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H E O F F I C I A L M A G A Z I N E O F T H E
T K E N A R M E N I A N F O U N D A T I O N
I S S U E N O . 1 / / V O L U M E N O . 1 / / S E P T 2 0 1 7
A “ S C H O O L ” Y E A R I N R E V I E W
Armenia’s best-kept secret in Georgia?, p. 11
T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S
A Musical Christmas
in Javaghk & ...
On the Go!
Credits, Contacts, etc.
Atken Armenian Foundation has been discovering, serving, and guiding young music talent in
regions of Armenia for the past 10 years. Our work in poverty reduction is growing rapidly
new initiatives and collaboration. The last 12 months have proven to be very productive;
funds have correlated to greater results. For example, we are thrilled this year that 4 of our
first edition of ATKEN is a recap of what we have been up to the last 12 months. It is a great
to catch up for you non-Facebookers! You will meet mostly village children who only a
of years ago had never heard of Scarlatti or Brahms and today are singing in Italian and
You will get to know a young man who served on the border and saw his comrade
E D I T O R ’ S N O T E S
Fellows have been accepted into top Music Schools in the country and are on the path
have dreamt about. On the regional development side, in a few short years, our agro-
modernization projects will bring in 6-figure revenue to local farming communities.
by an enemy bullet last April, who today is preparing for lessons with a top voice teacher
the Komitas Conservatory.
ATKEN, we would like to hear your stories, comments, questions, and experiences. At this
stage, we need your feedback. Students, teachers, parents, donors and readers alike, tell
what has been your experience with the AAF? Why is it important to help Armenia for you?
not start or support a project with the AAF and tell your friends about it through ATKEN?
appreciate your interest and are happy to have you as a reader of ATKEN. The AAF is proud
the work it has done but truly needs your help to continue. We hope you will enjoy this first
Van Armenian is a professional violinist, teacher, and the president of the AAF.
regularly plays and tours with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and was recently a
of the All-Armenian Orchestra’s inaugural concert in Yerevan. He may be
at: email@example.com or contact him through the AAF Facebook Page.
E D I T O R ’ S N O T E S
issue and will join the AAF family where we Elevate ourselves by Elevating others!
start with a pivotal moment in the AAF
December 16, 2016, our first fund-
concert. We set up a great organizing
and found the ideal hosts for this
His Excellency, Ambassador of
to Canada, Mr. Armen Yeganian and
wife Maria. Our beloved soprano and
member Aline Kutan truly made the
a magical one and a real
of the power and glory of
concert would not have been possible
our principal sponsors Arden &
Dervishian, and our partner sponsors
& Ana Afeyan, Hasmig Armenian, the
and Hagop Kestekian Foundation (Haig
Virginia Misakyan), Drs. Jirair & Rita
impressive participation of the 40-some
choristers from the McGill Conservatory
and Youth Choirs under Penni
the Mashtots Choir of AGBU under
and the Atken Ensemble helped
this a very special and unforgettable
Montreal community friends got together
volunteer and contribute in kind, namely:
Nazarian of Melan Print, Floriste
Ara Samson and Patrik Boghosian
George Maalouf of
G.E.G., and Pianos H. Nalbandian.
courageously risked the treacherous
and parking conundrums to bring
venue to near capacity. The AAF board
to make this an annual event in
so keep posted, another concert on
horizon in December!
A M U S I C A L C H R I S T M A S
A MUSICAL CHRISTMAS
Kuyumjian and an anonymous donor.
“Thank you Atken Armenian Foundation
for the beautiful Christmas concert
and wonderful projects
Gohar Manvelyan, as well as the HAYK Vocal
― Maria Yeganian ―
board members Antoine and Sheila
introduced Maro Simonyan to the
6 years ago, we found an energetic and
woman who wanted to bring
culture to the children of her
of Yegheknadzor. The AAF gave
a mission: build a serious children’s choir
head for the top!
the past 3 years, this choir has been
top prizes in Armenia and even a
Medal in Georgia. There is a magical
when you enter the decrepit
Center; Maro has created a place
the love of music is palpable.
to Maro’s efforts, members of this
such as Ani and Narek, are entering
first year at the top music school in
the Komitas Conservatory. Another,
the talented Nané (pictured on p. 8), is
for a career as a folk-pop singer or
even a choir conductor herself. Our
class is growing, students, such as
and young Gayane are practising
and showing promising results.
