Armenian Greek Guitarist Iakovos Kolanian to Perform in San Francisco Fresno

US Debut Concerts feature Armenian Folk Music Arranged for Classical Guitar

Armenian-Greek classical guitarist Iakovos Kolanian will be performing in San Francisco on Friday–March 4–and in Fresno on Saturday–March 5–highlighting a 16 year journey to arrange and transcribe Armenian folk songs for the classical guitar

The concerts will support the new groundbreaking Pomegranate Music CD release titled Shoror: Armenian Folk Music for Guitar by Kolanian. As Kolanian explains–"I managed to collect a considerable number of traditional dances and songs–deciding in the process that I would transcribe or recompose part of this material for the guitar. However–such was the emotional impact of this music on me that–I sometimes found it difficult to hold back my tears as I worked through a particular piece. It was during this stimulating process that I came to the realization that this pursuit was not simply a professional step–but–without a doubt–a journey into the depths of my soul in search of my Armenian roots."

The program for each concert will consist of one half being devoted to the selected works of JS Bach (Lute Suite in A Minor BWV)–Agustin Barrios-Mangore (La Catedral)–and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (Capriccio Diabolico). The entire second half of the concert will be devoted to Kolanian’s arrangement of 13 Armenian folk and traditional songs–including the famous Komitas Dances.

San Francisco: Friday March 4–8pm at the Florence Gould Theater–Legion of Honor. Lincoln Park–100 34th Ave–San Francisco–CA USA. A Pomegranate Music Event. Tickets are $35 Adults–$20 Students. No children under the age of 6 please. For ticket information–please visit

Fresno: Saturday March 5–7:30 pm at The Concert Hall at California State University–Fresno- Music Building. 5241 N. Maple Ave–Fresno–CA. A Pomegranate Music Event. All net proceeds of this concert are being donated to the Armenian Community School of Fresno and the Armenian Studies Program at California State University–Fresno. Tickets are $15 Adults–$8 Students. No children under the age of 6–please. For ticket information–please visit

Iakovos Kolanian was born in Greece in 1960–to an Armenian father and a Greek mother. At the age of 13–influenced by the musical currents of the time (pop–rock–as well as classical) he started his musical journey that eventually led him to the National Conservatory of Athens. There–he studied classical guitar with noted professors Evangelos Assimakopoulos and Lisa Zoe–and graduated in 1985 with the top award and a special honor for exceptional performance. Since that time–he has attended various special seminars and master classes in Greece and abroad–broadening his knowledge of the instrument from distinguished teachers such as Oscar Ghilia and Leo Brouwer.

Throughout the years he has toured in Europe–Asia and Latin America–where he has presented to audiences a large part of the classical guitar repertoire. He also regularly takes part in important international festivals (Vienna–Milan–Athens–Israel–Cyprus and Yerevan) by giving individual recitals or acting as soloist with symphonic orchestras and ensembles of chamber music. He has performed as a soloist with Athens State Orchestra–Thessalonica State Orchestra–Symphonic Orchestra of Greek Broadcasting Corporation (ERT)–The Camerata Orchestra of Athens–Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra–as well as with numerous ensembles of chamber music.

He has been regularly featured in well-known television and radio programs such as BBC–ORF–Radio France–ERT–RIK. One of these collaborations–in 1991–resulted in the recording and release of a CD of Loris Tjeknavorian’s Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra with the composer himself as the conductor in a production of the Austrian Television (ORF).

Most recently–in 2003–Kolanian’s recording of the Lute Suites of J.S.Bach was released on the Eros label to critical acclaim.

In addition to his career as a soloist and recording artist–Iakovos Kolanian has been the head of the Classical Guitar Department at the Contemporary Athens Conservatory since 1992–and is an honorary professor at the Armenian Academy in Yerevan.


Shoror: Armenian Folk Music for Guitar was produced by Kevork Imirzian and is on sale at e-tailers such as and Apple’s iTunes will also be carrying Shoror for digital download in 2005. Pomegranate Music Founder/CEO Raffi Meneshian recently commented–"Being able to present Armenian folk music though the medium of guitar is a unique project for any record label. To have one of Europe’s best classical guitarists be the proponent of this material is even more special. We are thrilled to be starting our North American tour in two of America’s most historic and important Armenian communities- Fresno–CA and San Francisco–CA.

In December of 2004–the influential All Music Guide critic Rick Anderson gave Shoror: Armenian Folk Music for Guitar a 4 star review–"?what Kolanian has created here is an admirably lyrical–complex–and insightful fusion of folk and classical music–the kind of thing that rarely works well at all. In this case it works beautifully–mainly because of the combination of Kolanian’s deep feeling for this music and his equally deep mastery of both his instrument and the principles of classical guitar style. Note in particular the delicately woven counterpoint he creates in his arrangement of ?Yaman Yar,’ and the gently dancing grace he brings to ?Zankezouri.’ Very highly recommended."


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.