Understanding Komitas’ Music: Interview with Tigran Mansurian

On the 3rd of October, the American University of Armenia hosted Tigran Mansurian, a well-known Armenian composer of classical music. His lecture was mainly on Komitas, the Armenian forerunner of music composition, and his strong influence on literature, as well as modern music.


During his presentation, Mansurian reinforced the importance of being familiar with the music of Komitas, especially for the youth. However, before knowing, one should learn how to enter the world of Komitas, the rich and endless world of his music. “Komitas lives inside all of us, Armenians; we just need to establish and maintain a relationship with his fascinating music world,” claimed Mansurian. While talking about his inspirations and motivations Mansurian highlighted the importance of the environment and time. It is in the morning that most of his works are created. “The authenticity and clearness of the morning are the sources of my creativity and enthusiasm. As day-time progresses that feeling consequently gets lost. Everything changes in an hour. So, once I have that feeling, I immediately start composing,” frankly confessed the composer.


He explained that from our early infancy we have a soul full of questions. It is typical to the human nature. However, there are questions, which are outside the world of logic; questions, which can never be explained through words. Those are the questions which can be interpreted only through music. It is the world of music that gives us a key to open new doors filled with new perspectives. Without music our lives would have been fragmentary.

Mansurian’s love towards music started from his early childhood. His whole family members were lovers of music. He vividly recalls when he was a child, still in Artik; their neighbor bought a radio and his whole family gathered at their house to listen to Komitas. Only his mother did not come; she was ashamed. “We were like butterflies flying towards the direction of the light,” recalled the composer.

Mansurian does not like talking about his creations and his relationship with them. While talking to him, it became obvious that he prefers praising others’ works. For instance, he was fascinated about his recent discovery, the music written for the film “Youth.” He noted, “I have already managed to listen to it approximately 20 times. The music is composed exactly for that film, sounds very organic.”

Currently, he is working on the prayers collection by Nerses Shnorhali. “I haven’t shown it to anyone, and don’t plan to in the foreseeable future,” concluded the master.

Lusine Sargsyan


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