Lusine Grigoryan

Biography by

Armenian pianist Lusine Grigoryan emerged in 2017 with a recording on the ECM label of music by Komitas (Komitas Vardapet).
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Armenian pianist Lusine Grigoryan emerged on recordings with a disc of music by Komitas (Komitas Vardapet) on the ECM label. She was admirably equipped for the project, having committed herself to the same program of classical music studies and investigations of Armenian folk music that Komitas himself had carried out.

Born in Gyumuri, Armenia, Grigoryan went to a music school in Akhuryan and then the Kara-Murza Music College, and finally the Yerevan State Komitas Conservatory. The school was named for Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935), the dean of Armenian composers (also known as Soghomon Soghomonian), whose sacred-secular fusions drew on his deep study of Armenian folk traditions. Grigoryan undertook studies similar to Komitas' own. The result, in the words of Paul Griffiths (writing in the booklet notes for the Komitas: Seven Songs album), was that "In Lusine Grigoryan, Komitas' piano music has an interpreter deeply versed not just in what is on the page, but in the whole folk music background. Her legato phrasing might suggest the duduk, her staccatos the tar; drums and zurna are here, too, together with a folk-like flexibility of rhythm. She also achieves a mysterious presence in her playing such as is typical of rural or ritual music."

The Komitas: Seven Songs album was Grigoryan's debut, appearing in 2017 on ECM. The label had already devoted several recordings to the little-known Komitas, beginning with Kim Kashkashian's Hayren: Music of Komitas and Tigran Mansurian in 2000. But Seven Songs went further into the background of the music, thanks to notes by Grigoryan herself, drawing on her extensive knowledge of the tradition in which Komitas worked and on her own knowledge of the dances evoked by specific compositions. For the "Wrestling" section of the multipart work Msho Shoror, she explained that "kokh is Armenian traditional wrestling. This part starts with two or three beats of the drum, to announce a wrestling match, a symbolic contest of strength that yields to merriment, as the music reflects."