Arshak and Sophie Galstaun College leadership visits RA Ministry of Diaspora

RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan received President of the Guardianship of the Arshak and Sophie Galstaun Armenian College of Sydney Hrach Boghosian and Vice-President Harmik Hakobian.

Greeting the guests, the Minister highly appreciated the Australian-Armenians’ activities for preservation of the Armenian identity. She stated that the College is a hotbed for national preservation in Sydney and can compete with any Australian public school and, most importantly, one can feel the Armenian spirit there. As for the young president of the guardianship of the College Hrach Boghosian, whose three sons attend the Armenian college, can set an example for all young Armenian families.

Expressing gratitude for the cordial reception and support, Hrach Boghosian presented the College’s problems and achievements, attached importance to the training courses for teachers of Armenian schools in Australia organized by the Ministry of Diaspora and the cultural events that are held and stated that the College has made quite a lot of investments over the past two years in order to make learning at the College attractive and interesting and to make the College become more competitive. He attached importance to the fact that the number of students is growing, and new educational programs are being carried out. Interestingly, the best and outstanding student of the College is a Syrian-Armenian who has settled in Australia.

Hranush Hakobyan stated that the Arshak and Sophie Galstaun College was founded in 1986 in Sydney with a contribution from national benefactors Sophie and Arshak Galstaun (Galstyans) and under the sponsorship of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society. Education is based on the state curriculum. The College offers Armenian language, history and religion courses. It has a preschool, kindergarten and middle school. In 2017, the College enrolled about 330 students. Most of the alumni continue their education at the local universities.

Issues related to the participation of students and teachers in the Ministry’s programs were discussed.

RA Ministry of Diaspora recaps 2017 “Diaspora” Summer School Program

On October 5, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan chaired a consultation to recap the 2017 “Diaspora” Summer School Program at the RA Ministry of Diaspora. Among the participants were Deputy Ministers Serzh Srapionyan and Vahagn Melikyan, Mher Hovhannisyan (person responsible for carrying out the summer school program at Yerevan State University), Director of the “Homeland-Diaspora Center” SNCO Davit Shahbazyan and the heads of the Ministry’s departments and divisions.

The participants of the consultation considered issues related to conduct of the 2017 “Diaspora” Summer School Program and identified the problems that arose during the courses in all five areas. Head of the Department of All-Armenian Programs at the RA Ministry of Diaspora Gagik Gyanjumyan presented the statistics and geography.

Summing up the results of the consultation, Minister Hranush Hakobyan attached importance to the role of the summer school program in helping preserve and develop the national identity and linguistic thinking and in supporting the programs for national preservation within Armenian communities.

The Minister stated that it is necessary to pay special attention to the activities that are carried out with young Armenians. “It is necessary to adopt a new and interactive teaching method and organize a competition under the title “Best Youth Program”. We need to connect young Armenians to the homeland in particular,” the head of the government agency added. The Minister was pleased to emphasize the fact that the Ministry is receiving many applications for the Accelerated Armenian Language Course and the Training Course for Armenian Language Teachers and Organizers of Education.

Importance was also attached to advocating the “Diaspora” Summer School Program more effectively.

At the end, the Minister gave relevant assignments.

Diaspora Minister receives Canadian-Armenian figure Souren Hadjian

RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan received Canadian-Armenian figure, member of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Canada Regional Committee Souren Hadjian and architect Bedros Abadjian.

The Minister cordially greeted the guests, expressed gratitude to Souren Hadjian for participating in the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference and his pro-national efforts and attached importance to the proper organizing of the events dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide in Canada and the efforts being made for recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide and elimination of the consequences.

The issues raised during the pan-Armenian conference were discussed.

Afterwards, Souren Hadjian transmitted the painting that Armenian American painter Emma Grigoryan had donated to Hranush Hakobyan on the occasion of the pan-Armenian conference. The U.S.-based Armenian painter will open her personal exhibition on October 16 in the John Pashalian Hall of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in New York. The exhibition will be held under the auspices of Primate of the U.S. Eastern Diocese of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, Archbishop Oshagan Choloian.

Zaven Khanjian: “It is not right to lose hope when it comes to contact and communication with the homeland”

In 2018, the Armenian Missionary Association of America will celebrate its 100th year anniversary. The Association has made great contributions to the homeland following the declaration of independence of the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh.

