3rd Moncton Armenian Festival: an edition devoted to the great artist Komitas


The Moncton Armenian Festival will hold its third edition, from the 26th to the 29th of November 2009. On the menu: exhibitions, films, concerts, music, dance, storytelling, workshops, multiple ways to discover this nation with its rich and eventful past.

For this edition, the festival will pay tribute to the great composer and poet, Komitas, who would have celebrated his 140th birthday this year. In addition to having had a significant impact on the Armenian musical art, he was also a prolific ethnographer, folklorist and musicologist.

The festival will be highlighted by an opening-show, starting at 6 pm, on Thursday, November 26, at the Galerie d’art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen of the Université de Moncton. Two exhibitions are on display: a photo exhibition dedicated to Komitas, sent by the Armenian Music Scientific Library and an exhibition of 14 paintings titled Komitas –Homage to a legend made by the great English painter of Armenian descent, Edman O’Aivazian. The works will be unveiled to the music of Komitas performed by Hampic Djabourian (duduk), Dariush Zarbafian (santur). Maral Perk, from Halifax, will sing accompanied by dance performances by Lee Saunders and Sylvia Kasparian. The evening will resume with the showing of Komitas, a film by Don Askarian: a hauntingly poetic fiction dedicated to the composer.

On Friday, November 27, at 8 pm at the Capitol Theater, a colourful evening will feature Canadian soprano of international renown, Isabel Bayrakdarian. She will be accompanied by the Amici Chamber Ensemble of Toronto and the pianist Serouj Kradjian. Ms. Bayrakdian, of Armenian origin, played on the biggest stages in the world: the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, La Scala, Opéra National de Paris, just to name a few. This concert will be a unique opportunity to see and hear this wonderful soprano who will be on her first visit to Moncton. In addition, two masters of Russian ballet, Ilshat Farjutdinov and Elena Kinozerova, will perform five dances by Komitas played on the piano by Serouj Keradjian. The first part of the evening will feature a variety of specialists who will present the life and work of Komitas. These presentations will be interspersed with traditional dances and music: three solo folk dancers of the troop Garni, from Montreal, and Dariush Zarbafian, an Iranian musician. Tickets are available at the box office at the Capitol Theater.

On November 28, at 8 pm, there will be a concert of liturgical songs composed by Komitas, given by the Arahet Quartet from Montreal with special guests: the soprano Lisa Roy, the Chœur Beauséjour and Hampic Djabourian (duduk). The event will be held at the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church on Park Street in Moncton. Tickets will be on sale at the door at the prices of $8 for students and 18 $ for adults.

In addition to the opening film, the festival will also present two other films: Vodka Lemon by Hiner Saleem, on November 28 and Army of Crime by Robert Guédiguian, on November 29. Both projections are presented at 2 pm in the Jacqueline Bouchard Building on the campus of the Université de Moncton. Admission is free.

A Master class titled “Introducing Gomidas songs” will be given by a voice professor, Hasmig Inkijikian, who is also an ethnomusicologist and the coordinator of the Voice department at the Conservatory of Music of McGill University. This will take place in the Faculty of Arts at the Local 001B in the Music department of the Université de Moncton, at 2:30 PM.

In addition to these artistic events, the festival is also an opportunity to learn about the history of the Armenian people. The exhibition “Regards sur l’art et la musique arménienne : Hommage au compositeur Komitas/Gomidas ” will be on display at the Bibliothèque Champlain of the Université de Moncton from November 21st to December 1st.

And there will be a presentation of a conference titled “Un crime indicible : le récit du génocide arménien et la presse francophone (1915-1920)” as part of the Midis politiques of the department of Political Sciences at the Université de Moncton on November 18 at 12 pm in room 206 of the Faculté des Arts. This activity, co-organized with the Department of Political Sciences of the Université de Moncton, will be presented in French.

The Maritimes Armenian Association regroups more than 200 families across New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.