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Presented By: Center for Armenian Studies

CAS 2023 Annual Dr. Berj H. Haidostian Distinguished Lecture | Tradition and innovation in Armenian music: A Lecture/Performance with The Naghash Ensemble

The Naghash Ensemble

The Naghash Ensemble The Naghash Ensemble
The Naghash Ensemble
For the 2023 Dr. Berj H. Haidostian Annual Distinguished Lecture, the Center for Armenian Studies is collaborating with the Center for World Performance Studies to bring the fabulous and internationally renowned Naghash Ensemble to Michigan. The Naghash ensemble “combines the earthy spirituality of Armenian folk song, new classical music, and contemporary post-minimalism with the energy of rock and jazz. Three brilliant female vocalists and some of Armenia’s finest instrumentalists on duduk, oud, dhol, and piano play captivating new music based on sacred texts by the medieval Armenian mystic poet and priest, Mkrtich Naghash.” The idea for The Naghash Ensemble when composer and pianist John Hodian heard Hasmik Baghdasaryan singing medieval Armenian spiritual music in an ancient pagan temple outside of Yerevan, Armenia. The unique acoustics of the ancient structure added to the magic of her voice, John Hodian writes, haunting him for days. Determined to capture the moment and extend the magic beyond that performance, Hodian with a sound in mind searched for many years to find the text that would be the foundation of a new musical journey. Comping through the libraries of Yerevan, New York, and Berlin, Hodian came across the work of the medieval Armenian poet Mkrtich Naghash. “The words leaped off the page and into my soul” Hodian writes. This was exactly the text that he was searching for. Hodian began setting the poem of Mkrtich Naghash to music and eventually found the right group of talented musicians to perform what he had envisioned the day he heard Baghdasaryan’s voice floating through the ancient space enchanting the present.

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