A composition for wind ensemble exploring a wide array of Armenian musical traditions

The piece will be grade 5 or 6: there won't be too many extremes in register, but there will be complex rhythms, non-Western pitch sets, and styles of playing that will be unfamiliar to many performers

The consortium buy-in is $200.

Consortium members will receive:

-A PDF copy of the score and parts
-Name and institution listed in the inside cover

-Exclusive performance rights through December 2023

Consortium Membership

To my knowledge, this will be the first band piece depicting Armenian music that is not an arrangement of folk songs (and one of only a few band pieces that has been written by somebody with Armenian ancestry).

For most people, "Armenia" + "band music" likely evokes Alfred Reed. While Reed did consult Harry Begian during the creation of "Armenian Dances" (and while many people love the composition), he did not do a very effective job of actually representing what Armenian music sounds like. Reed used Armenian melodies (arrangements of Armenian folk songs by Komitas Vardapet) but he avoided songs that sounded too blatantly "Middle Eastern", and he gave the melodies European tonal settings. Many of these songs were stripped of their original mood, context, tempo, phrase length, tonal center, and/or harmonic language.

While Komitas is venerated by Armenians, his catalog of folk song transcriptions and arrangements is only one small portion of Armenia's musical tradition. "Ararat" will reflect the vastness and constant evolution of Armenian music and culture: while it will have music that is based on makams, evokes traditional folk songs, uses traditional ornaments and rhythmic patterns, and imitates the timbre and playing style of Armenian instruments, it will also incorporate Armenian pop music, kef music, and rhythmic concepts influenced by Armenian jazz musician Tigran Hamasyan.

Music and culture are complex entities that are constantly changing, and there is no individual composition that can come close to adequately representing an entire culture or ethinicity (as a member of the diaspora who is only half-Armenian, has blond hair, a non-Armenian last name, and the Armenian language skills of a toddler, I would certainly not be the best person to serve as a token
Armenian anyway). That said, I expect this piece to convey many of the things that make Armenian music special with a degree of scope, rigor, and subtlety that has yet to be done in the wind band medium.

My hope is that (like Mount Ararat) though this piece might currently exist outside of the boundaries of the country of Armenia, it will still be instantly identifiable to Armenians as something that is our own: full of passion, playfulness, deep soulful mournfulness, and intensely energetic resilient joy.

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