Komitas

Composer
Armenia

Komitas (the real name is Soghomon Soghomonian) is a composer, folk-lore specialist, singer, chorus conductor, musical and social figure. A brilliant master of harmony and chorus polyphone, a classic of the Armenian music, the founder of the Armenian scientific music ethnography.
In his collection of peasant, ancient gusanic songs and the popular version of the medieval professional taghs (songs) he introduced the typical character of the aincient creative work of the Armenian people discovering and recovering the style of that kind of music. His articles on folk music played a great role on the methodology of the music folk-lore studies. His concerts and lectures in Undercaucasus and the Near East had a great educational significance. Lectures by Komitas in the cities of the Western Europe (and also in the International congress in Berlin and Paris) introduced to the musical world with the Armenian Art.

Works of Komitas are mainly vocal based on the treatment of the popular music reflecting the spiritual life of the Armenian people.

In his popular original works based on the Armenian popular music mentality, Komitas opened new ways for the formation and development of the national composers school. His popular and innovatory creative work formed one of the original pages of the world music art of the XX century.

Life and Creative Work

He was born in 1869 in Kutin (Turkey), died in 1935 in Paris, buried in Yerevan.

In 1893 he graduated from the Echmiadzin Ecclesiastical Academy and gained the name Komitas (named the Armenian talanted hymn-creator of the VII century). He was a teacher of music sciences in that Academy, and was the leader of spiritual chorus. In 1895 he studied the music theory in Tiflis at M. Yekmalian.

From 1896 to 1899 he lived in Berlin, and there he graduated the Conservatoire, the class of Shmidt (composition, chorus conducting, singing), and University (music-criticism and aestetics).
Since 1899 he lived in Echmiadzin, where he began his creative work, collected folk songs, studied Armenian music, and took a concert and teaching activity. In 1910 he moved to Constantinople where he created the great cappella «Gusan». In 1915, surviving the horror of the genocide of Armenians organized by the Turk government, he became a mental patient. He spent the last years of his life in Paris.

His works were performed both in his native country and in many other countries of Europe.