The promotion of the arts has been a priority for AGBU for many decades. We are particularly proud of our most recent contributions to this effort, including the creation of the Karabakh Chamber Orchestra, the support given to the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the renovation of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gyumri, and more specifically in France, the organization of the Centennial concert at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in 2015.

This year—2016—is an important year for AGBU France, which has recently created its own Performing Arts Department (PAD) in collaboration with its New York counterpart. It is a new step forward in developing AGBU’s mission, which aims to encourage young composers to take an interest in classical and traditional Armenian music. Within PAD France, there are many programs designed for talented musicians and composers, such as PAD Open Mics, PAD Master Classes, PAD Musical Instrument Loans and the Sayat Nova International Composition Competition, which predates the establishment of the department.

Since 2006, the Sayat Nova International Composition Competition has discovered composers of exceptional talent, helped them financially and disseminated their work. We are proud to have been able to support their work by sparking an interest in Armenian cultural heritage, from the musical to the poetic.

In the guidelines for the composers applying to the Sayat Nova International Composition Competition, essential figures in Armenian poetry have been included, among them Sayat Nova, Daniel Varoujan and, for the 2016 competition, Grigor Narekatsi. Furthermore, the composers were able to incorporate into their work traditional Armenian instruments, among them the duduk, the shvi and the dhol.

True unity has been created within AGBU, most notably between the Performing Arts Departments in New York and Paris, in order to offer the winners of the competition the best visibility possible on the world’s stage. The Carnegie Hall Prize is excellent proof of this unity.

Additionally, we are happy to allow our composers to shine and, through our programs, make use of certain aspects of Armenian cultural heritage, opening it up to the greatest number of people.

Both the winners and juries of previous competitions have always prioritized the search for excellence, while respecting the anonymity of the applicants.

We are looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition will bring in terms of the works that will mark a particular phase in the professional paths of the composers.

Nadia Gortzounian
President of AGBU France

Since its creation in 2006, the AGBU Sayat Nova International Composition Competition has aspired to be among the most innovative composition competitions.

We are particularly pleased to see the enthusiasm of the applicants for this competition, which has, since its inception, been unique in the way it prompts the creation of a work, combining classical and traditional Armenian instruments. It is an encounter between classical and Armenian folk music.

Furthermore, calling on Armenian poetry offers yet another dimension and allows composers from all over the world and from many different cultures to take an interest in Armenian literary heritage in the original or in translation.

In each of its years, the competition has grown and seen the establishment of the Carnegie Hall Award and the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra (ANPO) Award. From a practical perspective, having applicants submit their work online is truly advanced. For the 2016 competition, the winning works will be printed in a limited run.

We strongly encourage all composers to come discover Armenian culture and join the many talented composers who have already participated in the competition, which hopes to focus its attention on young composers whom we are relying on to build the future of the cultural heritage of humanity.

Founder of Sayat Nova International Composition Competition for AGBU-France. UGAB Performing Arts Department-France.

The AGBU Performing Arts Department (PAD) is dedicated to connecting young Armenian artists with their musical and artistic heritage, creating education and performance opportunities for the community’s emerging and established Armenian artists, and providing the international community with access to a talented pool of top performers.

Our heritage and our aspirations celebrate the creative journey inherent to our human experience. We pursue opportunities to educate Armenian and non-Armenian audiences alike about our nuanced past, and encourage anyone with the thirst to create, regardless of their background, to join us in giving voice and light to the future.

The Sayat Nova International Composition Competition manifests this mission. Combining Armenian folk music and Armenian poetry with classical instruments and composers from around the world will inspire a new body of music that is not necessarily the Armenian music of today, but is instead the finest new music of tomorrow built with tools from Armenian music and poetry.

We are also thrilled to offer the winner the opportunity to debut their composition at Carnegie Hall before a capacity crowd. But it doesn’t end there: the winner will also have the opportunity to compose a piece to be performed by the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra (ANPO) in Yerevan, Armenia during the 2017/2018 season. Additionally, collaborating with the Composers Union of Armenia, the top three prize winners of the Competition will get their winning works published by the Union’s Armusic Publishing House in Yerevan.

Through music and art, we can build bridges connecting Armenian and non-Armenian composers around the world to Armenian poetry, instrumentation, and the republic itself.

Welcome to the 2016 installment of the Sayat Nova International Composition Competition. May your imagination bloom.

Director of Performing Arts Department, AGBU New York.