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Concept: Komitas Vardapet

This project is still a matter of the heart and dedicated to the great Armenian composer, artist, and musicologist Komitas Vardapet. Due to COVID, the project had to be postponed. We are eager to proceed and complete it together with our international partners as soon as possible.

The Inward Peace We Usually Call Courage

During his lifetime, Komitas Vardapet documented his own singings using a phonograph, which was a rarity at that time. We are sure that he would be thrilled to explore today's technical possibilities in order to overcome artistic, cultural, or physical boundaries.

If Komitas had written only "Antuni" that would be enough to regard him as a great musician.

- Claude Debussy

Komitas' repertoire as a composer and arranger offers great opportunities to present a diverse program of art songs, folk songs, liturgies, polyphonic choral singing and church music.

So we couldn't help but develop a concept for a multi-site concert to honour his incredible work.

The concert is intended to be realized as a cooperation of the National Research and Education Networks ASNET-AM (Armenia), ACOnet (Austria), GARR (Italy), and international venues and artists.


About Komitas

Komitas Vardapet (Soghomon Soghomonian, 1869 – 1935) was an Armenian composer, musician, ethnographer, scientist, conductor, singer, teacher, publicist and poet, and founder of Armenian classical music and Armenian composing school.

Born in 1869 in Kütahya, he studied in Etchmiadzin, Tbilisi and Berlin. He lived in Paris, Venice and Constantinople, among other places.

There is no doubt that he deeply influenced his environment wherever he was. His students, his audiences and his colleagues adored him equally.

Komitas dedicated his life to Armenian spiritual and folk music. He published numerous and highly regarded articles in specialist journals. His work as a musicologist, choirmaster, arranger and composer was accompanied by countless press releases and announcements in international newspapers. Komitas was a priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Even though his equal love for church and folk music led to controversies, he never tired of teaching against disdain and prejudice towards peasant music (at that time considered weak and sinful). As a skilled teacher and lecturer he tried to teach connecting elements, and to explain the different cultural influences in melodies and songs.

As a choir director he succeeded in forming choirs of several hundred singers. These choirs also supported and included female singers, which was not a matter of course for the church music of the time. Their acclaimed tours led them through the Ottoman Empire and Europe, and they also followed an invitation to Alexandria.

However, his brilliant creative period ended abruptly in 1915 with the Armenian Genocide. He survived, but not only his physical condition worsened extremely. From 1916 until his death he spent his time in various psychiatric institutes in Constantinople and France, where he died in 1935.


The Multi-Site Concert

The transmission of signals (mostly uncompressed) between different places in order to create multi-site performances in real time is one thing. Beyond that, there must be an added value for the artistic content.

If we cannot avoid transmission latencies, we have to integrate them – this applies not only to musical expression but also to all other forms of performing art.

The state-of-the-art technologies are incredibly fascinating. Working with (and not against) the internet opens exciting challenges for creativity and new approaches to the interpretation of artistic themes.

Our NREN colleagues from Italy (GARR) and the Czech Republic (CESNET) will join us to develop a truly multimedia audio-visual concept.

  • We will bring international musicians together in order to honour Komitas Vardapet and to celebrate his spirit, his soul and his courage.
  • We will learn from his music and once more surprise our audience with the experience of the artistic and technical challenges of live music events in real time at distributed locations.
  • If financially feasible, we will produce a livestream to reach as many audiences as possible around the globe.

Would you like to support the project?

We are looking for strategic partners for whom art, culture and technology form a unity and who see added value for their portfolio in such cooperations.

If you are looking for international attention, please read our sponsorship page.


Background & Intentions

The planned venues all have a special connection to Komitas Vardapet:

Yerevan, Armenia

Komitas was Armenian, so it is obvious to choose Armenia as a concert venue.

Fortunately, our network partners in Armenia (ASNET-AM and IIAP, see below) strive to intensify the cooperation of Armenian organizations (both nationally and internationally) and to offer Armenia's musicians, artists and scientists as many opportunities as possible to explore the capabilities of modern AV streaming technologies. Therefore, they are gladly willing to provide LoLa equipment as well as the network and technical support.

