YEREVAN STATE CHAMBER CHOIR
The creative activity of maestro Harutyun Topikyan, since the creation of the Chamber Choir of the State Television and Radio of Armenia in 1979, is mostly devoted to the performance of Armenian choral music from Komitas to contemporary Armenian composers.
Having been founded in 1996 by Harutyun Topikyan, Yerevan Chamber Choir became one of the well-known musical collectives and since 2009 was recognized as a State collective (YSCC).
The first tour of the Yerevan Chamber Choir starts at the International Music Festival in Ravenna, Italy (1997). Within the framework of Armenian Culture Days in Germany, the Choir performed the newly discovered Mass by Komitas and new pieces by T. Mansurian in Bonn, Halle, Wittenberg and Magdeburg then in Syria and Lebanon (1998). At the International Music Festival in Bergen (1999, Norway) world-famous musicians – violist Kim Kashkashian and saxophonist Jan Garbarek performed music together with the Choir. Then the collective took part in the 30th Music Festival in Halle (2000, Germany), and the same year at the 3rd Annual Armenian Music Awards in Glendale (USA) the CD “Music by KOMITAS Vardapet” was granted the Best Traditional Album award.
Dedicated to the celebration of 1700 years of Christianity in Armenia the Choir had joint performances with the La Scala Theatre Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir led by Riccardo Muti (2001).
Successful concerts were held in Armenia and Germany together with the collective of “Frankfurter Kantorei” led by Winfried Toll (2000 – 2002). At the festival “The Palaces of St. Petersburg” (2003) the Choir had the honor to perform the new hymn of the city. Then there were participations at the International festivals of Benjamin Britten (2003, Armenia), at the “Hallische Musiktage” (2005, Halle, Germany) and at the “Festival d'Ile de France” (2006, Etampes, France). By the invitation of the Syrian Arab Republic, Armenian music was performed by the Choir on the stages of Aleppo, Lathakia and Damascus (2007). The famed Choir took part in the TV-marathon Yerevan – Moscow – Shushi –Bethlehem (2008).
Dedicated to the 140th birth anniversary of Komitas, the Choir performed almost all choral masterpieces by the Great Master in the capital and regions of Armenia (2009). At the “50th Musica Sacra Virgo Lauretana” festival (2010, Loreto, Italy), the YSCC had the honor to perform the heritage of Komitas, which was broadcasted live on TV in more than 50 countries. For the first time ever only by this collective were performed the Blessings “Berlin Liturgy” by Komitas (2012), the 1st polyphonic liturgy by Kara Murza (2013) and the “Liturgy of Mchitariants” (2014).
Within the frames of the project “Luys I Luso” dedicated to the 100th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire, in tandem with the outstanding pianist Tigran Hamasyan the YSCC recorded an album of sacred religious music – Sharakan by Mesrop Mashtots, Grigor Narekatsi and Anania Shirakatsi arranged by the pianist himself for piano and choir (2014, ECM Records). T. Hamasyan and the Choir had a long-term tour across Europe and in the cities of Turkey and Georgia (2015). The same year the Choir was invited to The Moscow Easter Festival for the 5th time founded by Valery Gergiev (2004 – 2015).
In 2016 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Choir many congratulations from famous world festivals were received, as well as state awards were granted in recognition of the Choir’s efforts and contribution of many years to the world choral music culture. Within the frames of the “Armenian Contemporary Music Festival” the Choir performed numerous pieces by Armenian contemporary composers for the first time. In autumn of the same year, within the frames of the “Sharakan” festival, the Choir had a chance to perform works, dedicated to the promotion of Armenian sacred music.
In collaboration with Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra and with three prominent Russian choirs the YSCC participated in the opening ceremony of the first Armenian-Russian choral congress (2017). The same year within the frames of the Art Stop program of the National Chamber Music Center the YSCC had concerts in Stepanakert and Kajaran.
To date, 15 CDs have been recorded by the YSCC.
