Armenian violinist Ani Batikian performs with London Phoenix Orchestra

On Thursday 29th June 2017, the talented and award-winning Armenian violinist Ani Batikian performed in a concert with the London Phoenix Orchestra, conducted by Lev Parikian at the prestigious venue of Cadogan Hall near London’s Sloane Square. Themed as “The Art and Folk Music of Eastern Europe”, the evening consisted of pieces selected to convey how folk dances and art inspire a composer’s music.

The works included the “Little Suite” by Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, based on dances from the south of Poland, followed by Aram Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, which uses thematic elements from Armenian folk melodies, and Modest Mussorgsky’s orchestral arrangement of “Pictures at an Exhibition”. The concert also included the world première of a commissioned orchestral piece with violin solo written by Ani Batikian’s composer husband, Roland Roberts, inspired by marine painter Hovhaness Aivazovsky’s most famous painting “The Ninth Wave”.

It was dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the artist’s birth being celebrated this year. Batikian’s performance of Khachaturian’s violin concerto was inspiring and flawless, showcasing her remarkable skill and art as a violinist. Throughout Khachaturian concerto Ani was able to hold the audience’s attention, enthralling them with her enchanting performance and captivating with the sweet sound of Montagnana violin, worth almost £900,000 and lent by Ingles & Hayday, Sotheby’s violin experts.

Roland Roberts’ composition, in the Russian Romantic style with Armenian elements, beautifully conveyed the story of Aivazovsky’s painting, taking the listener on a journey from the calm before the storm to a dynamic crescendo as the sailors face the battering waves. The symphonic orchestra powerfully displayed a palette of colours and possibilities alongside the expressive beauty of a solo violin. Aivazovsky’s most famous painting now has a dedicated composition to accompany it.

The audience was enraptured by the piece with the composer taking stage beside his wife at the end. The musicians of the London Phoenix Orchestra, founded in 1924, played with much passion and skill under Parikian’s guidance as conductor. The event was sponsored and co-organised by the Tekeyan Cultural Association of London

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