M A G N I F I C E N T M A R O
“I wish many successes to all your initiatives
as they are honest, kind and patriotic.”
― Maro Simonyan ―
THE MUSIC MAN
talented young man eats and breathes music. We know he
AAF has a strong foothold in the
Dzor region. All our agro-
takes place there and a
part of our music education
are based in the regional
visits to “Little Y” motivate and
our top talents.
IN THE MOUNTAINS
amazing Yamaha flutes on loan to
D I S P A T C H V A Y O T S D Z O R
PIANO LESSONS WITH TIGRAN
will go far, AAF has his back.
the local music school.
A PILLAR OF THE AAF INITIATIVES
known as Little Y by AAF folk).
from having a bank of several
on loan to local music schools
as two beautiful Qanons, 2 flutes, 2
and 4 pianos), we have invigorated the
musically speaking with the Armenian
Choir and have added Voice,
Music History, Theory, Dictation, and
classes. Every time our award-
choir shows up in the capital Yerevan
Y), heads are turned!
instrument and voice classes are aided
regular visits from specialists Tigran
course is also given to all our
by Verjiné Zabounian.
the past years, the AAF has helped
healthcare sector of the area with
and equipment, has provided
need scholarships to students of the
University, and has renovated a
of rooms in the Culture Center as
as a park and a playground. Board
Antoine and Sheila Terjanian,
the help of Naira Sargsyan of the
NGO oversee it all with loving care
D I S P A T C H V A Y O T S D Z O R
Berkelyan and Herminé Gevorgyan. A weekly
on a volunteer basis.
in Little Y this April, we came across a
group of young actors performing
Little Prince” by Saint-Exupéry. We were
impressed by the quality and devotion to
art form. Soon after, they were invited to
it in Yerevan! Unfortunately, they did
have enough funds to make it there. The
quickly went into action and found
from our friend Nancy Torosian,
of Montreal’s Hay Pem Theatre
The costumes and sets were all made
the students and the director, Hrach
Impressive things happening in
Little Y indeed!
L E P E T I T P R I N C E
LE PETIT PRINCE
“The time for action is now.
It’s never too late to do something.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ―
it comes to harrowing tales, we all know
situation on the border with Azerbaijan is
of great concern. Young Narek from our
in Vayots Dzor completed his
military service in February of this
His unit was posted on the border and
in the middle of it all during the vicious
attacks in April 2016. His friend was
next to him in one of the worst attacks.
year later when we saw him in Armenia, he
still visibly shaken, but thanks to his
and the help of our teachers,
managed to be accepted in the
these schools ask for irrational
fees that have no relation to the
of most citizens of the country. Even
the military service and “living outside
capital“ discounts, the cost was absurd
Narek. When he received the phone call
our representative Chaghig Arzrouni
the AAF would find a sponsor and
his tuition as long as he continues
fantastic efforts, he was so taken aback
AAF does not allow talented and hard-
children to be forgotten due to
of the country; we will support
as long as they continue to elevate
to the enormous challenge of
it in the music world.
A S O L D I E R S T A L E
A SOLDIER’S TALE
that there was a full minute of silence. . .
few years back we met young Anna in a
town in Javaghk, Georgia. In January of
year we selected, now 13-year-old Anna
a special prize: a fellowship from the AAF
support of her extraordinary talent. Anna
spends 2-3 weeks in Yerevan,
by our wonderful voice specialist
Gervorgyan, for intensive daily voice
only a few months, she won a
in Georgia with the possibility to
in the finals in Italy. We took her
Italy where she competed with
5 to 7 years older than her. Anna
one of 4 candidates selected by an
jury and Nino Lezhava, Director
the Academy Tebaldi Del Monaco, to
the Special Prize: A full scholarship
participate in a 2-week masterclass in
is a talent to watch, mark our words!
AAF believes that talents such as Anna
be future ambassadors of Armenia, your
is needed to continue this work.
M I R A C L E I N J A V A G H K & . . .
MIRACLE IN JAVAGHK &... ITALY!
Italy in 2018, room & board included!
