Luys i Luso is a unique project for piano and voices by Tigran Hamasyan featuring Yerevan State Chamber Choir conducted by Harutyun Topikyan.
Tigran’s new musical undertaking is the fresh and attractively youthful representation of the Armenian sacred music of the 5th to 20th centuries from his perspective and will be released by the internationally acclaimed record label ECM in September 2015. The repertoire ranges from enthralling hymns and sharakans (genre of Armenian chants) to breathtaking cantos by Grigor Narekatsi, Nerses Shnorhali, Mesrop Mashtots, Mkhitar Ayrivanetsi, Grigor Pahlavuni, Komitas, Makar Yekmalyan, etc., arranged for piano and voices by the pianist himself. All the compositions apart from “Patriarchal Ode” (Հայրապետական մաղթերգ) are written in grabar, also known as Classical Armenian – the oldest attested form of the Armenian Language.
Luys i Luso project tour will start on March 24, 2015 with a premiere in Yerevan, and then continue with performances in 100 churches in Georgia, Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Luxembourg, Russia and USA. The entire tour and the concerts will be recorded by a professional camera crew under the supervision of Emily Mkrtichian and Alex Igidbashian and Tigran Hamasyan and will come out as a separate film in 2016.
The main purpose of the project is to continue what the giants of Armenian sacred and folk music – Komitas Vardapet and Makar Yekmalyan started at the beginning of the century and express gratitude to the fathers of Armenian sacred hymns and chants by taking their music to the ancient churches and monasteries where it was born. For example, during the extensive tour throughout Turkey Tigran will perform in the historic province of Vaspurakan, where Grigor Narekatsi lived, but not at the actual monastery of Narekavank, as it no longer exists. The monastic complex was one of the most prominent in medieval Armenia and had a major school. It was abandoned in 1915 during the massacres, and demolished in 1951. Today, a mosque stands on its location. Within the frames of the project Tigran will perform the canto “Resurrection Song” (Տաղ Յարութեան) by Narekatsi.
Two other famous songs included in Luys i Luso are “Ov Zarmanali” (Ով զարմանալի) and “Patriarchal Ode” (Հայրապետական մաղթերգ) by Grigor Pahlavuni and Komitas respectively. The hymn “Ov Zarmanali” is performed during Blessing of Water(Ջրօրհնեք), after the Divine Liturgy. It has reached us together with its melody and reflects the intricacies of ancient Cilician chants.
It is believed that the author of “Patriarchal Ode” by Komitas is the national poet of Armenia Hovhannes Tumanyan. The composition is dedicated to the Patriarch of Constantinople Mkrtich Khrimian. In the second half of the 19th century Khrimian ‘Hayrik’ served as a priest at Aghtamar monastery located in the same province where Grigor Narekatsi comes from – Vaspurakan. After getting unanimously elected as Catholicos of All Armenians, he moved to the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. Because of his fatherly love and dedication to his people and nation, Mkrtich Khrimian was affectionately called Khrimian "Hayrik", meaning "father" in the Armenian language. He was an important religious and political leader of his time and a father figure for Komitas. The mission of Mkrtich Khrimian was to save the Armenian people and lands, while Komitas tried to save the Armenian culture from extinction.
Mesrop Mashtots is another key figure in the history of Armenia, whose sacred hymns “Ankanim Arachi Qo” (Անկանիմ առաջի Քո) is also to be found in the project. This well known theologian, composer, hymnologist and linguist invented the new Armenian script circa 405 AD, thus establishing the Golden Age of Armenian Christian Literature. A collection of biblical commentaries, liturgical prayers and sharakans constructed on a system of eight musical mode is credited to him, corroborating his reputation for having laid the foundation of the Armenian liturgy. One of the most famous collection of hymns attributed to him is Hymn of Repentance, and “Ankanim Arachi Qo” is part of that collection, also known as Sharakans of Repentance.
Yerevan State Chamber Choir
The choir was founded under patronage of Catholicos of all Armenians, His Holiness Garegin I (year 1996) aiming performance of national classics and contemporary masterpieces. Up to now they have recorded 10 CD’s. Main repertoire of the Choir includes Armenian classics and contemporary composers, European and Russian classics and contemporary composers, jazz composers.
