CultureGenocide 100

Cornell concert to commemorate Armenian Genocide

Crossing Borders LIVE and the Cornell Armenian Student Organization will present a concert to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 1915, when more than 1.5 million Armenians in the Middle East died. The concert, part of a monthlong series of events, takes place at the Cornell University on April 8, Ithaca Journal reports.

Featured artists will be songwriter-pianist Louise Nalbandian, of San Francisco, and keyboardist-composer Michael Stark, of Ithaca. Also participating will be Anna Srapionyan and Gnel Gabrielyan, Mane Mehrabyan, all of Yerevan, Armenia; Martiros Skakhzadyan, Denice Karamardian and Owen Miller. The evening will include introductions to Armenian traditional music, language and poetry, summaries of genocide and denial, personal presentations and the contemporary musical styles of the featured artists.

Through her involvement with Armenian folk singer Hasmik Harutyunyan, Nalbandian has researched and performed the music of Komitas and other Armenian repertoire in the U.S., as well as in Yerevan, Armenia, where she recently completed a 2014 tour. Performing in various bands over the years, she brings her background of classical music to the fore, but has honed her interest in contemporary pop/rock/blues styles as well, bringing these elements to her songwriting.

Composer/pianist/organist Michael Stark moved to Ithaca in 1995 from New York City, where he has evolved into a revered and internationally acclaimed musician. He has backed and recorded with celebrated artists including Hank Roberts, Johnny Dowd, Mary Lorson, Kevin Kinsella, Jennie Stearns and Bronwen Exeter, among many more. His own projects include Wingnut, Tzar, Orbiting Art Ensemble and a regular house musical host at the Argos Inn. For this setting, he explores his Armenian heritage.

Preceding the concert is a lecture presentation titled “Denial of Violence,” by Fatma Muge Gocek. A table exhibition of materials on the subject of the genocide and Armenian culture will be presented at the Tompkins County Public Library the week of April 20, and at Mann Library on April 24, which is the official anniversary date of the genocide, acknowledged in many countries, but not in the United States and Israel.

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