Arno BabajanianTuesday, November 14, 2023
Arno Harutyunovich Babajanian was a Soviet and Armenian composer and pianist. He was made a People's Artist of the USSR in 1971.
Babajanian was born in Yerevan on January 22, 1921. By the age 5, his musical talent was apparent, and the composer Aram Khachaturian suggested that the boy be given proper music training. Two years later, in 1928, Babajanian entered the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan. In 1938, he continued his studies in Moscow with Vissarion Shebalin.
He later returned to Yerevan, where from 1950 to 1956 he taught at the conservatory. In 1952, he wrote the Piano Trio in F-sharp minor. It received immediate acclaim and was regarded as a masterpiece from the time of its premiere. Subsequently, he undertook concert tours throughout the Soviet Union and Europe. In 1971, he was named a People's Artist of the USSR.
Babajanian wrote in various musical genres, including many popular songs in collaboration with leading poets such as Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Robert Rozhdestvensky. Much of his music is rooted in Armenian folk music and folklore, which he generally uses in the virtuosic style of Rachmaninoff and Khachaturian. His later works were influenced by Prokofiev and Bartók. Praised by Dmitri Shostakovich as a "brilliant piano teacher", Babajanian was also a noted pianist and often performed his own works in concerts.