“Make the AAF your voice in Armenia
― AAF ―
board Members Tony Halepli and Antoine
in collaboration with the Syunik
have spearheaded important work in
Horticulture Development sector of the
Dzor region. This is an initiative that
bring in 6-figure income to the region in a
short years; a project that will change
conditions of many families who live in
goal of the project is to contribute to the
of poverty in rural areas and to
the development of cooperation
rural communities in Vayots Dzor and
their farming capabilities. For
part of the program will comprise
and practical compulsory
To date, with donations from Tony
have planted 4000 high-render fruit
and have given over 50 new
to villagers. We are grateful to
Syunik-Development NGO for their
and expertise in helping us make
project a reality.
B E E S & T R E E S
BEES & TREES
“He who plants a tree, plants a hope.”
― Lucy Larcom ―
“DOING NOTHING FOR OTHERS
IS THE UNDOING
― H O R A C E M A N N ―
years ago the AAF started a Vocal Talent program for the regions of Armavir and Kotayk. Under
leadership of soprano Herminé Gevorgyan (pictured left) and Tatevik Movsesyan results are
in! Two of the top talents, 16-year-old Ani (pictured) and Arminé, were accepted with full
to a top music college in Yerevan. They will be studying with Herminé’s own past
June of this year the scope of the vocal program grew: Herminé and pianist Elen Kirakosyan, gave
in Ninotsminda, Javaghk (in Georgia) at the local music school. This is part of the
commitment to helping regional music schools get quality input to improve pedagogical
Both faculty and the students were thrilled with the sessions.
V O C A L I S E
The work of the AAF paying off one student at a time! We promise there is more to come!
AND ANNA AT THE PARAJANOV
of the prize was to visit important cultural pillars in the
Fellows, vocalists Christina from
(Vayots Dzor) and Anna from
were selected this year for a
gift. During the two weeks in
they had daily lessons with our
specialist Herminé Gevorgyan, and
to see museums and galleries. A true
immersion for these exceptionally
the museum dedicated to the
core of the nation: Komitas.
E M E R G I N G A R T I S T S
Teacher and student, a bond for life.
CHRISTINA MEETS KOMITAS
capital. Parajanov Museum is a must see.
diligent and musical youths.
we heard of 13-year-old Mariam, a
talented prize-winning flute
in Gyumri, we knew she would be the
candidate for an instrument we received
Professor Simon Channing, Head of
at the world-renowned Royal
of Music in London. The timing of the
of this flute couldn’t have been better:
own flute was no longer functioning in
registers! With the help of the much-
instrument, she quickly won the
to perform with the local symphony
brother Alexandr, a pianist that the AAF
taken under its wing this year (the AAF
him weekly lessons with our
Tigran Berkelyan in Yerevan), won
prize at a competition securing him a TV
(pictured) and the opportunity to
in a tour taking him to Austria,
and Slovenia for concerts and
all expenses paid. 10-year-old
has an extraordinary talent and we
convinced, with Tigran’s guidance, he will
into a wonderful artist! Our promise
you, dear AAF supporters, is that your
always go a long way!
S P L E N D I D S I B L I N G S
orchestra. The possibilities are limitless now!
“CHILDREN SEE MAGIC
THEY LOOK FOR IT.”
― C H R I S T O P H E R M O O R E ―
AND ANI S., ANDIAMO!
vocal program quickly paying off with these two AAF Fellows
Fellows Ani G. and Narek, from the
village of Karaklugh, Ani K. from
and Arminé from Ejmiadzin
and got in their desired music
in Armenia. They will be working
the top voice teachers in the country.
thanks to our specialists Maro,
and Tatevik for getting them to
G., FROM MOUNTAIN TO CITY
Fellow of immense talent starting
Fellow of immense talent also starting
now at the Komitas Conservatory.
O N T H E G O !
studies now at the Komitas Conservatory.
NAREK, FROM SAME MOUNTAIN TO CITY
now enrolled in a top music college, full tuition paid.
ON THE GO!
such high levels. Now, the sky is the limit!
to this issue:
T K E N A
1 1 0 R u e H a r b o u r
a v a l , Q u e b e c
7 T 2 M 5
you been touched
the AAF by
us a short article
we’ll publish it
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and its activities?
C a n a d a