The Armenian Weekly about the Musical Dialogues in National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

National Gallery of Art’s “Musical Dialogues” Spotlights Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide-era humanitarian efforts of Norwegian diplomat Fridtjof Nansen and missionary Bodil Catharina Biorn took center stage at a special National Gallery of Art Easter Day concert, titled “Musical Dialogues,” highlighting the important role of music in conflict resolution and healing following political upheaval. Nansen and Biorn’s selfless actions during the Armenian Genocide saved over 300,000 orphans from death and starvation. Nansen’s efforts later inspired the Nansen Dialogue Center, a Norwegian cultural organization established in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the wars in the Western Balkans in the 1990s.

The National Gallery concert featured Armenian and Bosnian classics as well as contemporary Norwegian pieces dedicated to Nansen and Biorn. The concert included performances by: Mariam Kharatyan, piano; Adema Pljevljak-Krehic, soprano; Maja Ackar Zlatarevic, piano; Vincent Kok, flute Adam Gruchot, violin; and presentations by: Randi Margrethe Eidsaa and Jorn E. Schau.

“History is full of political and social triumphs, violent conflicts, and human tragedies,” explained Kharatyan, in her program note accompanying the concert.  “We have developed the concept of this concert to mirror historical turning points, to pay homage to those who dedicated their lives to helping people, and to standing strong together in demanding situation.”  Kharatyan and her musician colleagues chose Armenian folk melodies including “Shushiki” from Komitas’ “Folk Dances,” the instrumentals “It’s Spring” and “Crane” (Kroonk).  She dazzled audiences with her interpretation of Aram Khachaturian’s Adagio from the ballet “Spartacus,” and several other Khachaturian pieces.

Mariam Kharatyan performs (Photo: Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee of Greater Washington)


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