The Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra (ANPO) is an orchestra based in Yerevan, Armenia. It has always been considered as one of the leading orchestras of the former Soviet Union.
Established in 1925 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 ANPO.
The ANPO performs concerts at its residence – Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall, one of the architectural pearls of Yerevan designed by Alexander Tamanian – and hosts audience of 1300 seats.
Being led to the new millennium by Maestro Eduard Topchjan the ANPO 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 Rostropovitch, 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 and many others, as well as already established and emerging Armenian musicians have appeared with this orchestra.
The ANPO features the works of Armenian and international composers and is committed to supporting the performance of new orchestral works in programs interesting not only for regular visitors and connoisseurs, but also for tourists and young people. Alexander Melik-Pashayev, Willy Ferrero, Kurt Masur, Franz Konwitschny and Valery Gergiev conducted the ANPO, the latter holding the position of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for five years. Gia Kancheli, Sofya Gubaidulina and Rodion Shchedrin closely cooperated with the ANPO. Aram Khachaturian, Dmitry Kabalevsky, Krzysztof Penderecki and the other composers conducted their works with the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra.
Music by Aram Khachaturian, Arno Babadjanyan, Edvard Mirzoyan, Alexander Arutiunian, Avet Terteryan and many other prominent Armenian composers is best performed by the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Armenian and international soloists. By decision of the Mayor of Yerevan the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra for its 90th anniversary was awarded the commemorative medal “Emblem of Yerevan”.
The ANPO serves as Ambassador of Armenian music worldwide and tours regularly. Famous Armenian soloists appear with the ANPO, such as Sergei Babayan, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Sergey Khachatryan, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Kim Kashkashian and many others. Since 1989 the ANPO has toured extensively throughout the USA, Canada, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Greece, Iran, Cyprus, Turkey, Russia, and the UAE. Among the most interesting tours it is noteworthy to mention the tours to Japan in 2008 with 15 concerts, Germany and Slovakia in 2010, in 2014 and 2015 to Italy, Germany, Poland, USA, Mexico and Scandinavian countries. On July 12, 2016 there was a very prestigious concert at the Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2017 the orchestra toured Spain and Germany. On November 28, 2018 ANPO performed at the Berliner Konzerthaus with utmost success. From December 25, 2019 to January 10, 2020 the ANPO appeared in China with 10 concerts in 9 cities. The tour was organized in collaboration with Wray Armstrong Arts & Entertainment Ltd.
The Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra hosts the annual Yerevan International Music Festival, held in autumn. The 14th edition due in 2020 was postponed to 2021 because of COVID-2019 pandemic. Internationally acclaimed soloists participated in the festival editions, appearing in concerts and giving master-classes to young Armenian musicians. Eduard Topchjan and Alexander Chaushian are Artistic Directors.
More than 40 CDs have been released with the orchestra’s recordings. In the last decade shall be mentioned – Armenian Rhapsody released in 2011 by BIS Records, Sweden, Mozart Piano Concerti and Overtures by Oehms Classics, Germany, in 2014. They were highly acclaimed by international reviewers. In 2017 a special edition CD “Mozart-Komitas-Khachaturian” was released in the United States through Armenia Fund USA (Eastern Region Affiliate), with 10 000 copies print-run.
Next implemented recording was Tchaikovsky – Symphony No.6 and Khachaturian – Symphony No.2 made by DakApp (Spain), which is now in post-production.
Since January 2021 within the Beethoven-250 project the ANPO has been recording nine symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven, both audio and video (4K), an unprecedented endeavor not only in the countries of former USSR, but also none of major orchestras in Japan, Korea, China and Australia have ever recorded all Beethoven symphonies. The boxset will be released and also there will be international electronic distribution of all nine LVB symphonies and upcoming release of Khachaturian and Tchaikovsky symphonies to confirm increased international status of the orchestra.
Many prominent international specialists mention the constantly growing performing level of the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra considering its nuanced sound, impressive string section and charismatic Artistic Director.