In an interview with the Executive Director of the Association Zaven Khanjian, Hayern Aysor tried to take a retrospective glance to present the activities of the century-old Association in Armenia and Artsakh, as well as the past 100 years of its operation.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Khanjian, you participated in the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference held under the title “Mutual Trust, Unity and Responsibility”, and I would like to start our interview with the conference. How would you sum it up?

Zaven Khanjian: I would like to express my thoughts from two perspectives.

Firstly, the atmosphere of mutual trust was very warm and fraternal. Everything was well-prepared. In that atmosphere, I felt that the Armenian people have a focal point around which the sons of the Armenian nation of the world had gathered. Some were getting acquainted with each other, while many were catching up with old acquaintances. It was helpful because the circles of acquaintances can be expanded and be fruitful in different ways. Consolidation can truly be very pleasant and effective. It is also a difficult task because it is not easy to gather more than 1,000 delegates from four corners of the globe. In this sense, I appreciate the efforts of Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan and the employees of the Ministry of Diaspora.

I would like to set aside the presence of volunteers at the conference. They were very well-trained young people who served as a guide and a map for us during the three-day conference. I don’t remember if there were volunteers during the last conference, but the initiative is very commendable.

Secondly, in terms of organization and unity, dividing the topics of the conference under four headings was the right thing to do. Each participant had the opportunity to choose and could follow the program and express his or her thoughts by participating in this or that discussion.

As far as forming mutual trust, assuming responsibility, examining the issues of national concern and finding solutions to those issues, I must say that there was a platform for making recommendations, and the moderators of the sessions were organizing the process very well. If there were people who had disagreements over a particular issue and wanted to express their views, the moderator would give them the opportunity to speak and try to understand how the issue could be solved. I also consider this a very positive phenomenon.

Throughout a conference, only time can help give the right evaluation of the solution to issues that were discussed.

Before the conference, some Diaspora Armenians had negative views on the conference, and this was mainly due to the implementation of the outcomes of the previous conferences. In my opinion, those people are not less patriotic than the participants of the last conference. They simply decided not to participate since they were deceived and desperate. I wouldn’t like to criticize or justify them, but I think it is not right to lose hope when it comes to contact and communication with the homeland. We can lose hope for a moment, but we always need to show a positive approach, make positive statements, seek that which is good, seek solutions and make our statements with more courage.

I have always been at ease and expressed my thoughts. This is why I have never had any difficulties during our meetings and dialogues. I have never had any difficulty with attending the conference or deciding the importance of our organization’s participation in this conference. We learned a lot, and the items on the agenda were key items that are linked to the lives of our nation.

The homeland is sacred for us, but the most important value in Armenia is the human being, that is, the citizen of Armenia. Our plans and decisions are for the citizens. If we want to give an evaluation of the conferences, sometimes we need to ask our citizens as well.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Khanjian, on May 28, President Serzh Sargsyan awarded you with the Medal of Gratitude for your contributions to the strengthening of Armenia-Diaspora relations. During the days of the conference, you had a meeting with President of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan and received the Medal of Gratitude granted to the Association for services provided to Artsakh and on the occasion of the 100th year anniversary of the Armenian Missionary Association of America. What does this award mean to the Association? I would also like to ask you to talk about the programs that you carry out in Artsakh and the assistance that you provide to Artsakh.

Zaven Khanjian: The Armenian Missionary Association of America can proudly declare that it has been providing its services to Artsakh since the first days of Independence.

Artsakh is the focal point of our key objectives. Reinforcing and maintaining Artsakh’s independence are key objectives for the nation. It is the duty of all us Armenians to do everything possible to help Artsakh and empower the State of Artsakh. We won the war, but not peace, which is still alarming for Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora. We need to use our potential so that we win peace for Artsakh.

The people of Artsakh can’t continue to live a dignified life in peace when peace is still not ensured.

As far as the award and gratitude are concerned, I can only express my respect to the people and their representative, President Bako Sahakyan. The President honored us with the award because we fulfill our duty. By relying on the spirit of our nation and the Christian spirit, we help take care of the spiritual, educational and physical needs of our people through our programs.

The gratitude and appreciation make us more committed to work harder and expand our services to help the people of Artsakh.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Khanjian, throughout the past couple of years, the Association has also provided assistance to the Armenians devastated by the Syrian war.

Zaven Khanjian: For five consecutive years, the unrest of the Syrian-Armenians was the major issue of the Armenian Diaspora, and not only the Armenian Diaspora. I temporarily consider the unrest a national catastrophe.

The Armenian community of Syria is the ‘anchor’ of the Armenian Diaspora. The Armenians who escaped the Armenian Genocide were saved and settled in the hospitable city of Syria that went on to become the city of the Main Armenian Community in the Armenian Diaspora.

