Sergey Smbatyan conducts ArmSymphony and Gil Shaham. Credit Lusi Sargsyan

Sergey Smbatyan’s Armenia International Music Festival 2021 – 17 star-studded concerts featuring the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia joined by a dazzling array of soloists including Steven Isserlis, Mikhail Pletnev, Yeol Eum Son and Gil Shaham among others – has successfully concluded in Yerevan.

The eagerly anticipated annual Festival was established in 2017 by the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and the European Foundation for Support of Culture. The Artistic Director of the Festival is Sergey Smbatyan. Bringing world-class performances by the very best international artists to audiences in Armenia at affordable prices, this year saw more than 9,000 people attending the 17 concerts with more than 17,000 more watching live video streams of the concerts from home.

The Festival focussed on much-loved classics by composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Grieg and Brahms alongside contemporary works by the Festival’s featured composer Alexey Shor. It was also enriched with a handful of major works by Armenian composers such as Tigran Mansurian, Ghazaros Saryan, Stepan Shakaryan and, of course, Aram Khachaturian.

Smbatyan led a line-up of international conductors which included Conrad van Alphen, Gianluca Marciano, Marius Stravinsky and Dmitry Yablonsky. The glittering array of soloists brought a host of the world’s most established international musicians to Armenia – cellist Steven Isserlis, pianists Mikhail Pletnev and Yeol Eum Son and violinist Gil Shaham – alongside many rising stars of the international circuit, among them violinists Marc Bouchkov, Sergei Dogadin, Daniel Lozakovich and Fumiaki Miura; pianists Jean-Paul Gasparian and Jingge Yan; flautist Maxim Rubstov and accordion player Yuri Medianik.

Smbatyan said:

“I am immensely proud that we are able to bring an amazing range of international talent to Armenia and share such a rich mix of music of the very highest quality to Armenian audiences. Thank you to everyone involved and who worked so hard to further enrich the international cultural life of Armenia.”

Smbatyan will now continue his own international conducting schedule. He is set to join the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, where he holds the position of Principal Conductor, for two concerts in November before returning to Armenia to lead the International Khachaturian Festival in December.