Hundreds of non-Armenians recently had the unique opportunity to experience Armenian music in the heart of historical Paris, thanks to a concert by the city’s AGBU Koghtan Choir. On March 20, 2012, the choir, led by Haig Sarkissian, together with La Clef des Chants Ensemble, directed by Benoît Reeves, drew a diverse crowd of over 400 to the Refectory of the Cordeliers. There, they enjoyed an evening of both classical and modern performances, as well as poetry readings.
Organized by the Paris-Sorbonne University’s Cultural Department, the event was dubbed “Contrast and Backlight,” and was one of the highlights of the school’s ongoing Spring of Poets festival, which blends art from the past and present. Gathered in the 13th century church, listeners discovered the traditional Armenian music of Komitas Vardapet, Edgar Hovhanessian and Arno Babadjanian. Interwoven with the piano and flute renditions were readings by the Poetry in Freedom competition winners.
Taken together, the music and poetry left the audience moved, and looking forward to future AGBU Koghtan Choir events. They won’t be hard to find – for over two decades, the group has promoted and spread Armenian culture and music through 40 concerts both in France and abroad.