World-renowned Armenian-Canadian star soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian has been nominated for a Grammy award in the Best Classical Vocal Performance category for her debut CD, Gomidas Songs, featuring the music of Armenia’s national composer, Gomidas Vartabed.
This is a tremendous achievement, an excellent tribute to the legacy of Father Gomidas and a proud moment for Armenian classical music.
On Gomidas Songs, Isabel Bayrakdarian’s first album for Nonesuch Records and the very first recording of Gomidas music on a major international label, the Armenian-Canadian soprano examines the legacy of Gomidas Vardabet (born Soghomon Soghomonian, Keotahia, Ottoman Empire, 1869), a well-traveled composer who made it his life’s work to seek out, transcribe, and re-interpret the ancient liturgy, songs, lullabies, hymns, and folk dances of his Armenian homeland.
All twenty songs n the album have been masterfully arranged and orchestrated by scholar and pianist Serouj Kradjian, Bayrakdarian’s concert partner and husband–who also plays on the record.
The album was recorded at the Aram Khachaturian Philharmonic Hall in Yerevan, Armenia, with the Chamber Players of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eduard Topchjan.
The New York Times calls the new CD "Irresistible…what may be the best shot Gomidas has had to shine for the Western classical music world" in 100 years.
A major North American tour by Bayrakdarian in October 2008, featured the music of Reverend Gomidas (Komitas Vardapet), with concerts in Toronto, San Francisco, Orange County, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Boston and New York’s Carnegie Hall.
The Boston Globe writing about the tour: "Bayrakdarian achieved riveting purity with ravishing performances of the Gomidas songs".
Bayrakdarian, who was born in Lebanon to Armenian parents, first performed Gomidas’s music as part of the score to Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan’s 2002 Ararat–a multi-layered drama about contemporary filmmakers attempting to dramatize and come to terms with the Armenian genocide of 1915, which left Gomidas emotionally devastated and put an end to his life as a composer.
Isabel Bayrakdarian is highly regarded for her opera performances, on stage and on record–particularly as Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and in Mozart works like Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute.
Her voice, says Time, "combines lyricism with remarkable dramatic instincts," and the Chicago Tribune praised her "full, gleaming soprano and fine musical intelligence." Bayrakdarian made her Metropolitan Opera debut in William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge.
Gomidas Songs contains love songs, devotional songs, evocations of nature, children’s songs, lamentations, and comic songs. Egoyan contributes liner notes to the album package, illustrating the importance of Bayrakdarian’s undertaking: "The strength of any culture resides in its ability to preserve, cherish, reinvent, and grow.
This was the gift that Gomidas gave to his people, and this is the gift which Isabel has revealed and brought to the world."
For more information about the album visit: http://nonesuch.com/artists/isabel-bayrakdarian