This journey through the musical traditions of Armenia and the surrounding region features the Perspectives Ensemble, Sato Moughalian, A cappella folk trio Zulal, the Pletenitsa Choir, the Sayat Nova Dance Troupe, and Berklee World Strings, and will be accompanied by live painting by Kevork Mourad.
Flutist Sato Moughalian has a multi-faceted career, performing as a chamber musician, solo, and orchestral player; she is active in the New York new music and freelance community. As an artistic director, the range of her activities includes the founding of Perspectives Ensemble in 1993 as a group in residence at St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University and its subsequent participation in concert series at the 92nd St. Y, Miller Theatre, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall; the creation of touring chamber groups for Columbia Artists over a period of seven years; artistic direction of Rutgers University's SummerFest and Music on the Island; critically acclaimed recordings for Sony Classics, Newport Classics and New World Records; and collaborations with conductors, composers, musicians, and artists in other media. As founder of MAYA, she is particularly active in seeking and identifying gifted emerging composers and working with them through the commissioning process.
Perspectives Ensemble was created, in part, to present works within a cultural context, and to create performances which are informed by the influences prevailing on composers at the time of composition, in order to give voice to Moughalian’s lifelong interest in other arts forms and their relationship to music, and to her particularly detailed approach to the preparation of performances. Under her direction, the group has considered subjects including the influence of traditional music on "classical" composers, in particular, music of the Romani people in Spain and Hungary, and the development of a distinctly American style in architecture, dance and music. An important behind-the-scenes element in the preparation of performances of works by composers who incorporated or were influenced by folk or traditional music in developing their own distinctive style, is an organized period of intensive listening, on the part of the musicians, to exemplars of those folk traditions. Perspectives Ensemble has presented the New York City premieres of works of Aaron Jay Kernis and Gabriel Erkoreka, and has recorded music of Richard Danielpour, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, and Karel Husa to the same critical acclaim that it has received for its concert performances since its formation. For this concert, the vision of the Perspectives Ensemble will be brought to life by the Berklee Middle Eastern Festival Band and artists from the local community.
In Armenian, zulal means clear water. Zulal, the A cappella trio, aims to create music that is like clear water—fluid, clean, and unconfined. The group takes Armenia's village folk melodies and weaves intricate arrangements that pay tribute to the rural roots of the music while introducing a sophisticated lyricism and energy. Pastoral images that hint at a nation's loss, nostalgia, hope, and pride infuse their arrangements. A soaring crane catching a glimpse of village beauties flirting at the market below, a shepherd boy cradling a milkmaid, secret messages placed upon the western winds: these are reminders of a simpler past, tokens of comfort in the complex, modern world.
Kevork Mourad was born in 1970 in Kamechli, a town in the upper reaches of Syria. After getting a master's degree from Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts in Armenia, Mourad got the idea to combine his world of visual art with his love for music. With his technique of spontaneous painting, where he shares the stage with musicians—a collaboration in which art and music develop in counterpoint to each other—he has worked with many world-class musicians. Among them are Kinan Azmeh, Ezequiel Viñao, Tambuco, Brooklyn Rider, Mari Kimura, Ken Ueno, Liubo Borissov, Eve Beglarian, Rami Khalife, Maya Trio, SYOTOS, Song Fusion, and Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, of which he is a member as a visual artist. He has performed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Chelsea Museum of Art, the Bronx Museum of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Chess Festival of Mexico City, the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art in Yerevan, Le Festival du Monde Arabe in Montreal, the Stillwater Festival, the Nara Museum in Japan, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rubin Museum of Art, Harvard University, the American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center, Central Park’s Summerstage, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.