Aram Hohvannisyan

by Anna Harutyunyan

Classical Archives is pleased to present this interview that Anna Harutyunyan conducted with with Aram Hovhannisyan, one of the most important new composers in his native Armenia and increasingly, on the world stage. 

When did you start composing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

Everything started when I was just 10-11 years old. Of course, at that time I was not actually composing, those were just my first attempts before the professional education.

The world of sound and the temptation to explore new sound ideas is the source of my inspiration. It is breathtaking how you can combine two completely different sounds into a new one.

What are currently your main compositional projects?

At this moment, I am working on two big projects. The first one is called “Untitled.” It’s a piece written for flute inspired by abstract expressionists’ works. The second piece I am working on is for the Mizmorim festival. Also, recently it was the premiere of my chamber concert (Strophes-Segments II) in Bern.

What do you usually start with when composing?

Well, every composer has got their way of composing music. It all depends on the environment you are in and the circumstances too. I always start my works from a sketchbook. The graphic sketches allow me to translate my idea to paper instantly. After the graphic build-up of my musical figure, I start working on the score.

How, do you feel, could contemporary compositions reach the attention of a wider audience?

Unlike classical music or different types of alternative music, contemporary music has never had a large audience. To appreciate the contemporary classical music, you have to try to conceive the musical material but never compare it with anything else. Contemporary music is more about meditation rather than pleasure. Though, often, the combination of various sounds and timbres can be fascinating.

Please recommend two artists to our readers that you feel deserve their attention.

Most probably, those two will be Karlheinz Stockhausen and Fausto Romitelli: though it’s tough to mention just two names.

How did you come up with the idea of Symbolium?

Well, my composer friend Andranik Berberyan has come up with the idea of Symbolium. Symbolium is a platform that showcases both basic and extended techniques for many classical music instruments. Apart from the video tutorials for each technique, you will find respective notation symbols and their synonyms, too.

We do hope that this platform or the digital library (this is how we call it) will make it easier to do research and will save time for the contemporary music composers.

What advice would you give to young musicians?

Follow the stream of your ideas and try to realize them with the utmost creativity and care.