Vienna, Austria

The Austrian NREN ACOnet has already played a leading role in three internationally successful multi-site productions and draws on the resources of the Austrian art and culture scene to contribute to this intriguing topic. With Alexander de Goederen, we have a profound expert on the life and work of Komitas Vardapet at our side.

In addition to the Armenian Apostolic Church, Vienna is also home of the Armenian Catholic Church, which is closely associated with the Mekhitarist congregation. Members of the Armenian Apostolic Church have been living in Austria since the 17th century. Today there are about 7,000 Armenians in the country.

Venice, Italy

In 1907, Komitas visited and studied in Venice for three weeks. San Lazzaro degli Armeni, a small island in the Venetian Lagoon, accommodates the headquarters and, as such, one of the most important cultural centers of the Mekhitarist congregation. Here you will also find the death mask of Komitas Vardapet.

Venice culturally benefits from the influence and extensive collection of Armenian art and culture, which has been preserved in the monastery for centuries.

For organizational reasons we will nevertheless choose a venue directly in Venice.


Partners

The multi-site concert in honor of Komitas Vardapet is a joint project of the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) ASNET-AM, ACOnet and GARR. Negotiations with specific venues and artists are ongoing. Once details are set, we will post them here.

Yerevan, Armenia

Network Partner: ASNET-AM

The Academic Scientific Research Computer Network of Armenia (ASNET-AM) is the Armenian NREN. Created in 1994, ASNET-AM has many years of experience in Networking and IT. Its main aim is to provide state-of-the-art networking, computing and data solutions to academic, scientific, research, educational, cultural and other organisations of Armenia. Today, ASNET-AM interconnects more than 60 such organizations and integrates them into the pan-European GÉANT network.


In cooperation with: IIAP

The Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems (IIAP) is the leading research and technology development institute of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (NAS RA) in the sphere of applied mathematics and informatics. Since the foundation in 1957 (initially it was the Computer Centre of NAS RA and Yerevan State University), IIAP has played a remarkable role in Armenia through dissemination of culture in the fields of computer science and its applications.

Vienna, Austria

Network Partner: ACOnet

The Austrian NREN ACOnet is operated by the University of Vienna. ACOnet offers its members advanced high-performance access to the pan-European research and education community (GÉANT) and to the public Internet. ACOnet provides a resilient fibre optic backbone infrastructure, connecting more than 250 Austrian organisations such as universities, research facilities, universities of applied sciences, libraries, museums, medical institutions, ministries and local authorities.


In cooperation with: mdw

The mdw - University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna is among the world's largest and most renowned universities specialised in the performing arts of music, theatre and film. As an international leader for studies in music and other performing arts along with related academic disciplines since 1817, the university currently provides training to close to 3,000 students from over 70 countries in 115 degree programmes and 41 supplementary programmes.

Venice, Italy

Network Partner: GARR

GARR is the Italian NREN, providing high performance connectivity and advanced ICT services to researchers, teachers and students.

A non-profit organization founded by Universities and major research organizations in Italy, GARR manages a fully owned fibre optics network of 15,000 km, and offers advanced network services as well as Cloud services over its own Cloud infrastructure. Currently it interconnects more than 1,000 sites, including universities, music conservatories, art academies, research centres, laboratories, astronomical observatories, libraries, museums, monuments, schools, and other research, educational and cultural facilities.

GARR engages on strong collaborations with its user community to provide support for specific projects and design tailored solutions to meet their network and ICT requirements. In particular, the long-lasting collaboration with Tartini Music Conservatory in Trieste led to the design and implementation of LoLa, a system for the low latency transmission of high definition audio and video streams over geographical networks. Conceived in 2005, first released in 2010 and now enriched with a number of new features, LoLa is the response to the musicians' requirement of playing together from remote sites.