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Vardapet Komitas

born: 26 September 1869
died: 22 October 1935
country: Armenia

Komitas Vardapet was one of the most renowned Armenian priests and a composer, choir leader, singer, music ethnologist, music pedagogue and musicologist. Many regard him as the founder of modern Armenian classical music. Komitas learned a great deal of music from the monks at the Echmiadzin Seminary and studied music with the famous composer Kara-Mourza, which eventually led him into both secular and religious composition. In 1896 he was awarded a doctorate degree in musicology and later returned to Echmiadzin as Choir Director and Instructor of Music.

Komitas wrote over three thousand songs in Armenian, Arabic, Kurdish, and Persian, and also contributed significantly to the modern Armenian Patarag (Armenian Church liturgy or mass). His enduring contribution to the musical world was to rediscover Armenian medieval sacred as well as folk music, and he was the first non-European to be a member of the International Music Society. As a composer, singer and conductor Komitas performed in Paris, Geneva, Berne, Constantinople, Venice, and Alexandria.


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