March 16, 2001 Sahan Arzruni to Deliver Ninth Annual Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture-Recital

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Dr. Levon Avdoyan (202) 707-5680 e-mail:

In commemoration of the 1700th anniversary of Armenia's declaration of Christianity as its state religion, (the first country, according to the ancient Greek ecclesiastical tradition to have done so), Sahan Arzruni will deliver the ninth annual Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture, titled "The Sharakan: Crown Jewel of the Armenian Liturgy." Mr. Arzruni will conclude his discussion of these beautiful and haunting Armenian hymns with a brief recital. The event will take place on Monday, April 16, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

The lecture series is sponsored by the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division. It is named after the Armenian holiday that commemorates the battle of Avarayr (A.D. 451), which was waged by Armenian Gen. Vardan Mamikonian and his compatriots against Persian troops who had invaded to reimpose Zoroastrianism on the Christian state. As a religious holiday, it celebrates as well Armenia's millennia-long struggles against forces of assimilation.

Mr. Arzruni has achieved recognition as a recitalist and chamber music partner, as well as composer, teacher, ethnomusicologist, recording artist and broadcasting personality. He has toured in these capacities in South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. An artist of striking versatility, Mr. Arzruni has performed with Victor Borge, playing the role of straight man in Borge's hilarious musical programs. Borge has said of Mr. Arzruni: "Blessed with effervescent ambition and energy, his work and conduct bring honor to his native country, to our profession, and indeed, to _ahan Arzruni." Ned Rorem has said: "_ahan Arzruni is, from the standpoint of the living composer, one of our world's most important pianists."

A recipient of the Renaissance Medal, Mr. Arzruni is the author of scholarly books and a contributor of articles for academic journals; he has written for various editions of The New Grove Dictionary and the Dictionary of the Middle Ages.

Sahan Arzruni holds degrees from the Juilliard School and has pursued doctoral studies at New York University. He records for Composers Recordings Inc., Musical Heritage Society, Hearts of Space, Philips, Varèse/Sarabande, Good Music and Positively Armenian.


PR 01-042
ISSN 0731-3527