Khatchadourian at 120: A conversation with Maestro Raffi Mikaelian

Khatchadourian at 120: A conversation with Maestro Raffi Mikaelian
Next Step #785 – December 19, 2023 – A conversation with Maestro Raffi Mikaelian, Conductor of the Armenian National Opera and Ballet Theater in Yerevan, following a concert dedicated to Aram Khatachourian’s music on the 120th anniversary of his birth. Discussing the great composer, his music, and a “hidden” Anthem. Changing from Lenin, Soviet and October to God, Eternal and Our Father, and where to go from there. Spirituality in music.
Reference Links:
Maestro Raffi Mikaelian – biography (see below)
Concert at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral, December 3, 2023
Paros Choir – 30th Anniversary Jubilee
Aram Khatachadourian – Virtual Museum
Advent 50 – Daily Podcast Series
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for
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Maestro Raffi Mikaelian

Raffi Mikaelian is the Artistic director & Conductor of the
“Paros Chamber Choir” and Conductor at
“The National Opera & Ballet Theatre of Armenia”

Born in Kuwait in 1985, Raffi Mikaelian started his music education
at the age of six in Tripoli, Lebanon, where he learned to play the piano, then he attended
“Hamazkayin’s P.Ganatchian Music school” in Beirut where he started his choir conducting
lessons with the well-known conductor Zakar Keshishian. In 2003, he moved to Yerevan,
Armenia to study at the “Yerevan State Conservatory named after Komitas” where he obtained
his Masters and Postgraduate degree in Choral conducting (Class of I.Vartanian) and a Bachelor
in Orchestra Conducting (Class of R.Asatryan) in 2010. Mikaelian moved to the USA in 2015
where he obtained his “Artist Diploma” in orchestra conducting from the “San Diego State
University” in 2017 (Class of M.Gerdes). He has participated in Masterclasses with Alexander
Polyanichko, Kenneth Kiesler, Colin Metters, Peter Oundjian and Dr. Patrick Walders.

Raffi Mikaelian is well known in Armenia for his performances with the “Paros” chamber
choir, “Havatamq” female choir and Armenian Orchestras. Since 2009, he has been Artistic
Director of the “Paros” chamber choir (consisting mainly of singers with physical disabilities)
and has led them to four silver medals in the “World Choir Games” in Riga, Latvia (2014) and
Sochi, Russia (2016). In 2016 he conducted a performance for his Holiness Pope Francis in
Etchmiadzin, Armenia. Mikaelian has worked with artists such as Placido Domingo, Jeffrey
Douma, Davit Karapetyan and musicians of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. He was
awarded the First Prize and “Best Conductor” Prize at the “Kolozha Blagovest” Competition in
Grodno, Belarus in 2014 with the “Havatamq” female choir.

Mikaelian is founder and conductor of “Voce Dell’orchestra” in Los Angeles where they
mainly perform at the St.Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank, CA alongside the “Shnorhali”
choir. He is also assistant conductor and Board member of “Musica Vitale” in Coronado, CA
since 2018. Guest conducting appearances have included work with the “Open Arts Community
Choir” in Belfast, Northern Ireland and the St. Petersburg Youth Orchestra in Russia. Mikaelian
premiered T.Mansurian’s “Requiem” in San Diego with “Musica Vitale”. In 2019 & 2023
together with “Paros Chamber Choir” let performances at “Les Invalides”, “Eglise de la Sainte
Trinité” & “La Seine Musicale” in Paris, France.

In 2022 Raffi Mikaelian was appointed conductor at the “National Opera & Ballet
Theater of Armenia” where he regularly performs every month.
International tours include: Armenia, Austria, Belarus, France, Iran, Latvia, Lebanon, Northern
Ireland (UK), Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Syria, U.A.E. and the U.S.A.

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