The Cal State LA Classical Guitar Ensemble is traveling to Armenia this month, performing across the country leading up to a culminating performance for 2023 United Nations World Refugee Day on June 20.
The ensemble is part of the Department of Music in Cal State LA’s College of Arts and Letters and led by faculty director Satik Andriassian. It provides students whose primary instrument is the classical guitar with opportunities to develop and amplify their talents through on- and off-campus practice and performances.
The six-student-member ensemble began a two-week musical journey June 12, and will perform concerts in music halls in cities and villages in Armenia including, Yerevan, Gyumri and Oshakan. The ensemble will also visit several villages with a representative from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to present music classes and hands-on activities for local children. The collaboration is part of World Refugee Day.
World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honor refugees around the world, celebrating the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.
“My goal for this trip is twofold,” said Andriassian, a classical guitar instructor in the Department of Music who directs the ensemble. “I hope that my students will learn that each and every one of us is equipped to make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others in an effective and meaningful way. I am also hoping that the students will learn that the best platform for learning about others and their cultures is through traveling, sharing ideas and interacting with each other, which will lead to building an understanding, respect and tolerance for each other.”
The Classical Guitar Ensemble performs a wide range of music from Baroque to contemporary repertoire, as well as music from Latin America. For their performances in Armenia, the student musicians will also be joined by John M. Kennedy, professor of music composition in the Department of Music. Kennedy will conduct the ensemble in the premiere performance of one of his new compositions. Guest artist and concert soloist Kate Steinbeck will also join the ensemble in Armenia, performing as a soloist in compositions by Philip Glass and Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Learn more about the Cal State LA Classical Guitar Ensemble.