Art Director and Chief Conductor
Accompanist / Consultant
Although trained as a classical and jazz musician, Tigran Hamasyan draws on a wide range of influences, including Armenian folk music, rock, electronica, poetry, and more, In the past decade, with the release of four critically acclaimed albums and an unceasing touring schedule, he has built up a dedicated international following, as well as accolades from the likes of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Brad Mehldau. In the words of the Guardian, Hamasyan ‘is guided by one of [mentor and fan Herbie Hancock’s] most enduring lessons: it's possible to be a multi-stylistic jazz virtuoso and a groove-powered hitmaker simultaneously and hugely enjoy all of it.’ The Times said of his most recent release, 2013’s Shadow Theater, ‘Armenian folk, electronic loops, heavenly voices and indie rock energy vie with Hamasyan’s rippling piano to create a dramatic, deeply melodic music unlike anything else you’ll hear this year.’
Hamasyan was born in Armenia in 1987, before relocating with his family to Los Angeles in 2003. He currently resides in Erevan, Armenia. He began playing piano at the age of three, and started performing in festivals and competitions when he was 11 years old, winning the Montreux Jazz Festival’s piano competition in 2003. He released his debut album, World Passion, at the age of 18 in 2006. That same year he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Subsequent albums include New Era (2008), Red Hail (2009), and A Fable (2011), for which he was awarded a Victoires de la Musique (the equivalent of a Grammy Award in France). Most recently he won the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Contemporary Music in 2013.
His first album for Universal recorded in Paris on solo piano, "A Fable", was released in 2011. It sold impressively well for an instrumental album with 30,000 units. It received praises throughout including winning a French Grammy award in 2011. Tigran's rising stature in music garners notice globally wherever he has been able to be heard.
Tigran truly has a unique profile. Not only can he display dazzling piano dexterity, but also an undeniably profound sense of composition. He's equally at ease with jazz, classical music, Armenian popular repertoire, rock, heavy metal, or avant-garde, Armenian sacred music. Tigran Hamasyan’s Nonesuch Records debut album, Mockroot, will be released in February 2015. Hamasyan’s music draws from a wide range of sources—from jazz and Armenian folk music; Bach and French fin de siècle composers; dubstep, thrash metal, and contemporary electronica. His live performances and six studio albums have received enthusiastic approval from the likes of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Brad Mehldau.
Where his last album, 2013’s Shadow Theatre, featured an extended band with choral sections, strings, and saxes, Mockroot is based around the tight trio of Hamasyan on piano and vocals, Sam Minaie on bass guitar, and Arthur Hnatek on drums.
Tigran’ second project for the year of 2015 is very special - It features Hamasyan on piano and the Yerevan state chamber choir directed by Harutyun Topikyan. The new project, named “Luys i Luso” which will be released by the record label ECM in Autumn 2015, is Tigran’s uniquely fresh interpretation of Armenian sacred music from 5th to 19th centuries, and includes compositions by Mesrop Mashtots, Grigor Naregatsi, Nerses Shnorhali, Mkhitar Ayrivanetsi, Khachatur Taronetsi, Makar Yekmalyan and Komitas – all of them arranged for piano and voices by Tigran himself. Hamasyan and the choir will be touring extensively with “Luys i Luso” project starting March 2015.
“A-may-zing! Now, Tigran, you are my teacher”
— Herbie Hancock, onstage Festival Orleans Jazz
“A mature and great and rich and deep artist“
— Chick Corea, August 2011
“He plays piano like a raga, the next Keith Jarrett“
— Trilok Gurtu, Theatre Du Chatelet March 2011
“Tigran really grabbed me, in this really cool way“
— Brad Mehldau, NY Times 2011
•The choir was founded under patronage of Catholicos of all Armenians, His Holiness Garegin I (year 1996) aiming performance of national classics and contemporary masterpieces. Up to now they have recorded 10 CD’s. Main repertoire of the Choir includes Armenian classics and contemporary composers, European and Russian classics and contemporary composers, jazz composers.
— The Guardian
"Tigran stands out for his burning intensity"
— The Telegraph
"With a firm yet delicate touch, Tigran lets the melody sing"
— Later with Jools Holland
"His touch is sublime"
“Tigran has found a way to keep improvisation fresh and lyrical. Other jazz musicians would be wise to take note.”
“There are many brilliant and perfectly finished young jazz pianists around, but Hamasyan stands out because he has something important and urgent to say.”
— Daily Telegraph
Luys i luso calligraphic type
For inquiries please contact
Manager: Pascal Pilorget, GiantSteps
+33 (0)1 47 09 39 06
+33 (0)6 18 42 44 76
Technical assistant: Armine Khamoyan
Press: Christian Stolberg
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