It was a great honor and privilege studying and being a graduate of Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory. The six years of my stay in the land of the Noah’s Ark (2001 – 2007) nourished me with the utmost norms and parameters of the very best understanding of Art, Music and measures of Humanity. Moreover, being in the Composition Class of Professor Ashautte Zohrabyan, one of the leading composers in the Republic of Armenia, Europe and USA, as well as in the class of the Symphonic and Opera Conducting of Maestro Aram Gharabekyan was the discovering of the veiled pathways towards the indescribable perfections.
The Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory (YSC) was founded in 1921 as a Music Studio, and re-founded two years later already as a higher musical education institution. The necessity of such an educational institution arose much earlier, but the absence of the state authority has hindered from its creation. It has become possible to create a higher musical education institution in Armenia only after getting the independence. At that time, all the necessary prerequisites for that already existed. Firstly, it was the existence of reach and many-genre folk and folk-professional art. Secondary, it was the national professional composition art, which has been shaped in mid XIX century, being represented by such prominent Armenian artists as Komitas, T.Chukhadjyan, Ch.Kara-Murza, M.Yekmalyan, A.Tigranyan, A.Spendiarov and others. Though they were active mostly out of Armenia (in Constantinopole, Tbilisi, Moscow, St.Petersburg), their creation has promoted the appearance of the first Armenian National Opera (“Arshak II” – T.Chukhadjyan, 1868), operetta, liturgy, classical ensembles, romances, etc. At the beginning of the XX century, the Armenian professional performing culture was shaped. It was represented by the graduates of Russian and European conservatories: violinist H.Nalbandyan, (Petersburg Conservatory and Berliner Musikhochschule), singer M.Akimova (Leipzig Conservatory), musicologist M.Aghayan (Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories), singer A.Shahmuradyan (Conservatoire de Paris), etc. The widely educated musician, composer and choir conductor, Moscow Conservatory graduate Romanos Melikyan has become the founder and leader of the first Armenian Conservatory. His merit is not only the organization of the Conservatory, but also the ability to orientate the teaching staff to the preparation of high-level musicians. The highly professional musicians, who have graduated from the best conservatories of Russia and Europe, have been included already in the very first teaching staff of the Conservatory. For the preparation of Armenian musicians, they have used the most contemporary and “avant-garde” methods of teaching. Here are some names of the YSC founders: pianists A.Mnatsakanyan, I.Madatyan, Ye.Khankalamyan, Ye.Khosrovyan, violinists A.Gabrielyan, D.Soghomonyan, G.Mirza-Avagyan, as well as A.Kotlyarevsky and A.Ayvazyan (viola, cello, and chamber ensemble), W.Sperling (wind instruments and orchestra) and others. The next YSC rectors have followed Romanos Melikyan’s tradition. A lot of outstanding personalities were among them: musicologist A.Adamyan, composers A.Ter-Ghevondyan, S.Melikyan and D.Samvelyan, musicologist S.Gasparyan, conductor C.Saradjev, composer G.Yeghiazaryan. More than 25 years, from 1960 to 1986, composer and pedagogue L.Saryan has managed the Conservatory. His colleagues E.Hovhannisyan, T.Mansuryan and A.Smbatyan have followed him. In 2002, pianist Prof. Sergey G. Saradjyan was selected for the post of YSC rector. The teaching staff of the Conservatory consists today of 150 professors (many of them are Doctors of Art); docents, lecturers, assistant lecturers (a number of them are International Competitions laureate). A lot of the present Conservatory students are also International prizewinners. The Yerevan State Conservatory is situated in the downtown of Yerevan – the capital of Armenia, near the National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Big Philharmonic Hall. It is a four-floor building that occupies a long alley between Moscow and Bayron streets, having 450 different premises. These are lecture-and classrooms, including 2 special organ studios and 12 piano classes with two grand pianos, library and reading-hall, sound recording studio and medical office, student council and musical instruments workshop, music store, buffet, etc. The Student Council is the student self-government body of the YSC. It is formed of students of different study years, faculties and departments who were chosen at faculty student meetings. The Student Council has a chairman chosen by the Council members. The Student Council is aimed to defend students’ interests, help them to solve their social and life problems and organize their free time. The Council also takes care of the pecuniary aid to indigent students, full or partial removal of their study fee, providing nominal scholarships, etc. Considering the importance of this student self-government body, with the aim of encouraging and supporting the activity of the Student Council, its chairman, according to the YSC Regulations, is co-opted to the YSC Rectorate. The students also delegate 25% of the Student Council staff to the Big Council of the YSC. The YSC has a permanent student symphony orchestra, chamber and folk instruments orchestras, folklore choir and different chamber ensembles – trio, quartets, wind sextet, etc. The Opera Studio with its symphony orchestra and choir is situated in one of the YSC buildings. The Studio has at its disposal the Big Hall with theater stage (275 places), where the studio participants, both teachers and students: producers, conductors, orchestra musicians and choir singers, stage the operas. All the vocal parts in these operas are performed by the students of the Vocal Department. You can find the information about the recent staging of the Opera Studio on this web site. There are also three small concert halls in the Conservatory (80-100 places in each one). They are used for the academic evenings, solo, class, faculty or jubilee recitals, annual session of the Student Society, student formal and informal meetings and “skills”. Many famous musicians of different specialties from all over the world give master classes in these halls. More than thousand students study currently at the YSC. More than 120 of them are foreigners. The Foreign Students Department of the YSC exists since late 1950-ths. It has included not only students from the former USSR countries or the neighbor countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Estonia, Abkhazia, Iran), but also from China, Japan, Vietnam, Mongolia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordanian, Yemen, Algeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Oman. The reputation of the YSC attracts a lot of young people also from Europe (France, Great Britain, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Cyprus) and both Americas (Canada, USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay), for the study in Armenia. Many YSC graduates from Asia and Africa have become authors of first national operas, symphonic compositions, textbooks on musical-theoretical subjects and different piano or violin “Schools”, etc. Thus, for example, YSC graduate Saad Salim has written and published in Lebanon the book “Violin: Past and Present”. He has also got his Doctor of Arts degree in Sorbonne. Shafar Ghabili, also from Lebanon, has become the author of the first Arab opera, etc. The foreign students YSC can enrich their knowledge also through the understanding about Armenia – one of the most ancient countries of the world, about Armenian people and its culture, the capital of Armenia – Yerevan, which was founded in 782 B.C., 29 years earlier than the Eternal City – Rome. They can study the Armenian language, whose alphabet is more than 1600 years old. Welcome to Armenia that was called by Romen Rolland “The Soviet Italy”. American painter Rockwell Kent said “If somebody would ask me, in which country you can see more miracles than elsewhere, I’d answer: in Armenia”. Welcome to Yerevan, one of the most ancient cities of the world; in 2006, the city will celebrate the 2788th Anniversary of its foundation. Welcome to the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory that becomes in the next year 85 years old.