ALEXANDER SPENDIARYAN (1871-1928)
Conductor/Composer/music and public figure, People’s Artist of the RA.
Worked with Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor in 1926-1927.
The founder of symphony music in Armenia- Alexander Spendiaryan was born in the village of Kakhovka (Kherson region, Ukraine). In 1895 he graduated from Moscow University, Law Department. While at the University he mastered violin and played in the student orchestra. He studied theory of composition with N.Klenowsky in Moscow from 1892 to 1894 and with N. Rimsky-Korsakov in St. Petersburg from 1896 to 1900. He lived in Crimea for quite a while, where he was involved in music related activities particularly, conducting. In 1924 Spendiaryan moved to Yerevan, Armenia. To present a concert of his own works he organized an orchestra consisted of Conservatory 17 professors and students. This was done by the support of Conservatory rector- Arshak Adamyan. The first concert took place on December 10, 1924 and is appropriately considered as the first ever symphony concert in Armenia. This was a stimulus for a constantly acting symphony orchestra in the frames of Yerevan Conservatory to be established under the support and patronage of Arshak Adamyan. Spendiaryan coached the Armenian symphony orchestra, first together with Arshak Adamyan until 1926, and then by himself, until he passed away in 1928.
Going beyond the initial scholar framework this orchestra turned to be the promoter of symphonic music in Armenia. Yerevan Opera Theatre Orchestra, as well as all other symphony orchestras in Armenia, were later established on the basis and tradition of this Conservatory orchestra.
Alexander Spendiaryan played an important role in establishing national school of composition, its artistic principles and characteristic style. He enriched the Armenian music with new artistic concepts, subject matters, variety of genres, expressive means, creating the foundation of national Armenian symphonic music. Spendiaryan’s “Crimean Sketches” (two suites), “Yerevan Etudes” and his other symphonic compositions are among the best works in the treasury of the Armenian classical music. His opera “Almast” is one of the very first Armenian operas.