In Southern California where chamber music is thriving and world-class musical performances await just around the corner, the Dilijan Chamber Series manages to distinguish itself from the rest. Not only by way of some of the stellar artists that grace its programs – among them Kim Kashkashian, Armen Ksajikian, Vladmir Chernov, Richard O’Neill, Vatsche Barsoumian, Kuniko Kato, as well as Movses Pogossian himself – but also by the unique perspective it offers its audience into Armenian culture.
It was a celebration of culture that also became a homecoming last June as Pogossian led the Dilijan players for an eight-day festival in Armenia.
“Many of my dreams were fulfilled on that journey,” recalled Pogossian. “For me, personally, it was a touching and moving experience to come back to Armenia in my capacity as musician and artistic director of Dilijan. It was very special.”
Dilijan’s festival in Armenia proved to be not only a personal triumph, but also an artistic one as well. Though the programs in the festival tilted towards contemporary music, the traditionally conservative Armenian audience received the music rapturously.
“That aspect was important to me,” he said. “It was about linking together great masters from the past with great composers of today. All of it is great music and I wanted the listeners to appreciate that.”
Now Dilijan returns to Los Angeles for its eighth season fusing tradition, modernity, and Armenian culture starting on Sept. 30. Its first concert of the season begins with an all-French program. Music that, Pogossian says, he’s “always happy to find the opportunity to play.”
In a typical touch that enlivens the past with a whiff of the new, Dilijan has programmed the music of the little-known Turkish-Armenian composer Edgar Manas alongside Saint-Saëns, Debussy, and Fauré for the season’s first concert. When Pogossian first encountered the score to Manas’ 1923 “Violin Sonata,” he immediately was won over by it.
“It’s so very French sounding,” he said. “Very elegant. Manas composed it while he was living in Paris. So it breathes with the influence of French culture of the time. A beautiful work.”
Pogossian also waxed enthusiastic about a new season that will feature many premieres by some of the most respected composers of our day including Ian Krouse, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Artur Avanesov. With respect to Avanesov, Pogossian detailed his deep love and respect for the composer’s work.
“I like to call him the ‘Armenian Thomas Adès.’ He has this incredible range as composer and performing musician. So in February I wanted to give the audience a chance to hear the different facets of Avanesov. First as my recital partner, then as composer. He truly is a remarkable composer.”
With only less than two weeks before the Dilijan season begins, Pogossian is already beaming in anticipation.
“Organizing and working with Dilijan is something I love deeply. To think that many of the musicians that were once only names to me when I was student are now my chamber partners and close friends, it’s just incredible. I’m so happy to that Dilijan has brought us together to touch our listeners.”
Tickets for Dilijan’s concerts are available by calling (818) 500-9997 or by going online to http://www.larkmusicalsociety.com/dilijan/tickets.php.
Tickets are also available at the door on the day of the concert.