The loss of the community was terribly shocking for all Diaspora Armenians. I think the physical, material and human losses of the Syrian-Armenians are invaluable and, unfortunately, irreversible.

The Syrian war was a surprise for not only the Diaspora, but also Syria. Since the very first days, the Association stood by the side of the Syrian-Armenian community. I personally stood by their side since I still hadn’t assumed leadership of the Association, and as an Armenian who used to live in Aleppo, I established the Syrian-Armenian Relief Fund (SARF) in Los Angeles along with the representatives of the Association. The SARF worked wonderfully to provide material assistance to our compatriots under fire and raise the level of public awareness because it was hard for the United States and other countries (in general) to understand what was really going on in Syria. It seemed as though Syria was shrouded in the war. As part of the SARF and after being elected executive director of the Armenian Missionary Association of America in 2014, I have made great contributions to our compatriots in a devastating state in Syria along with the Association.

Throughout the past five years, many Syrian-Armenians have left Syria, and obviously, the homeland became the main host country for them. This was a miracle that we needed to realize. These were people whose passports were not accepted anywhere, but they could freely enter the homeland. Armenia was the only country that received them and provided them with homes and shelters. The Syrian-Armenians are very well aware of this. I refer to the Syrian-Armenians having settled in Armenia as people without a compass because they escaped the war and were saved in Armenia, but couldn’t make decisions. They didn’t know what to do. Many came and then left for other countries, while others stayed to decide where they could go and what they could do.

Our assistance was targeted in a way to help the Syrian-Armenians in Armenia decide to settle in the homeland. In association with the Ministry of Diaspora and the Center for Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues NGO, we have carried out and carry out programs. We have provided material assistance, reimbursed apartment rents, allocated funds for medical services, provided educational assistance, paid fees and allocated benefits to those who are in need of food on a daily basis.

We continued to provide them with guidance in order to show them that the bilateral interest requires that they settle in the homeland. As a Diaspora, Armenians will definitely win, if the Syrian-Armenians settle here. It will also help the homeland because they will use their talent and potential. Activities are underway.

The Association has even supported the Syrian-Armenians having settled in Canada. However, throughout the past years, our major target has been Syria and Armenia.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Khanjian, you have been serving as the Executive Director of the Armenian Missionary Association of America since 2014. Was it easy for you to assume that position? What does it mean to you?

Zaven Khanjian: Community service has always been a part of my personal life and career. Even decades before I assumed this position, that is, ever since I settled in the USA, serving the nation, community and people has been a part of my task for nearly 30-35 years. This is why the transition was easy for me and close to my heart because I am in an atmosphere that makes me feel spiritually content. I am using my potential for and providing my services to an association with principles that I believe in and that are part of my ideology and conviction.

I assumed my working duties very easily and smoothly. I do my job with so much satisfaction that sometimes I don’t feel how the hours go by.

Of course, there are a lot of hardships and challenges, even serious challenges, but we have managed to overcome them.

The guarantee of our success is that the Armenian Missionary Association of America has adopted several major principles by which it is guided by.

The first is that the Association is a very transparent organization. Our programs and activities are out in the open. We choose our services by voting, and our representatives and executive body are elected by members. Everyone is entitled to vote.

The second is that we are accountable. During our annual regular meetings, we update our members on our activities through the news and messages posted on our website. A member of the Association is someone who benefits the Association every year, and it does not matter which country the person is from or what denomination the person is affiliated to.

The third is that our organization is a responsible organization. It is the sense of responsibility that has been helping us resist all the hardships, surprises and challenges for the past century.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Khanjian, in 2018, the Armenian Missionary Association of America will be celebrating its 100th year anniversary. How have the passing 100 years been for the Association?

Zaven Khanjian: Firstly, whatever the Association has achieved over the past 100 years it owes it to the thousands of people who have shared their ideas, provided funds, put in time and worked hard since the establishment of the Association in order for us to have what we have today. It has been a wonderful 100 years, and we owe it to only those people. They are people who shaped this legacy and passed it on to us. Every generation has laid a brick on the wall and helped construct a building that is rising year after year. Today we are enjoying the fruit of the sacrifices that were made by them. The awareness of all this only makes us admire those who were before us.

Secondly, we are asking ourselves what our role is today. We gather, rejoice and share our happiness with others, but what is our role? Our role is to put another brick, plan for the next 100th anniversary, ensure the lives of the next generations-something that we must be able to do through hard work, sacrifice and dedication.

