Raffi BesalyanThursday, July 23, 2020
Raffi Besalyan (born in Yerevan) is an Armenian pianist and professor of piano performance at Georgia State University. He was formerly a faculty member of Rowan University in New Jersey and University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. Besalyan studied at the Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children in Yerevan, and received Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Yerevan State Musical Conservatory. He received an additional master's degree from Rowan University, and studied at the Manhattan School of Music with legendary American pianist Byron Janis and Sara Davis Buechner.
Besalyan has won top prizes in several national and international competitions. Among them are MTNA National Competition, Josef Hofmann International Piano Competition, Frinna Awerbuch International Competition, and Artists International Competition in New York.
Besalyan made his New York Recital Debut in Carnegie Hall in 2003 to high critical acclaim. He regularly performs throughout North America, Europe, Russia and Asia. His performances have taken him to a number of prestigious venues, including Carnegie and Merkin Hall (New York City), the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Atlanta Symphony Hall, Moscow Conservatory's Rachmaninoff Hall and Maly Zal (Russia), and Izumi and Phoenix Hall in Japan. Besalyan tours Japan on a yearly basis for adjudication (PTNA, Osaka International Music Competition), master classes, and concerts. He is represented in Japan by Tokyo IMC, MAS management, and is a Guest Artist/Teacher of The Takatsuki Music Teacher's Association of Osaka and Yamaha.
In 2012 Besalyan established himself as an award-winning recording artist, receiving international accolades for his album “Dance, Drama, Decadence” (IMC Music, Japan). The album received the prestigious Jun-Tokusen Award from The Record Geijutsu, Japan’s leading classical music magazine, and was chosen as the “Classical Album of the Month” by Mainichi Shinbun, one of Japan's largest newspapers. “Dance, Drama, Decadence” was selected as the “Best New Release of the Month” by Tokyo FM, a prominent radio channel, where the CD premiered in its entirety. In addition, Ongaku no Tomo of Japan recommended and archived the CD as a study reference for music students and professors alike.
Fanfare Magazine featured Besalyan in an extensive interview followed by rave reviews of the album, and another glowing review appeared in American Record Guide. Besalyan was also interviewed by Wisconsin Public Radio's Norman Gilliland on The Midday, and Dance, Drama, Decadence was aired on WPR (Madison, WI) and KHPR (Honolulu, HI).
The album features virtuoso works by Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Ravel and premiere recordings of colorful folkloristic pieces by Armenian composers Komitas and Baghdassarian. Besalyan is also featured on “Bach-Busoni Edition, Vol.I” for Koch International Classics.
Besalyan's first critically acclaimed recording of solo works by S. Rachmaninoff and A. Babajanian for the GRAMMY® Award-Winning record label Sono Luminus entitled "The Return" was released in March 2015, and is distributed by Naxos. “The Return” has been aired on several radio stations across the U.S. and Canada, such as the NPR, WGBH Boston, WRUV Vermont, the SiriusXM Washington D.C., Wisconsin Public Radio, The King FM Seattle, WFMT Chicago, The Grand FM Ontario and CBC Public Radio. WQXR, New York's premiere classical radio station featured the album as the New and Noteworthy Release of September 2015.