Along with numerous concerts, recordings and tours in 2017 the YSCC under the direction of maestro Topikyan, was working hard on recording the album of choral pieces by Willy Weiner. The premiere of the new program “Willy Weiner and Friends” was held in February 2018.
Professional activity of Topikyan-conductor started in 1973 when he graduated from the Yerevan State Komitas Conservatoire. Since then Harutiune Topikyan has successfully guided several choirs: organized and led the Chamber Choir of the State Radio and TV of Armenia, “Komitas" choir of the Yerevan State University, Yerevan Chamber choir. Topikyan was awarded Laureate of the “Lenin YCU of Armenia” premium (1982).
The choirs, conducted by Harutyun Topikyan, participated in many international festivals and competitions. In 1987 the "Komitas" choir of the Yerevan State University was awarded the "Grand Prix" at the “Juventus” International choir music competition in Kaunas (Lithuania).
In 1991 Harutyun Topikyan became one of the organizers of the East-West United Song Festival "Bridges of song Tallinn-91" (Estonia), where he was honored to conduct 20.000 strong choirs. The same year he was invited to the annual convention of the American Musical Association in Phoenix, Arizona.
The 3rd Annual Armenian Music Awards held on November 17, 2000, in Glendale, California conferred the BEST TRADITIONAL ALBUM award to: “The Music of KOMITAS Vardapet” CD, recorded by Yerevan Chamber Choir. Many records of choirs conducted by Topikyan are archived in funds of Armenian State Radio Company.
Starting 1996 up to 2004 the YSCC was supported by Catholicoses of all Armenians, His Holiness Garegin I and His Holiness Garegin II.
During these years 9 CD’s were recorded by the choir, including masterpieces of classical and contemporary Armenian music.
In July 1997 the Yerevan Chamber Choir participated in the International Music Festival in Ravenna, Italy, where performed Armenian classical and modern music.
Artistic Director and Choirmaster
She was born in 1974 in the family of musicians, in Yerevan. From the age of 3 she played the piano, then from the age of 6 she attended the school after Sayat-Nova.
In 1993 she graduated from R. Melikyan Music College and entered the Conservatory as a conductor (Professor H. Mirzoyan's class). At the same time, she worked in the choir of the opera studio. In 1996, H. Topikyan founded the Yerevan State Chamber Choir, where she has been working since the day of its foundation. She is the author of adaptations and translations of many classical works for the choir. She has appeared in many projects.
William Weiner – Honored Art Worker of the Republic of Armenia (2008), a member of the Israeli Composers League (2013), president of the Jewish Cultural Center “Menora” in Armenia (1994), Principal Director of Yerevan State Chamber Choir (2018).
Maestro Weiner was born originally in a Jewish family in Yerevan on November 25 in 1955. He has become a famous composer and a brilliant instrumentalist, whose background is the secondary school for gifted children after Tchaikovsky and Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, which he graduated with honors, having attended violin classes led by Professor Jean Ter-Mergeryan (1974-1979). He has an impressive 45 years background of the violinist, singer and composer; he has passed an impressive career route from a virtuoso instrumentalist to a world-known composer.
The creativity of maestro Weiner is original and unique in its own way. He is the author of numerous symphonic, jazz, chamber-instrumental, piano and choral works. Willy Weiner is one of the vivid representatives of Jewish classic musical culture introducing a substantial contribution to its development and expansion. Weiner’s music is performed by numerous artists all over the world, including Armenia, Israel, Russia, Georgia, USA and Germany and many others.
Willy Weiner’s social activities deserve special attention. He has been one of the leaders of the Jewish movement since the 1970s. He was behind the creation of organized Jewish Community in Armenia. In the darkest years of the independent Armenian state (1992-1995) he was the Head of the Community. In 1994, Willy Weiner founded the Jewish Cultural Centre “Menora” which resulted in organization of many festivals, concerts and cultural events initiated and coordinated by him.
Upon the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the creative activity, Willy Weiner was awarded the Gold Medal of the Ministry of Culture of Armenia for his significant contribution to the country's culture and for his remarkable achievements in the promotion of tolerance through universal values (2015).