Taking all this into consideration, in 2016, the Association planned to organize a fundraiser to raise $20 million. Works are underway, and they will be complete by the end of the year 2018.

We hope to make that one stone into two stones so that we can take care of the needs of the next generations more easily and even their lives in the course of the next 100 years.

Hayern Aysor: How are you going to be celebrating the anniversary?

Zaven Khanjian: We have programs and services in 24 countries on 5 continents and thought we would cover as many regions as possible.

Although we planned to hold the fundraiser in October 2016, our ceremonies and celebrations will be launched on October 21, 2017 in the Eastern USA Region. This is the period of the annual assembly of the Armenian Missionary Association of America and coincides with the banquet for the annual assembly. The celebrations will continue in Australia (March 2018), Canada (May 2018), Lebanon (early June 2018), France (mid-June 2018) and Armenia (September 2018). In October 2018, we will wrap up our ceremonies and our fundraiser in Los Angeles.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Khanjian, how would you like to end our interview?

Zaven Khanjian: I would like to get back to the conference and express my thought. As I mentioned, the major wealth of Armenia is the Armenian individual. Gaining independence wasn’t easy. Gaining freedom and independence was especially difficult for Artsakh. It wasn’t served to us on a silver platter. We liberated our lands and declared Independence through bloodshed and hard work.

In Armenia’s case, it was a little different. Armenia’s Independence, the 26th anniversary of which we gladly celebrated recently, was declared following the collapse of the Soviet Union and by the self-determination of our people to live freely.

Our dream came true 26 years ago, and Armenians around the world found their independence here. It was a surprise, but it was not independence gained through a struggle, even though we needed to start from scratch since it was a transition from the Soviet order to a new social order. In this kind of situation, groping was logical and making mistakes was expected since it takes time to shape a country.

However, unfortunately, over the past 26 years, there has been a tremendous difference between the good and bad situation of the people, and this is very painful for us.

Various organizations try to help those in dire conditions, but we still have a problem with lifting that tremendous mass. The future will show to what extent this conference helped examine the issues and find paths.

It is very important for us to reduce the space and lift people living in socially unequal conditions. By doing that, we will also keep them on the homeland because I don’t believe that a person can decide to leave his homeland, if he can take care of his family’s needs here.

Let’s hope, pray and work, do our share of the work and expect that the authorities of Armenia also seek paths to reduce the space and maintain our people in better conditions.

Interview by Lusine Abrahamyan





Director of Armenian Independent Broadcasting of Boston hosted at RA Ministry of Diaspora

On October 5, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan received founder of the Armenian Independent Broadcasting of Boston Yevgine Gharibian, who is the wife of co-founder of the St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (the only Armenian school in Boston) Jerair Gharibian.

Minister Hranush Hakobyan greeted the guest and mentioned the following: “For the past 37 years, your family-run radio station has been contributing to preservation of the Armenian identity far away from the Homeland. Unfortunately, the large Armenian community of Boston does not have enough media outlets, but your radio station manages to provide our compatriots with news from Armenia and make the Armenian language heard every week. I am sorry that your worthy husband, Jerair passed away prematurely, but you continue his inmost efforts.” The Minister urged the guest to talk a lot about repatriation and the return to the roots during the radio shows and present repatriate Armenians and their successes in the Mother Homeland as examples.

Minister Hranush Hakobyan awarded Yevgine Gharibian with the “Ambassador of the Mother Language” Medal of the RA Ministry of Diaspora for her significant contributions to maintenance of the purity of the Armenian language in the Diaspora and for contributing to the development of the Armenia-Diaspora partnership.

Expressing gratitude for the high award, Yevgine Gharibian talked about the problems of the Armenian community of Boston and the activities that the community carries out in order to preserve the Armenian identity. “There used to be a ‘constellation’ of Armenian American intellectuals who lived and worked in Boston. Unfortunately, that is in the past. Armenian schools are at risk, but we try to make sure the Armenians of Boston don’t assimilate,” Mrs. Gharibian stated and promised to work more closely with the Ministry of Diaspora by presenting the Ministry’s programs for national preservation and homeland recognition via the Armenian Independent Broadcasting of Boston.

Urartu Armenian Community disseminates ‘Armenianness’ in Kazakhstan

There are about 1,000 Armenians living in the Aktobe region of Kazakhstan, and they are mainly involved in the business and construction sectors. On December 2, 1997, they created the Urartu Armenian Community in central Aktobe, and the head of the community is businessman, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia in Aktobe Haik Terteryan.

