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APRIL, 24 Dedicated to... Great KOMITAS


 This painting is dedicated to the memory of the great tragedy of Armenia and particularly dedicated to the renowned Armenian composer Komitas. Komitas, a.k.a. Soghomon Soghomonyan, was born on September 26, 1869 in Anatolia, Turkey, in the town of Koutina (Ketaia). His father, Gevorg Soghomonyan was a shoemaker but he also composed songs and had a beautiful voice. The composer’s mother – Tagui - was also singled out for her vivid musical abilities; she was a carpet weaver.

Komitas’s childhood was joyless and full of deprivations. He lost his mother when he was less than one year old, and because his father was too busy his grandmother took care of him. At age 7 Komitas entered the local elementary school. As soon as he finished school his father sent him to Broosa to continue his education. However, he failed and 4 months later he came home having ultimately become an orphan: his father passed away and Soghomon was only 11 years old… 
“He was a frail, weak, pale boy, always thoughtful and kind. He was dressed poorly, ” one of his classmates recalled about Komitas.
Soghomon was often seen sleeping on the cold stones of the laundry room.
He could sing perfectly, and no wonder in Koutina he was nicknamed “a little vagrant singer”.
For his delightful voice Soghomonyan was also indebted to an event that fundamentally changed the entire course of his life.
In 1881 the priest of Koutina, G. Dertsakyan, had to leave for Echmiadzin to be ordained a bishop. At the request of the Catholicos he brought the gifted orphan boy with him to study at the Echmiadzin Church Seminary. Twelve-year old Soghomon was selected out of the other 20 orphans to study at the Seminary. As it was forbidden to speak Armenian at that time the boy spoke Turkish and when being greeted by the Catholicos Gevorg IV, he replied, “I don’t speak Armenian, if you wish I will sing”. Then with his fine soprano voice he sang an Armenian sharakan (a church hymn) without understanding the words. Due to his exclusive aptitude Soghomon overcame all the obstacles in a very short time and perfectly learned Armenian.
In 1890 Soghomon was ordained a monk. 
In 1893 he finished studying at the seminary, then he was ordained a “Vardapet” (priest) and acquired his new name “Komitas” - the name of the outstanding poet of VII century, the author of sharakans. At the seminary Komitas was assigned to teach music.
Along with teaching, Komitas organized a choir, an orchestra of folk instruments, and treated folk songs; he made the first researches in the field of Armenian Church music.
In 1895 Komitas was ordained an archimandrite. In the autumn of the same year he left for Tiflis to study at the musical college. However, when he met the composer Makar Yekmalyan, who had received his education at the conservatory of Petersburg, he changed his mind and started studying a course on harmony by that composer. These studies became the original forerunner and the firm basis for gaining the European technique of composition.
The further events of Komitas’s life had to do with the large music center in Europe – Berlin, where he went to study under the protection of the Catholicos, being financed by the largest Armenian oil magnate Alexander Mantashyan.
Komitas entered the private conservatory of Professor Richard Schmidt. Within the conservatory Komitas took private classes on singing, elaborating his beautiful voice, fine baritone. Simultaneously with these classes, he also attended the lectures on Philosophy, Esthetics, General History and History of Music. During these academic years he had an opportunity to “communicate” with European music, continually enriching the supply of knowledge, and engaging in musical criticism. Upon the invitation of the International Music Association he held lectures devoted to the Armenian church and contemporary music in comparison with Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish music.
In September 1899 Komitas returned to Echmiadzin and started his musical activity right away. In a short period he radically changed the system of teaching music in the seminary, organized a small orchestra and perfected the performance level of the choir.
He visited various regions of Armenia treating and putting down thousands of Armenian, Kurdish, Persian and Turkish songs……

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Symbolical composition

  • Material: Oil on canvas
  • Price: 6000 $
  • Size: 90x80 cm.
  • Year: 2009

Poster / Art Print 10X15 cm.-15$
20X25cm.-35$ and bigger...
Stretched Canvas Print 30X40cm.-60$
50X60cm.-130$ and bigger...

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