Maker of Armenia’s film music has died, at 75

The Armenian government has announced the death yesterday of Yuri Harutyunyan, head of music at Armenfilm from 1967 to 1996 and founder of the Recording-Brevis label in the Armenian Composers’ Union.

On his own account, Harutyunyan composed 75 film scores.


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  • Basia Jawsorski, re Armenian composers:

    From his name, Yuri A. could be related to Alexander Arutunian, composer of a famous trumpet concerto and a later one for trombon. He died in Yerevan 2012 at a great age.

    Arutunian recorded an Armenian fantasy or rhapsody for two pianos with its composer Arno Babadjanian, a countryman.

    Other familiar Armenian composers are Alan Hovhaness(arian), who wrote more symphonies than Haydn, including one on the eruption of Mt. St. Helens; and Aram Khachaturian, who wrote “Gayne” and “Spartacus” ballets, a piano concerto made famous in the USA by William Kapell during WWII, and symphonies, some of which Khachaturian recorded conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.

    The writer William Saroyan was of Armenian descent.

    • Dear Mr. Self,
      Hovhaness was born as Alan Vaness Chakmakjian.
      According to Wikipedia, after his mother’s death (on October 3, 1930), he began to use the surname “Hovaness” in honor of his paternal grandfather and changed it to “Hovhaness” around 1944.
      Thank you for mentioning the other Armenian composers. There’s much lovely Armenian classical music that never gets performed in the West.
      BTW, my wife’s father (surname Kiramidjian), who died at the age of 102, went to high school with Saroyan in Fresno.

  • Many thanks for your information about Alan H.’s evolving surname, Greg Bpttini. I admit the spellings sometime defeat me. He was a good pianist and made a CD of his songs accompanying a bass-baritone, possibly Berberian. If not, then he goes on the list.

    Armenians count many creative, musical, and art-loving persons among them. They often are also long-lived, like your father-in-law. As soon as I read your comment, I remembered that William Saroyan came from the Central Valley in California.

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