The Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) is an orchestra based in Yerevan, Armenia. It has always been considered as one of the leading orchestras of the former Soviet Union.
Established 90 years ago by Arshak Adamian and Alexander Spendiaryan it is the national center of professional orchestral music in Armenia. Over the years, conductors A. Adamyan, A. Spendiaryan, S. Charekyan, G. Budaghyan, K. Saradjian, M. Maluntsyan, O. Durian, M. Terian, R. Vartanian, A. Katanyan, D . Khandjian, V. Gergiev, V. Papian, M. Avetisyan, and L. Tjeknavorian directed the orchestra. In October 2000 Eduard Topchjan was appointed the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the APO.
The APO performs concerts at its residence – the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall, one of the architectural pearls of Yerevan designed by Alexander Tamanian – and hosts an audience of 1300 seats.
Being led to the new millennium by Maestro Eduard Topchjan the APO is committed to promoting cultural, musical awareness in local audiences, regularly performing classical and operatic music in addition to national and contemporary music.
Since its foundation, the orchestra has performed most of the classical repertoire. Many of the world’s leading artists, such as David Oistrach, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Emil Gilels, Renato Bruson, Steven Isserlis, Misha Mayski, Sergei Nakariakov, Boris Berezovski, Natalia Gutman, Giuseppe Giacomini, Isabelle Faust, Julia Fischer, Pinchas Zukerman, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Placido Domingo, Kirill Gerstein and many others, as well as already established and emerging Armenian musicians have appeared with this orchestra.
The APO features the works of Armenian and international composers and is committed to supporting the performance of new orchestral works in the programs interesting and for regular visitors, connoisseurs, tourists and young people. Alexander Melik-Pashayev, Willy Ferrero, Carlo Zecchi, Franz Konvichny, Kurt Masur and Valeri Gergiev conducted the APO the latter being five years in charge as its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Gia Kancheli, Sofya Gubaidullina and Rodion Shchedrin closely cooperated with the APO. Aram Khachaturian, Dmitry Kabalevsky, Krzysztof Penderecki and other composers conducted their works with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra.
The APO serves as Ambassador of Armenian music worldwide and tours regularly. Famous Armenian soloists appear with the APO, such as Sergei Babayan, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Sergei Khachatryan, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Kim Kashkashian and many others. Since 1989 the APO has toured extensively throughout the USA, Canada, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Greece, Iran, Cyprus, Turkey, Russia, and UAE. The most recent tours were to Japan in 2008 with 15 concerts; Germany, Slovakia in 2010, and to Italy in 2014 at 4 prestigious festivals in Rimini, Citta di Castello, Merano and Ravello. There are scheduled tours in 2015 to Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Russia and Scandinavian countries.
The Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra hosts the annual Yerevan International Music
Festival, held in autumn. The 8th edition is due in 2014. Internationally acclaimed soloists participate in the festival, appearing in concerts and giving master-classes to young Armenian musicians. Eduard Topchjan and Alexander Chaushian are Artistic Directors of the festival held under the patronage of First Armenian Lady Mrs. Rita Sargsyan.
More than 40 CDs have been released with the orchestra’s recordings. The most recent ones were released in 2011 “Armenian Rhapsody” by BIS Records, Sweden and in 2014 the renowned OEHMS Classics released Mozart Piano Concertos KV 238 & 415, Overtures from Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni. The CDs were highly acclaimed by international reviewers.
Music by Aram Khachaturian, Arno Babadjanyan, Edvard Mirzoyan, Alexander Arutiunian, Avet Terteryan and many other prominent Armenian composers is best performed by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra featuring famous Armenian and international soloists.
Many prominent international specialists mention the constantly growing performing level of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra considering its nuanced sound, impressive string section and charismatic Artistic Director.
Principal players of the APO as of 2012:
- Karmen Tosunyan, orchestra concertmaster
- Aram Asatryan, principal first violin
- Anahit Aslanyan, principal second violin
- Aida Nalbandyan, principal viola
- Armen Mesropyan, principal cello
- Karen Khachatryan, principal bass
- Tigran Gevorgyan, principal flute
- Ashot Galstyan, principal oboe
- Viacheslav Manucharyan, principal clarinet
- Andranik Kocharyan, principal basson
- Meruzhan Ter- Minasyan, principal horn
- Shahen Gevorgyan, principal trumpet
- Aristakes Martirosyan, principal trombone
- Vagharshak Pepanyan, tuba
- Harutyun Mkrtchyan, percussion
- Zhanna Hovhannisyan, harp