Presenting the community’s activities and completed works in an interview with Hayern Aysor, Haik Terteryan stated that the Urartu Armenian Cultural Center is one of the active Armenian centers in Kazakhstan that closely collaborates with Armenian cultural centers and the cultural centers of other nationalities in Kazakhstan and the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Kazakhstan.

Haik Terteryan considers the subsequent assembly of the Armenian communities of Kazakhstan (31 May-2 June 2013) in Aktobe a major event, which gathered representative of the Armenian communities and other national and cultural unions from almost all the regions of the country.

In 2015, Urartu Armenian Cultural Center established the Reception Center to specify and assess the needs of the Armenian community’s members, learn about their preferences and opportunities, study the statistics and provide assistance.

To solve the issues related to national preservation, we opened the Urartu Armenian Sunday School at the Friendship Home in Aktobe where pupils learn Armenian language, literature and history. The School has classrooms for junior high school students and high school students and a dance club. The director Is merited pedagogue Vardanush Bareghamyan,” Haik Terteryan said, adding that the Center’s goal is to preserve the Armenian identity through daily efforts.

Urartu Armenian Cultural Center has set up a youth organization that is spearheaded by Haik Gharibjanyan and collaborates with the Armenian Youth Foundation of Kazakhstan.

Talking about the community’s traditions, our interlocutor informed that the community celebrates state, church and national holidays and hosts chess and backgammon tournaments, which also gather representatives of other nations.

The members of the community are culturally active. The reopened Urartu Armenian Dance Group, which is seeing the rise in the number of members every day, makes a great contribution to the dissemination and popularization of Armenian culture abroad. The Aktyubinsk region recently hosted a competition for performances of piano works that was dedicated to the 95th birth anniversary of Arno Babajanyan, and Janis Shaukembayeva visited Armenia through the efforts of the Armenian community.

Let us also add that the community is in close collaboration with the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. Most of the members participate in the Ministry’s programs on a regular basis. The Armenian school’s four teachers – Naira Mamikonyan, Angela Chopikyan, Roxanna Arshakyan and Varduhi Saribekyan – have been awarded with a certificate of the RA Ministry of Diaspora, the school’s director Vardanush Bareghamyan has been awarded with the “Ambassador of the Mother Language” Medal, and Haik Terteryan participated in the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference held under the title “Mutual Trust, Unity and Responsibility” held on 18-20 September in Yerevan.

Gevorg Chichyan

Happy Teachers’ Day, dear teachers!

Today Armenians are celebrated Teachers’ Day with deep respect and veneration. It is another opportunity to appreciate and express kind words to the teachers who are loved by all of us due to their sacral and impeccable image. It is the teacher who educates and raises numerous generations by staying true to his ultimate mission. Indeed, it is hard to overestimate the work of a teacher, regardless of the subject he teachers, but for me, the teacher of the native language has been and always will be the torchbearer of Armenian education and upbringing. Today, with warmth, I would like to congratulate the teachers of Armenian Sunday schools in the Diaspora and all those who transmit to children and youth not only spiritual knowledge, but also the major biblical principles and the standards of a Christian. May God bless you and your wonderful work.

Joining others as they congratulate teachers, I say the following:

Happy Teachers’ Day, dear teachers!

With your wisdom, patience and love, you disclose the secrets of bravery, kindness, beauty and the truth for your students. I wish you endurance, health and beauty. May you continue your work.

Teacher of the Armenian Section of the

Kanat Darzhuman National Renaissance School of Kazakhstan

Susanna Arakelyan


Jerusalem’s Zharangavorats Seminary to host concerts

As reported the Zharangavorats Seminary of Jerusalem to Hayern Aysor, on October 7, the ceremonies hall of the Seminary will host the concert of the Armenian choir of Cyprus, and on October 8 – the concert of the Little Singers of Armenia Choir led by artistic director and principal conductor Tigran Hekekyan.


The program features performances of Armenian and international spiritual, mundane and jazz songs.

Inter-Agency Commission on Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues to hold subsequent session

On October 6 at 16:00, the Inter-Agency Commission on Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues will hold its subsequent session at the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia (Address: 3 V. Sargsyan Street, 9th floor). The session will be chaired by RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan.

The participants of the session will discuss issues related to the support shown to Syrian-Armenians and the upcoming programs, the process of integration of Syrian-Armenian children at schools in Yerevan, summer vacation and other issues.

