Heartfelt Jazz and the spirit of Armenia
Heartfelt Jazz and the spirit of Armenia
Asatrian´s Musical (Herb)-Garden
“Whenever I’m in Armenia, I take a seed with me, which I sow in my garden,” enthuses Karen Asatrian about his Armenian souvenirs with their incomparable taste. His compositions conduct themselves in a similar way. They show the whole width of his musical tastes. Classical piano tones interspersed with dabs of folk music, his creations frequently go back to the roots of this wonderful country in the Caucasians. It is a combination of basic Armenian ingredients with jazzy spices that have found their way into his head from all over the place and onto the black and white keys.
At the same time he is always open for everything that might spring out and delight him, such as a sweet apricot. “I’m the happiest man in the world whenever I go out in the garden and harvest fresh fruit and vegetables.” His musical world reveals itself as being just as fresh, light, lively, though sometimes melancholic too.
The piano man in a Cap has been sharing his musical herb-garden with his enthusiastic companions for some twenty years now. They are happy and curious to master many a challenging piece. At the end of the day, they all know how jazz in the Asatrian home tastes. “When we set out, a kind of common Armenian spirit arises,” Karen Asatrian is pleased to feel about the blind trust and the mutual esteem that the group of musicians carries around even after decades. His fellow musicians originally come from Uruguay, Iraq, Croatia and Austria. “Special and unique dishes are concocted,” promises the pianist. Sufficient fertilisation is provided by frequent social evenings with fresh ingredients from his Armenian herb- garden. In this way the concert evenings also become special moments, in which the joy in playing music together can be felt.
Asatrian already won the “Armenian Music Award” in the category “Best Jazz Album” with his first album “Pathway” in 2007. The CD “Dervish” followed in 2009 and again showed how his music radiates and joins together. In addition to his teaching duties at the University for Music and Live Arts in Vienna, he organises numerous concerts and tours for his ensemble and composes for choirs and orchestras. In 2018, his third public work, “Noor” (Armenian for pomegranate) appeared. With the symbolic pomegranate he wanted to place a clearly visible sign for peace and understanding in the Caucasus. Plus sow seeds, of course. May his seeds grow and bear rich fruits.
Karen Asatrian (Armenia/Austria)
The composer, jazz pianist and leader of the ensemble ARMENIAN SPIRIT Karen Asatrian was born in 1972 in Yerevan, Armenia. After graduating from the State Conservatory of Komitas in Yerevan, he left Armenia in 1995 to Klagenfurt in Carinthia/Austria and graduated there with honors in jazz-piano in 1999. His career till now was accompanied by various significant highlights. One of them was 2007, when he recieved the Armenian Music Award in the category of Best Jazz Album for his CD “Pathway”. From his creations to date, is in particular the PRAYER WHEEL, which was composed by him on the occasion of the centenary of the genocide against the Armenians, which was performed at the 2016 Salzburg Festival. In addition to his artistic activities and performances, Karen Asatrian is now a respected Jazz-Piano-Professor at the Gustav-Mahler-University at Klagenfurt/Carinthia as well as at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. For further Information and discography please visit: www.asatrian.net
Rita Movsesian - vocals (Armenia/Iraq/Austria)
Rita committed herself to Armenian and Arabic music in Baghdad/Iraq, where she was born and raised. After her move to Austria music still remained the focus of the Armenian ex-patriot´s life. There she received intensive vocal training from a wide variety of renowned coaches and enriched her vocal-technique at the Salzburg Mozarteum in the fields of classical music and jazz. There followed a great number of stage appearances both in Austria and abroad, before Rita Movsesian struck upon several multifaceted projects and international collaborations. Rita uses music as an intercultural link in today's world and places her emphasis on the musical traditions of Armenia, as she descends from an Armenian family that left their ancestral homeland in Turkey due to the historical events in 1915 and consequently settled in Iraq. Her voice reflects the multifaceted soul of Iraq as well as the passionate spirit of Armenia.
Ante Jurinović - bass (Croatia/Austria)
Studied acoustic and electric bass at Klagenfurt conservatory. Performances with Joe Zawinul caused more publicity and where followed by several musical projects and jazz-recordings around Europe with prominent musicians like Tamara Obrovac, Oliver Dragojevic, Matija Dedic, Gail Anderson band, Wolfgang Puschnig, Galeria band, Waveform band, Jean Nolan, Karen Asatrian and Hamlet Fiorilli and his Latin Jazz Experience. Master degree in e-Bass.
Wolfgang Puschnig - sax (Austria)
One of the most prominent representatives of Austrian jazz music after Joe Zawinul. A multi-instrumentalist, perfectly familiar with flute and piccolo flute, alto and soprano saxophones, alto and bass clarinets, exotic shakuhachi and hojok. Active in wide range of traditional and classical to ethnic and avant-garde music. Elegiac intonations, melodious vocal expression of lines and astounding virtuosity distinguish Puschnig and contribute to his personal style.
Emmanuel Hovhannisyan - duduk & zurna (Yerevan, Armenia)
One of the most famous duduk players in Armenia and well on the way to replace the old famous Armenian Duduk-doyen Djivan Gasparyan. Education at the H. Danielyan Art School and the state Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan. Award winner at the Vienna Brass and Woodwind Music Instruments Festival (2002), the Edison Award Jazz / World, Netherlands (2012) and the Armenian National Music Award (2012). Greatly varied band engagements internationally and participations in several theatre and film productions.
Juan Carlos Sungurlian - oud & bouzouki (Uruguay/Austria)
Studied at the conservatories of Montevideo (Uruguay) and Yerevan (Armenia) and at the Music Academy Graz. Masterclasses in Fes (Morocco), Istanbul (Turkey) and Seville (Spain). International concerts in various formations and as a soloist. His own multicultural background (Spanish, Armenian, Greek, German, Portuguese, French) is probably the reason for his passionate interest in many different cultures and music traditions.
Reinhardt Winkler - drums & percussion (Austria/England)
Tours in Europe, USA and Asia. Cooperation with STS (Austro-Pop), Terry Myers, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, to name just a few of his collaborations with Star-Musicians on international basis. Since 1993 counts as one of the most demanded drum-teachers in Austria.