Los Angeles Daily News – Inspired by music spanning the globe, the Armenian Pops Orchestra is celebrating the spirit of the Armenian people with a concert called “Sounds of the Diaspora.”
“It’s a celebration of life, of Armenian music, of us prospering as Armenians in different parts of the world,” said Greg Hosharian, who will conduct the orchestra during Sunday’s concert at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena.
The two-hour concert will span genres, including jazz, pop and rock, and will feature instruments not often heard in orchestras, such as guitars and a bouzouki, a Greek instrument that resembles a guitar.
“It’s all kinds of styles with a more classical setting,” Hosharian said.
It will also reflect the adopted cultures of Armenian people who have settled all over the world.
The audience will hear music from such places as Greece, South America, the Middle East, Russia and the United States that’s been created by Armenian composers or songs that have inspired the Armenian community.
Some of the songs people will hear include the theme to “Zorba the Greek,” the “Russian Sailors Dance” and a piece by Brazil-based composer Alexey Kurkdjian called “The Legend of Boto.”
Hosharian will also debut his new original work called “Castle.”
“It’s very spirited music reflecting some Armenian folk melodies and of course original compositions,” said flutist Salpy Kerkonian, who assembled the orchestra for the concert.
“It’s going to be a very dynamic night,” she added.
The concert, which benefits the Edward Hosharian Scholarship Fund founded by the conductor’s late father, occurs at a poignant time for the Armenian community.
The show is set to take place just a few weeks before the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide, which culminated in the deaths of some 1.5 million Armenians, as well as Greeks and Assyrians, systematically killed by the Ottoman government.
“This program with its theme of ‘Sounds of the Diaspora’ is very inspiring because we’re still here,” Kerkonian said, adding that her grandparents survived the genocide. “It says that we survived, and we are expressing ourselves through our culture.”
While the music is meant to chronicle the plight of Armenians who had to flee their homeland and settle in other places across the globe, the musicians promise that this is not going to be a somber night.
“Some of them (songs) are slow and they’re going to grab you by the heart, and then some of them are just going to make you want to stand up and dance,” said violinist Anna Kostyuchek.