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Alexander Arutiunian

Background information
Birth name Alexander Grigori Harutyunyan
Ալեքսանդր Գրիգորի Հարությունյանը
Born September 23, 1920(1920-09-23)
Yerevan, Armenia
Genres Classical music
Occupations Composer, Pianist
Years active 1920s-

Alexander Grigorevich Arutiunian (Arm. Ալեքսանդր Գրիգորի Հարությունյանը), also known as Arutunian or Harutiunian (b. September 23, 1920, Yerevan, Armenia) is an Armenian composer and pianist, Professor of Yerevan State Conservatory, widely-known particularly for his Trumpet concerto described as flashy by the New York Times[1]. He was awarded by the State Prizes of USSR (1949) and Armenia (1970), People's Artist of the USSR (1970) and Armenian SSR (1964) honorary titles, "St Mesrop Mashtots" and "Khorenatsi" Armenian medals, "Alexandrov" Gold medal (1976), the Orpheus Award (Kentucky, USA)[2] and "St Sahak and St Mesrop" Order by Holy Etchmiadzin (2004).



At early ages Arutiunian had a meeting with the famous composer Alexander Spendiarian. He graduated from the Music Conservatory of Yerevan on the eve of World War II. After the war he moved to Moscow, where between 1946 and 1948 he studied composition with Genrikh Litinsky. After graduation he returned to Yerevan to teach at the local Conservatory and later he was appointed artistic director of the Armenian Philarmonic Orchestra.

In 1948 he was awarded the USSR State Prize for the Motherland cantata, a graduation piece he wrote as a student at the Moscow Conservatory. During the Moscow Music Congress Aram Khachaturian considered him as a promising Soviet composer.[3] He has continued to win acclaim at home and abroad for his works, many of which are quickened by the folk traditions of Armenian music. Other works of that kind include The tale of Armenian people (1960), Ode to Lenin (1967) and Hymn to the brotherhood (1970).

Some of Arutiunian's works for wind instruments, notably the 1950 concerto for trumpet, the concerto for tuba, and the brass quintet Armenian Scenes, have secured their place in the international repertory, having been performed by conductors such as Valeri Gergiev, who has recorded his Symphony for large orchestra, composed in 1957 with the Symphony orchestra of the Russian All-Union Radio. In 1988, he composed his Violin Concerto "Armenia-88".

Arutiunian has always composed national works though he has claimed not to have been in conflict with the communist party at any point before the 1954 reversal of their "antinational" policy.

Trumpet Concerto in A-flat major (1950)

Arutiunian's Trumpet Concerto consists of the following movements:

  1. Andante—Allegro energico
  2. Meno mosso
  3. Tempo I

The melodic and rhythmic characteristics of Armenian folk music are a strong influence in Arutiunian’s work. As a composer, he expresses his nationality by incorporating the flavor of ashughner (folk minstrel) improvisations. At the time the concerto was written, his compositional style was similar to Khachaturian's. However, in the 1960s he tended towards classical forms and clearer tonality.

Arutunian in 2008, Yerevan

Arutiunian’s trumpet concerto was his sixth major composition, written in 1950. Arutiunian originally intended to write it in 1943 for a student of Tabakov, Zsolak Vartasarian, who was the principal trumpet in the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. However, Vartasarian died in the war and the concerto was not completed until 1950, so "Aykaz Messlayan was the first performer of the Concerto and Timofei Dokschitzer was the first recording artist of this concerto."[4]

The concerto's introduction to the United States is solely due to Timofei Dokschitzer, a leading Soviet Russian trumpeter.

Main performers of Arutunian's compositions


Music for Films

  • Nahapet (1977) (as Life Triumphs in USA)
  • Za chas do rassveta (An Hour Before the Dawn, 1973, TV)
  • Sirtn e yergum (The Heart Sings, 1957)
  • Urvakannere heranum en lernerits (Ghosts Leave the Peaks, 1955)
  • Aleph, lectures contades (2000) Italian TV episode (soundtrack: "Concerto for trombone and orchestra")

As Actor

  • Lalvari vorskane (Lalvar Hunter, 1967) as Zako


External links

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