YEREVAN, April 24. / ARKA /. Konstantin Orbelian was a talented composer of symphonic, ballet, chamber, jazz, and popular music. He was the recipient of many Soviet and international awards.
Konstantin Orbelian was acknowledged as a pianist and improviser since he was in his teens. At age fifteen, he was invited to perform with the Armenian State Pop Orchestra; and subsequently became its conductor.
Under his able direction for thirty-six years, the Orchestra rose to become one of the most accomplished of its kind. As a result, it came to represent Soviet jazz in more than thirty countries in Eastern and Western Europe, the Near East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
One of the Orchestra’s highlights was its American tour in 1975, which included twenty-five concerts in major cities from coast to coast.
Graduating in composition and piano from Edward Mirzoyan’s class of composition at Yerevan’s Komitas Conservatory in 1963, Orbelian achieved early recognition for his String Quartet, winning the coveted First Prize at the International Competition in Moscow, where the chairman of the Competition’s panel of judges was the composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
As a result, Orbelian’s rising talent and success were noted with great appreciation by the doyen of Armenian music of the time, Aram Khachaturian. Next followed the premiere of Orbelian’s First Symphony in Moscow’s famous Tchaikovsky Hall by the USSR State Symphony Orchestra. For this Symphony, Orbelian was awarded the title “Laureate of the All-Union Competition.”
His subsequent Celebration Overture achieved the same acclaim. His ballet symphony “Immortality” was composed in 1975 and performed by the Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theater. This work, too, won First Prize in an All-Union Competition devoted to music for the stage.
In the beginning of the 90’s after the collapse of the Soviet Union working with the orchestra and creating music became very difficult. In 1992 Konstantin Orbelian moved to San Francisco, and then to Los Angeles.
During the recent years 8 new CDs were released in Los Angeles with compositions for symphonic orchestra, as well as pop and jazz music. -0-