Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sergey Khachatryan

Sergey Khachatryan is an Armenian violinist born (in Yerevan, Armenia) on April 5, 1985.  He has managed to establish a very busy and successful career from a very young age.  After Ivan Galamian, he is the most famous Armenian violinist.  His violin studies began at age 6 (one source says age 5) with Pyotr Haykazyan in his native Armenia.  At age 8 (1993), he moved to Germany with his family.  There, he studied with – among others - Hrachya Harutyunian (concertmaster of the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and the Munich Philharmonic.)  At age 9, he played his first orchestral concert in Germany, which, as far as I know, is still his home base.  He began to study in Karlsruhe under Josef Rissin at age 11.  Khachatryan credits Rissin with most of his violinistic development and – as Jascha Heifetz did with his own teacher, Leopold Auer – still asks Rissin’s advice.  After winning the Sibelius competition at age 15 (the youngest winner in the competition’s history), Khachatryan began to be engaged to play concerts far and wide.  His first orchestral recording (the Sibelius concerto) was released in 2003.  He was 18 years old.  In 2005, he won the Queen Elizabeth competition, another prestigious violin competition.  Khachatryan made his New York debut on August 4, 2006 playing the Beethoven concerto at the Mostly Mozart Festival.  On February 28, 2007, he played the Sibelius concerto with the New York Philharmonic.  Kurt Masur was on the podium.  He has played with all the major orchestras and with most of the top names in the conducting world since then.  As does Gil Shaham, he sometimes plays recitals with his sister as piano accompanist.  Khachatryan actually recorded his debut CD in 2002 with both his sister and his father as piano accompanists.  YouTube has several videos of his performances.  Here is one.  He has played the 1708 Huggins Stradivarius (from 2005 until 2009), the 1702 Lord Newlands Stradivarius (from 2009 until 2011 – this violin was sold to a collector for $12,500 way back in 1915 and is now on loan to violinist Ray Chen), and the 1740 Ysaye Guarnerius (previously played by Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman.)  I do not know if he is still playing the Guarnerius but I do know the Nippon Music Foundation provided all three violins to him on loan.  Khachatryan also previously played a G.B. Guadagnini violin from 1773.  His sound has been described as sweet, beguiling, and rich; his playing as “poetic, introspective. effortlessly virtuosic.”   A quote from him: “You see many of today’s artists go out on stage and you can tell they’re there because it’s their job.  I’m afraid of that word.  Every time I go out on stage, I want … to create a special atmosphere.”  Photo is courtesy of Marco Borggreve, well-known photographer to (mostly European) musicians.   

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