Some people say that music makes the world go round; they say that music is to the soul what words are to the mind… A vibrant energy filled the air of the backstage at the AGBU Hall. Friendly atmosphere, amicable conversations…

Let me see... Much better now!

Narine and Ani were talking vivaciously, inspiring one another, and helping another participant to tidy up stage costumes: “Everything is just marvellous”.

Gala Concert: AGBU’s 6th Musical Armenia Program season with 17 participants from 7 countries. They received 3 weeks of intensive professional musical education, taught and inspired by the best professors and prominent musicians of the Yerevan State Conservatory.

“We enjoyed the lessons, soaking up the nuances of Armenian music. We began from the very origins: from the ancient notation system to folk, classical, dance, then Komitas, Khachatryan. We explored and discovered a new thing every day, we enriched our knowledge, we got inspired by the unique flavour of Armenian music,”- Narine Siserian was telling her friends, adding that she has an aspiration to continue her musical education in Canada. AGBU Musical Armenia program attracted her with its slogan “Get inspired. Make it your own!”. It gave her another important thing, self-confidence and a step forward in the sphere of music.

“I compose music. Before coming here, those notes were only whistling in my head and getting lost there forever, not being able to find a path out. I could not catch them and put them down on paper; I did not dare. With the invaluable help of my lecturers, during these 3 fruitful weeks I was able to write two classical works: “A Dreamer” and “Moonlight Reflection”.

Her friend from Damascus, Ani Aprahamian interrupted the conversation to remind us that Narine’s turn was approaching. She was to premiere “A dreamer” for the first time; this was the realization of her dream under AGBU’s roof.

Meanwhile, the flute player Ani continued her activity as a guide. "The blonde boy is from Colorado, he is not Armenian, but he speaks Armenian unbelievably well. Steven Thompson has been based in Armenia for 15 months as a volunteer for the US Peace Corps. He came across the AGBU Musical Armenia program on the internet. He studies classical vocals voice and song”.

"During these three weeks my professor was Anna Mayilyan. It was a very valuable experience for me. I have studied musicology in the USA. I learned about Komitas and was charmed by Armenian music: Narekatsi, Sharakans ... and here I am. God knows, maybe I will stay here forever!"

Steven is not the only non-Armenian. A woman in a red priest’s garment and with silver gray hair slipped into the backstage, hugging a Tar-resembling musical instrument, and sat in a corner. The 58-year-old Swamini Saraswati is an Indian-Argentinean nun.

“It’s called Rebab, it’s a mystical spiritual music instrument," - said the woman amicably and, as if foreseeing the pending questions, she continued: " I met Levon a few years ago, at a concert in Argentina. He told me about this project. I decided I should also participate, because I admire Komitas. His spiritual music is unique in the world. I am a music teacher, but here I was a student (smiling). I will take so much with me, and it’s not just knowledge."

Levon Eskenian is the coordinator of the AGBU Musical Armenia program. He is as attentive, caring and patient with everyone, as he was six years ago at the program’s launch. This is an AGBU program and, like all its other programs, tremendous work is being done. From year to year the interest in Musical Armenia is growing. It is the only program that offers intensive and professional education to musicians of all ages and nationalities in Armenia.

"They will definitely come back," – stated Inessa Margaryan, AGBU Special Programs Coordinator. "The reason why we try to build connections through culture is that it's one of the most palpable ways of a nation’s self-expression. We engage people trough, and they come and learn about Armenia and Armenians with pleasure. All participants become the bearers and ambassadors of the Armenian cultural heritage. "

The participants are enthusiastically performing one after the other on stage; the hall is full with their lecturers, friends and relatives. Most of them may perform on renowned stages, face crowded halls and standing ovations in the future, but this moment and the "Bravo"s at Musical Armenia will remain a precious moment and have a place in their hearts forever.



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