Khachaturian International Festival returns to Yerevan

14-20 December 2021

The Khachaturian International Festival returns to Yerevan, Armenia, this December with four glittering orchestral concerts during the festival season at the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall. All of the concerts are performed by the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by the festival’s founder Sergey Smbatyan.

Now in its ninth season, the festival – well known for bringing leading international stars to Armenia to celebrate the rich and multi-faceted musical legacy of Aram Khachaturian –features widely-acclaimed international pianists Alexander Romanovsky and Valentina Lisista and violinist Nikita Boriso-Glebsky.

The theme of the festival in 2021 is ‘Three Friends’ and it pays homage to the close artistic partnership between Aram Khachaturian, Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergey Prokofiev – three giants of 20th-century music. Khachaturian himself was a great champion of his friends’ work in Armenia and beyond and that spirit of advocacy is continued here with two concerts dedicated entirely to each of them. The last concert – for which Smbatyan and the Orchestra are joined by well-known Armenian jazz artists – features cheerful jazz arrangements of Khachaturian’s music by talented young Armenian composers to close the festival in joyful high spirits as we approach Christmas.

As with all concerts given by the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, the festival is expected an unusually youthful audience as the Orchestra continues to extend its work into schools across Armenia through its ground-breaking DasA cultural-educational project, designed to spark interest and liking for classical music among secondary-school students. The programme – which also enables students and educational institutions to have easy access to low-price tickets – has resulted in a significant level of enthusiasm for classical music among teenagers and young adults in Armenia, who form a significant proportion of the Orchestra’s regular audience both in the concert hall and online.

The Khachaturian International Festival will observe strict social distancing and safety regulations as the global pandemic continues, and for those unable to attend, the Armenia State Symphony Orchestra is working to share the concerts globally with live streams online at

The Khachaturian International Festival – now a member of the European Festivals Association – was established in Armenia in 2013 by Sergey Smbatyan to celebrate Aram Khachaturian – the most famous and treasured Armenian composers – and to bring together different musical and arts traditions all so well loved by the composer himself. It is well-known internationally for attracting international stars of the classical music world to create an environment that inspires international cross-cultural dialogue. Krzysztof Penderecki, Alexander Romanovsky, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Karen Shahgaldyan, Mayu Kishima, Marina Domashenko, Ning Feng, Zakhar Bron, Maxim Vengerov, and many others have been among the brightest stars that have performed in previous years.


14 December, 19.30 – Alexander Romanovsky

Shostakovich – Piano Concerti Nos. 1 & 2; Symphony No. 12, ‘The Year 1917’

16 December, 19.30 – Valentina Lisista

Prokofiev – Piano Concerto No. 3; Symphony No. 7

18 December, 19.30 – Nikita Boriso-Glebsky

Khachaturian – Violin Concerto in D minor; Symphony No. 2 in E minor, ‘The Bell Symphony’

20 December, 19.30

Khachaturian – symphonic jazz arrangements