Armenian music has gone a long way from musical folklore to the different genres of contemporary music. We can find the first steps of Ancient Armenian music in the Armenian theatres. Actor groups with many musical instruments, with dances and songs were participating in many feasts.
In the 4th century after adoption of Christianity Armenian sacred music became very popular. At the earlier Middle Ages Armenian folklore music was also very popular. The songs were describing the life of common people, their customs and life style. The medieval folk singers were called ashugs and gusans. The most famous of them was Sayat-Nova who lived and created in 18th century.
In the 12th century Armenians were using khazes (musical signs). Our contemporary Karo Chalikyan deciphered khazes, which helped us to listen again to the medieval Armenian famous music mainly the songs of Grigor Narekatsi, who was the greatest Armenian musician and writer of the Middle Ages.
In the 19th century the most famous Armenian ashug was Jivan. He wrote more than 800 songs, 550 of which were printed. His songs were the mirror of the Armenian society of his time and chronicler of the difficulties of peasant life. The founder of Armenian opera music was Tigran Chukajyan with his “Arshak The Second” opera. The main place in Armenian folk music of the 19th century belongs to Komitas. He gathered more than 3,000 folk songs and purged them from foreign elements.
The founder of the Armenian symphonic music was Alexander Spendiaryan (1871-1928), whose work was continued by Aram Khachaturyan.
Aram Khachaturyan was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. His music has imbibed the tremendous resources of ethnic Armenian music translating them into far-reaching musical pieces which have had powerful effects on foreign nations. Khachaturyan’s world-famous ballets are “Spartacus” and “Gayane”. His creations became the symbols of high art and significant contributions to the world of music. His contemporaries Arno Babajanyan, Edward Mirzoyan, Edgar Hovanisyan were also very popular in the 20th century. During the Soviet period Armenian Republic’s music life had a light up. The best orchestras were the State Choir of Armenia, the Komitas Quartet, the “Tagharan” ancient music orchestra, the Armenian Folk Song and Dance Ensemble.
Our famous compatriots have done great work for our music life. Even in the hardest winter months of 1991-1993 Loris Tchgnavoryan continued his working with the symphony orchestra of the National Philarmonium. Ohan Duryan is one of our famous conductors and great patriots.
Modern Armenian music is very different. Many popular and famous young singers participate in musical contests and win a lot of prizes. One of the modern and well-known composers is Aram Terteryan. The greatest representative of Armenian folk music is Jivan Gasparyan. His uncommon music is very popular not only in our republic but in foreign countries, too.
Jazz music has been around in Armenia recent years, which promoted the formation of many jazz bands, so you can enjoy their music during the tours. LEVON TRAVEL is also organizing choral music performances out in sightseeing destinations. A small choir is performing medieval sacred music or folk songs.