Michael Avetisyan: “It was my father who provided guidance when I was choosing my profession”

In an interview with Hayern Aysor, U.S.-based Armenian conductor Michael Avetisyan touched upon his career, past activities and shared great memories of his beloved father, renowned composer, canon player, People’s Artist of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic and recipient of the State Award of the Republic of Armenia Khachatur Avetisyan.

As a beginning

1984 – graduated from the Piano Department and later Composing Department of Yerevan Tchaikovsky Intermediate Vocational Music School

1989 – graduated from the Opera and Symphonic Conducting Department of Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory (student of Professor Hakob Voskanyan)

1991 – obtained PhD under direction of Ohan Duryan at Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory

1985-90 – took conducting lessons from Professor Ilya Musin at St. Petersburg Conservatory

1996 – participated in the 35th Kiril Kondrashin Conducting Master Classes with Sir Eduard Dounes and Peter Eotvos in Holland

1991-97 – taught conducting at Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory and was conductor of the Orchestra of the National Radio and Television of the Republic of Armenia and the National Academic Theater of Opera and Theater

1994-97 – conducted Yerevan Symphony Orchestra

Michael Avetisyan has performed in the USA, France, Holland, Greece, Spain, Russia and Turkey.

He has conducted European orchestras and the symphony orchestra of the former USSR. In 1996, he released his RCD featuring his performances with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.

Hayern Aysor: Maestro, you have been living in the United States for many years. Do you maintain your ties with Armenia?

Michael Avetisyan: I moved to the United States in 1999, and I have not cut off my ties with Armenia at all. There are always occasions to visit the homeland and meet with my friends. Armenia conveys energy and makes me work harder.

Hayern Aysor: Let’s talk about your activities in the United States.

Michael Avetisyan: I established the Glendale Symphony Orchestra. After it was disbanded, a group of young performers and I established the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra, but it was also disbanded in spite of its prolific activities.

Two years ago, I established the Zangakatun Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra and I gave a wonderful concert for a packed audience and invited world famous German-Armenian violinist Sergey Khachaturyan.

Hayern Aysor: Are you an active member of the Armenian community?

Michael Avetisyan: In the first years after I settled in the United States, I received an invitation to be the choirmaster of the 50-year choir of the Iranian-Armenian Society of Los Angeles. Every year, we give a concert featuring performances of classical, pop and folk songs and songs in other genres. I try to organize theater concerts with this choir.

Alongside this, I have been the head of the Armenian Youth Association of California in Los Angeles for the past five years. In 2015, the choir participated in the “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival organized by the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia and received the Gold Medal of the Ministry.

Most of the members of the orchestra are foreigners who perform Armenian music with great joy and pleasure.

Hayern Aysor: What was the purpose of your visit this time?

Michael Avetisyan: Director of Naregatsi Art Institute Nareg Hartounian sent me a letter stating that the Institute had decided to host a series of events devoted to Khachatur Avetisyan on the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the Institute. Besides the concert, the Institute also hosted an exhibition featuring Avetisyan’s personal items (canon, Bible, etc.). It was a pleasure for me to participate in all the events. I always express my admiration of the pro-national efforts of Naregatsi Art Institute, which gathers young talented Armenians.

Hayern Aysor: Was it your father’s image that led you to reach the peak you are at now?

Michael Avetisyan: First, I must say that my father was a demanding father. He provided guidance when it came time for me to choose my profession. When I was 6, he noticed my interest in the piano and in composing and affirmatively decided that I had to pursue a career in music.

Living in a building of composers throughout my childhood, I was lucky to interact with great Armenians such as Alexander Harutyunyan, Grigor Hakhinyan, Ghazaros Saryan, Vardan Atchemyan, Emin Aristakesyan, Avet Terteryan, Konstantin Orbelyan and others. Their names were a standard in the world of music.

I always remember their commotion and how they would talk about different topics at our house. I am thankful for that share of destiny.

Hayern Aysor: What has been the most precious advice your father has given you?

Michael Avetisyan: In general, all of his words of advice were very important and instructive. I recalled an episode at this moment. When I was conducting the “Gaiane” ballet at the Alexander Spendiaryan National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, before the first act, my father approached me and said he was more than happy about the fact that people would now recognize him as the father of Michael Avetisyan and not the opposite. I will always remember those words.

Hayern Aysor: Which of your father’s works is your favorite?

Michael Avetisyan: When my father was asked what his favorite work was, he would say that he accepts all of his works as his children. I also give that answer, taking into consideration the love and devotion that Armenians have for and to Khachatur Avetisyan and his works to this day.

Interview by Gevorg Chichyan

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