m., will feature pianist Martin Berkofsky, known for his interpretations of Alan Hovhaness and Franz Liszt. The concert is part of a fundraising campaign to erect a monument in memory of Hovhaness at Arlington High School in the spring of 2009.

Born on March 8, 1911 to Haroutiun Hovhaness Chakmakjian, an Armenian American professor of chemistry at Tufts College and Madeleine Scott Chakmakjian, of Scottish descent and a Wellesley College graduate, Alan Hovhaness grew up in Arlington and graduated from the Arlington High School in 1929. He began composing from the early age of seven. His first piece an opera, “Daniel” was written when he was in junior high school. He received his formal musical education at Tufts and the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied under Frederick Converse. Later he became a professor at the Boston Conservatory of Music and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. From 1966 until his death in 2000, he was composer-in-residence with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. As a tribute to his musical genius Hovhaness has received numerous awards from American institutions, such as the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Acknowledged as one of the most widely performed of all American composers, Hovhaness’ compositions exceed 500, including 9 operas, 2 ballets, and 67 symphonies. Summing up Hovhaness’ rich musical career Time Magazine wrote “No other American composer has absorbed the breadth of musical history as Hovhaness has nor has or been temperamentally equipped to express his response to it so naturally.”

The October 5th benefit concert will feature pianist Martin Berkofsky. A child prodigy, he began his public performances and made recordings at the age of eight. He has performed extensively throughout Europe as well as in Turkey and Armenia with a number of world-class orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and most recently with the Stepanakert Symphonic Orchestra, Nagorno-Karabakh The concert will include works by Schubert, Beethoven, Liszt, and Hovhaness.

Accompanying Mr. Berkofsky on some pieces will be Lawrence Sobol and Ani Hovsepian . Hailed by the New York Times as an intrepid musical explorer, Mr. Sobol has performed and recorded extensively in America and Europe and has worked with America’s leading composers among them Virgil Thomson and William Schuman. Presently, Mr. Sobol holds classes at his Huntington, NY studio and is an Artist Clinician for Vandoren/Paris, J. D’Addario.

Ani Hovsepian, a graduate of the Yerevan State Conservatory and Leningrad Conservatory with degrees in Piano performance, Art Criticism and Musicology, will accompany Mr. Berkofsky on Alan Hovhaness’s Child in the Garden, a for piano four-hands. Mrs. Hovsepian holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Brandeis University. Her dissertation entitled “East and West in Armenian Music: Arno Babajanian and Alan Hovhaness” is a continuation of her exploration in the field on the life and legacy of Alan Hovhaness whom she met on the occasion of the eightieth anniversary of the composer’s birth. She has appeared in piano and ensemble performances in Armenia, other former Soviet Union republics and the United States, with the Lydian String Quartet, Brandeis University Chorus, and the Cantata Singers. Currently she teaches piano in Belmont, Massachusetts.

This concert is one of several events culminating in a monument dedication at Arlington High School in the spring 2009. A lecture by Dr. Pasquale Tassone, “Alan Hovhaness: An Arlington Genius” was delivered on September 25th at the Arlington Historical Society.

The Alan Hovhaness Commemorative Committee has also planned a number of articles on the life and legacy of the composer to appear in the Arlington Advocate and Armenian papers. Seating for this benefit concert to be held at the Armenian Cultural Foundation is limited. Public is encouraged to purchase ticket ($25) in advance by contacting the ACF office at (781) 646-3090 or by email at: acf.hmh@verizon.net

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