NATIONAL CHAMBER ORCHESTRA OF ARMENIA
The National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia was founded in 1962 by prominent violinist Zareh Sahakiants. Due to his brilliant individuality and reputation, Zareh Sahakiants managed to unite a group of dedicated musicians, and in a short period, the orchestra gained a great reputation in Armenia and far beyond its borders. Zareh Sahakyants has left rich performing and creative traditions, and the established traditions were further developed and enriched by the subsequent directors of the orchestra Kostandin Baghdasaryan (since 1975) and Ruben Aharonyan (since 1982).
In 1997 the orchestra was united with Yerevan Chamber Orchestra, founded in 1979 and headed by its conductor Zaven Vardanyan. As a result, the present National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia (NCOA) was formed. American-Armenian conductor Aram Gharabekian became its Artistic Director. The NCOA has commissioned and premiered more than 40 new works and encouraged the integration of traditional Armenian musical instruments such as duduk, zurna, shvi and kamancha in the works written for the orchestra. They have recorded CDs that included contemporary Armenian composers' works having an aim to develop and promote contemporary music.
The NCOA has successfully toured in the United States (Carnegie Hall, NY, Alex Theatre, LA), Canada, United Kingdom (Canterbury Festival, Canterbury), Germany (The Halle Festival, Halle), Switzerland (Victoria Hall, Genève), Greece (Dimitria Festival, Thessaloniki Concert Hall), Russia (Catherine Palace, Glazunov Hall, St Petersburg), Cyprus (Presidential Palace, Nicosia), Lebanon (American University of Beirut), United Arab Emirates (Cultural Foundation Theatre, Abu Dhabi), etc.
In 2011 Vahan Mardirossian was appointed the Artistic Director & Principal Conductor of NCOA. Maestro Vahan Mardirossian initiated the ''Road to Talents'' project, thanks to which the musicians have a chance to perform with NCOA and gain some experience.
In 2013, on the occasion of Aram Khachaturian's 110th-anniversary celebration, the National Chamber Orchestra has participated in several international festivals held in France, Switzerland and the USA. In 2014, getting another invitation, the orchestra has performed in several cities of France and Switzerland /Festival Puplinge 5th Anniversary Concert, Victoria Hall, Geneva/ receiving the highest appreciation of the audience. In 2015 on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and in 2016/17 the orchestra had many concerts at Cordes et Pics, Puplinge Classique, Festival des Nuits Pianistiques international festivals.
The orchestra has performances with many internationally renowned soloists and conductors as R. Galliano /accordion, France/, J-M. Phillips-Varjabedian /violin, France/, F. Mondelchi /saxophone, Italy/, G. Campaner /piano, Italy/, T. Pfaff /piano, France/, F.-X. Poizat /piano, Swiss/, D. de Williencourt /cello, France/, Nikolay Madoyan /violin, Armenia/, Levon Chilingirian /conductor and violin, UK/, G. Bortolato / oboe, Italy/, G. De Lorenzo /conductor, Italy/, D. Waldman /conductor, France/, M. Gardolińska /conductor, Poland/, Fedor Rudin /violin Russia/, Alain Pâris /conductor, France/, G.T. Valli /clarinet, Uruguay/, etc.
Aside from international touring the NCOA performed more than 40 concerts per year at its home in Komitas Chamber Music Hall in Yerevan. The NCOA is regularly featured on Armenian Radio and TV programs and gets presidential invitations to appear in special performances for the distinguished state leaders visiting Armenia.
One of the distinguished projects was organized on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of two great Armenian artists — composer Komitas Vardapet and poet Hovhannes Tumanian, when the National Chamber Orchestra had an Open Air Concert at Temple of Garni (listed in UNESCO), one of the oldest historic landmarks in Armenia from the 1st Century AD, provided a unique setting for the live recording and filming of the concert.
Artistic Director and Principal Conductor
Graduated from Paris Conservatory in 1996, Vahan Mardirossian is currently the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia (NCOA).
As a regular guest conductor, Vahan Mardirossian appears with many orchestras, such as the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Tokyo, the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Japan Philharmonic, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Real Orquestra Sinfonica de Sevilla, the National Orchestra of the Pays de Loire, the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the “Amalgames” orchestra, the Czech Chamber Soloists, the Lebanese Philharmonic, the orchestra of Cannes, the Opera Orchestra of Toulon, the Chamber Orchestra of Novosibirsk, etc.
Vahan Mardirossian had the privilege of conducting the performances of many internationally renowned soloists such as I. Gitlis, A. Markov, V. Sverdlov-Ashkenazy, D. Poppen, S. Roussev, B. Engerer, X. Phillips, L. Vogt, K-W. Paik, R. Galiano, V. Postnikova, D. Kashimoto, S. Nakaryakov, G. Hofmann, A. Chaushian, R. Pidoux, A. Soumm, A. Ghindin, I. Tchetuev, P. Leschenko, A. Wass, J. Rouvier, J-M. Phillips-Varjabedian, Trio Wanderer, F. Mondelchi, J-C. Pennetier, M. Coppey, R. Arodacky, N. Dautricourt, S. Bechy, G. Touvron, S. M. Degand, E. Rozanova, R. Daugareil, A. Cazalet, etc.
As a conductor, Vahan Mardirossian recorded the violin concerto by Tchaikovsky (Stéphanie-Marie Degand, Caen Orchestra) and the Symphony n°1 for strings by Florentine Mulsant (NCOA), released in 2012 – 2013.
According to the Le Monde newspaper, Mardirossian is a “phenomenal pianist”, as he often leads the orchestra simultaneously playing the piano and conducting the performance in harmony.
As a pianist, he also plays under the direction of such conductors as Kurt Mazur, Paavo Jarvi, Yutaka Sado, John Axelrod, Yuri Ahronovith, etc.