AGBU NYSEC’s "Debut Concert" at Carnegie Hall Sells Out, Raises $50,000 for Scholarships

NYSEC_Debut_Concert_01 (Small) On Saturday, September 20, 2008, “A Debut Concert” attracted an audience
of 300 and raised over $50,000 for AGBU Performing Arts scholarships.
Organized by the AGBU New York Special Events Committee (NYSEC), the
concert at Weill Recital Hall of New York’s Carnegie Hall showcased the
talent of 16 young artists who have benefited from AGBU’s performing
arts scholarships.
The evening was a celebration of music, both Armenian and Western. The
program included a world premiere of Tigran Martikyan’s “The Dance of
Spring” and the U.S. premiere of Kevork Andonian’s “Rhapsody for String
Quartet.”
Pre-event efforts raised over $50,000 from AGBU donors, whose support
will ensure that the scholarship endowment for performing artists
continues to grow and support artistic excellence. The evening’s
performing artists included seven pianists: Hayk Arsenyan (NY), Dr.
Sarkis Baltaian (LA), Tigran Martikyan (NY), Sofya Melikyan (NY), Mariam
Nazarian (Boston), Vardan Ovsepian (Boston) and Karine Poghosyan (NY);
two violinists: Aroussiak Baltaian (LA) and Cecee Pantikian (NY); four
cellists: Ani Kalayjian, Lilit Kurdiyan, Hrant Parsamian and Kevork
Parsamian (all of NY); a singer: mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian (NY); a
French horn player: Raffi Dimoian (NY); and three composers: Kevork
Andonian (LA), Tigran Martikyan (NY) and Vardan Ovsepian (Boston).
The program was under the artistic direction of two of the performers,
Solange Merdinian and Ani Kalayjian, who dedicated countless hours to
the evening’s success. The event was organized by the AGBU NYSEC
committee, which includes Anita Anserian, Carol Aslanian, Betty
Cherkezian, Nila Festekjian, Maral Hajjar, Hilda Hartounian, Maral
Jebejian, Gacia Mangassarian, Vesna Markarian, Sossy Setrakian and Vera
Setrakian, with invaluable support from Hripsime Roupen, Administrator
of the AGBU Scholarship Program.
NYSEC committee member and AGBU Central Board Member Carol Aslanian
noted the importance of the concert in raising awareness about AGBU’s
Scholarship Program. “The professionalism of our students was
remarkable. Everyone was impressed with the quality of the performances
and the program of music. Given my longtime involvement with AGBU’s
Scholarship Program, I was so pleased to see the Armenian-American
public recognize the importance of our commitment to these students, who
are representative of the best world-class young musicians.”
In addition to its mission to raise awareness among the public, the
event also offered a rare opportunity for performers to reconnect with
their cultural roots and meet fellow musicians. “I was thrilled to
rehearse and play with all these other young performers; everyone was so
kind and open,” says violist Aleksander Nazaryan, who originally hails
from Armenia. “It was a rare occasion where I could really enjoy being
Armenian and performing in a foreign land. I appreciate AGBU’s
organization of this event, which brought us all together. Hopefully we
can have more events in the future where we can celebrate being Armenian
through music.”
Another musician, Sarkis Baltaian, who is originally from Bulgaria but
currently lives and works in Alabama, shared the sentiment: “I enjoyed
being part of the great musical celebration AGBU organized. It was a
real pleasure collaborating with all AGBU artists who were superb!”
For many decades, AGBU grants have been awarded to hundreds of talented
and qualified students of Armenian descent, who are studying in the
performing arts and have demonstrated excellence in their chosen fields.
These awards enable recipients to achieve their potential, laying the
foundation for their future, as they celebrate their heritage and
identity. Past recipients have studied at distinguished conservatories
and universities worldwide, such as The Juilliard School, Manhattan
School of Music, Komitas State Conservatory, Yale University, Mannes
College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the Vienna
Conservatory.

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