Composer and musicologist Artur Shahnazaryan examines the legacy of Komitas, whose music evokes an entire ethos of homeland and belonging for Armenians. Komitas was many things in his life, among them composer, singer, priest, collector and arranger of folk songs, choirmaster, and scholar of the Medieval Armenian khaz notation system. Here, Shahnazaryan considers Komitas’s contributions to the preservation of Armenian folk music—and by extension, an entire culture that was at the brink of extinction at the turn of the 20th century—and why he holds such a sacred place and meaning in the Armenian consciousness.
On view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the fall of 2018, Armenia! is the Museum’s first large-scale exhibition dedicated to the artistic and cultural achievements of the Armenian people in the Middle Ages. In a series of videos for AGBU WebTalks, the curators of the show discussed the significance of this unique exhibition and the works represented in it. Here, Dr. Helen Evans explores the importance of Armenia to world art, how Armenians developed a distinct form of Christian art that is related to but not fully part of Western traditions, and the important ways in which they influenced and integrated into the larger world by their control of trade routes in the Middle Ages.