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Orchestra of the Competition

The State Youth Orchestra of Armenia

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MiniKulturi Republic of Armenia Ministry of Culture

The State Youth Orchestra of Armenia was founded in 2005 by conductor Sergey Smbatyan, who is also its artistic director and principal conductor. Young and talented musicians’ maturity to follow the right path of life, diligence and devotion to the art had a significant contribution to the establishment of the Orchestra. Musicians are full of energy and purposefulness thus smoothing way for great stages and rapidly increasing international awards. The orchestra performed with numerous concerts both in Armenia and beyond its borders. It has managed to enjoy popularity and high appraisal of the audience in the most prestigious concert halls in Germany, France, Russia, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and other countries.

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Headed by Sergey Smbatyan the orchestra has performed in such famous concert halls as Opera Garnier (Paris), Konzerthaus (Berlin), Dr. Anton Philipszaal (Hague), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels), P.Tchaikovsky Philharmonic Concert Hall and Conservatory Great Concert Hall (Moscow), etc. With close-creative relations with the masters of the world stage Valery Gergiev, Krzysztof Penderecki, Vladimir Spivakov, Grigori Zhislin, Maxim Vengerov, Denis Matsuev, Vadim Repin, Vahagn Papyan, Boris Berezovsky and many others the orchestra has reached new heights in the music industry. Since 2007 SYOA has been the official orchestra of Aram Khachaturian International Competition. In 2008 on the special decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia the orchestra was granted the title of State Orchestra for their high professionalism and expansion of contemporary music.

Since 2009 SYOA has been a member of European Federation of National Youth Orchestras (EFNYO). The State Youth Orchestra of Armenia honourably justifies its existence. Young musicians are persistent initiators of series of charitable activities in Armenia and overseas. They always make an indivisible part of prestigious international festivals, to name a few, “Moscow Easter Festival” (Moscow), “YOUNG.EURO.CLASSIC’’ (Berlin), ''Odessa meets friends'' (Odessa), "Kultursommer Nordhessen" (Kassel), "Young.Classic.Wratislavia" (Wroclaw) and many others. On the 20th Anniversary of the RA Independence the Orchestra started a concert tour around Europe. Performing multi genre playlist by Armenian, Russian and west-European composers, the musicians once again inspired the audience by their professionalism. The wide repertoire of the orchestra ranges from classical to contemporary genre. Starting from 2010 the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia has been holding the Armenian Composers’ Art Festival under the high patronage of the RA President. In 2011 the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia, headed by the artistic director and principal conductor Sergey Smbatyan, released its first CD under the title "Music is the answer". Recorded at "Sony DADC" recording studio the CD includes works by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Dmitri Shostakovich and Eduard Hayrapetyan. The CD is also available on iTunes.

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In 2012 personally by the RA President Serzh Sargsyan the Orchestra was awarded the prize “Haykyan” established by the Youth Foundation of Armenia and was recognized the best in the category “Organization, which best represented cultural values among young generation”. In 2013 during the Musica Riva International Festival State Youth Orchestra of Armenia performed with the pianist Aldo Ciccolini. In March of 2014 the Orchestra was invited to be the official orchestra of the Al Bustan International Festival in Lebanon, where the SYOA musicians performed with world’s renowned artists, such as Antonio Meneses (cello), Gianluca Marciano (conductor), etc.

Special thanks to The Armenian Community of China, The Izmirlian Foundation, Jack and Julie Maxian, Greg and Stephanie Djerejian, Andrew and Laura Bazarian, Norbert Topouzoglou, Artyom and Maria Grigoryan, Nareg Arslanian, Henri and Lara Arslanian.

Sergey Smbatyan, conductor

Sergey Smbatyan was born in 1987 in Yerevan into a family of musicians. At the age of four he started to learn the violin and was first taught by his grandmother before later studying with Bagrat Vardanyan and Zakhar Bron. He began his career as a violinist at the age of 13 and has received a number of awards at international violin competitions in Japan, Romania and Italy. As a soloist, Mr. Smbatyan has performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Moscow Academic State Symphony Orchestra, to name a few. While becoming an accomplished concert violinist, Mr. Smbatyan showed great interest in conducting and started his studies at the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, where he attended conducting lessons of Yuri Davtyan, and the legendary Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. He graduated from both schools in 2009.

In 2005, when only 18 years old, Mr. Smbatyan founded the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia, which consists of young talented students and postgraduate students of the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, and became the Orchestra's Artistic Director and Music Director. A year later, SYOA was named the official orchestra of the Aram Khachaturian International Competition and in 2008 the President of the Republic of Armenia granted the Orchestra the prestigious status of a "State Orchestra" for their high professionalism and deep understanding of contemporary music.

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Under Mr. Smbatyan's leadership, SYOA received invitations to renowned festivals such as Young Euro Classics, Crescendo and the Moscow Easter Festival, and performed at major venues including the Konzerthaus in Berlin, Opera Garnier in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and the Tchaikovsky concert Hall in Moscow. The Orchestra continues to perform regularly, giving 35-40 concerts each season. It has appeared at leading international festivals in collaborations with Vladimir Spivakov, Vadim Repin, Krysztof Penderecki, Maxim Vengerov, Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Simonyan and Denis Matsuev among others. Mr. Smbatyan made his London conducting debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in spring 2010 as part of HRH Prince Charles' charity concert at the Windsor Castle. He conducted the orchestra again in 2011. The same year, he was selected to take part in the London Symphony Orchestra's public master classes as part of the "LSO Discovery" program for young conducting talents. Within this program, Mr. Smbatyan worked with the LSO under the direction of Valery Gergiev and Sir Colin Davis. In addition, he has taken conducting lessons with Riccardo Muti. Highlights of his 2012/2013 season are performances with the Dresdner Philharmonie in the Frauenkirche Dresden and at the Dvořák Prague Festival with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.

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A champion of Armenian contemporary music, Mr. Smbatyan is the co-founder of ACAF, the Armenian Composing Arts Festival. He also seeks active participation in charity projects, conducting at nursing houses, orphanages and universities throughout Armenia. In 2009 he founded the UNICEF Children Orchestra which gave numerous performances in Armenia and in Europe. Sergey Smbatyan received his PhD in Fine Arts from the Institute of Arts of National Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 2009. In May 2012 he graduated from Royal Academy in London. Sergey Smbatyan is represented worldwide by Tanja Dorn/ IMG Artists.

VIVACELL - the official sponsor of the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia

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