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Armen Donelian

b. 1 December 1950, New York City, New York, USA. Of Armenian descent, Donelian studied music formally from an early age, chiefly at Westchester Conservatory of Music, White Plains, New York, and also at Columbia University in New York City. Meanwhile, he also assimilated folk music of Armenian origin as well as that of neighbouring countries in the eastern Mediterranean region. Although his formal musical education was classical, from his early teens he was also interested in jazz and played in a band led by guitarist Art Ryerson, Snr. Following his graduation in 1972, Donelian began playing jazz in New York, including spells with pianist Richie Beirach and percussionist Mongo Santamaría. With the latter he recorded and also provided compositions, some of which were featured on Santamaría’s 1976 Grammy Award-winning Sofrito.

Through the late 70s and early 80s, Donelian worked regularly with noted jazz artists such as Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker, Billy Harper, Eddie Gomez, Billy Hart, Paquito D’Rivera, Anne Marie Moss and Jerry Tilitz. In the mid-80s, he resumed his studies, this time concentrating on classical music, meanwhile continuing to play and record jazz. In the late 80s and early 90s, he was with Night Ark, touring extensively in Europe and the Middle East as well as the USA, and he also worked with vocalist Datevik Hovanesian. Among the many musicians with whom Donelian has worked and sometimes recorded are bass player Carl Morten Iversen, drummer Audun Kleive, saxophonists Thomas Chapin, Marc Mommaas and Dick Oatts, trumpeter Barry Danielian, bass players Anthony Cox and Calvin Hill and drummers Bill Stewart and Jeff Williams.

Since 1986, Donelian has been active in music education, including being on the faculty of the New School Jazz Program and New Jersey’s William Paterson University. He received four Jazz Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts during the 90s and in 2000 was awarded a Fellowship in Music Composition from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, which allowed him to continue developing his classical concepts. In 2002 his educational work in Armenia was recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship, which led to visits to countries in eastern Europe and of the former USSR. A Fulbright Senior Specialist Award in 2003 took him back to Armenia for yet more educational projects. He has also conducted master classes in the USA and Armenia. Among Donelian’s books is the two-volume Training The Ear (1992 and 2003).
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Sayat-Nova: Songs Of My Ancestors

Disc 1

1. Where Do You Come From, Wandering Nightingale? / Oosdi Goukas Gharib Blbool

2. I Have Traveled The Whole World Over / Tamam Ashkhar Bdood Eka

3. Without You, What Will I Do? / Arantz Kez Eench Goneem

4. Surely, You Don't Say That You Also Cry? / Ches Asoum Te Latz-Es Eli

5. I'll Never Know Your True Worth / Hees Koo Gheemetn Cheem Geetee

6. I Call Lalanin / Hees Ganchoom Eem Lalaneen

7. Praised Among All Instruments / Amen Sazi Mechn Govats (Kamanche)

8. With The Nightingale You Also Cry / Blbooli-Hit Latz-Es Eli

9. Were I Offered Your Weight In Pearls / Tekouz Koo Kashn Markrit Tan

Disc 2

1. King Of Cathay / Shahkhatayee

2. Your Headdress Is Silver And Silk / Tasdamazt Sim Oo Sharbab

3. My Sweet Harp / Eem Anoush Davigh

4. You Are Golden And Exotic Brocade / Tipa Oo Yenkitoonia

5. As Long As I Draw Breath / Kani Vor Jan Eem

x

Track List: Full Moon Music

1. Preamble

2. A Call To The Spirits

3. The Witch's Cauldron

4. Nostalgia

5. Fractured Dream

6. On The Dark Side Of The Moon

7. When A Girl Dreams Of Love

8. Beer Drinkers' Anthem

9. Springtime In The Rose Garden

10. Barren Landscape

11. Young Asses At Play

12. Blues Montage

13. Pilgrimage

14. Redemption

x

Track List: Mystic Heights

1. Ode

2. Devotion

3. Bare Hearts

4. Little Flower

5. Amour

6. Exiled Dreams

7. Mexico

8. Spree

Comments

Report as inappropriate
lawrence_amm o n s
I wish the 'sideman' were listed as well as the artist.
Report as inappropriate
Donelian came to University of Virginia once and I had a chance to watch his performance live :)
Report as inappropriate
Solo Piano

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