Karen Hakobyan | Reflections

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Classical: Contemporary Classical: Chamber Music Moods: Type: Experimental
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by Karen Hakobyan

The inspiration of the album came from Karén’s sold out Carnegie Hall Composition Concert. We were so excited by the enthusiastic response from the audience that we decided to record “Reflections” to share our collaboration with a wider audience.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Concert Etude Basso Ostinato Op 14 No 1 for Piano
4:43 $0.99
2. Sonata Variations Op 10 No 1
6:40 $1.49
3. Piano Trio Op 15 1st Mvt
5:15 $1.49
4. Piano Trio Op 15 2nd Mvt
2:24 $0.99
5. Piano Trio Op 15 3rd Mvt
4:57 $0.99
6. Toccata for Solo Flute Op 4 No 2
6:09 $0.99
7. Vocalise for Voice and Symphonic Orchestra Op 9 (Piano Reduction)
7:49 $1.49
8. Prelude and Fugue for Piano Op 7
3:27 $0.99
9. Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Piano Op 10 No 2
7:45 $1.49
10. Suite for Solo Violin Op 11, 1st Mvt
4:03 $0.99
11. Suite for Solo Violin Op 11, 2nd Mvt
1:00 $0.99
12. Suite for Solo Violin Op 11, 3rd Mvt
4:01 $0.99
13. Suite for Solo Violin Op 11, 4th Mvt
5:04 $0.99
14. Suite for Solo Violin Op 11, 5th Mvt
4:07 $0.99
15. Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano Op 12
8:05 $1.49
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes


Chamber and Solo works by Karén Hakobyan

Review from Hakobyan’s Carnegie Composition Debut Concert which inspired the making of this album.
“The Armenian composer and pianist, a musician of abundant gifts and bountiful ideas, structured an evening that was a survey of both his compositional development and his facility in writing for varied instrument groups. Mr. Hakobyan’s precocious enthusiasm for making and writing music is infectious. Indeed, it is a testament to him that all the musicians who performed his works, most of which were fiendishly difficult, seemed relaxed and fully engaged. “

David La Marche for New York Concert Review; New York, NY March 10, 2011

Karén Hakobyan, Pianist/Composer

Armenian pianist and composer Karén Hakobyan has emerged as a versatile force on the international musical scene. Since his acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut at the age of seventeen, he has been performing in major concert halls in Armenia, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, France, and the United States. New York reviewer Phillip Dieckow wrote in his review of Mr. Hakobyan's Carnegie performance: "It is very difficult for me to be objective with this pianist. I am seldom moved to tears by performances any longer and even more seldom so delighted with breath-taking playing that I feel like dancing. Both were evoked during this young man's performance."

Highlights from Mr. Hakobyan’s 2014-2015 concert season include performances with the Ridgewood Symphony (NJ), the Ureuk Symphony Orchestra (NY), the Imperial Orchestra (Montreal), the Brooklyn Philharmonic (NY) and Japan Sinfonia (Tokyo) as well as solo recitals in Japan, Argentina, France, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

Mr. Hakobyan appeared as a soloist in North America with the University of Utah Philharmonia, the Salt Lake Symphony, Summer Arts Festival Orchestra, the New American Symphony, and the World Festival Orchestra and internationally with the Tucuman Philharmonic Orchestra (Argentina), the Monterrey Symphony Orchestra (Mexico), the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Serenade Chamber Orchestra, and the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia.

Mr. Hakobyan won Bronze Medal in the World Piano International Competition, 1st prize in the Pinault International Audiotape/Videotape Piano Competition and 2nd prize in the Armenian Legacy Pianists International Piano Competition. He also won 1st prize in the Four Corners Piano Competition and The Fite Piano Competition. Mr. Hakobyan's performances have been broadcasted on WQXR New York's Classical Radio Station, WMFT Chicago’s Classical Radio Station, Argentine National Radio, Monterrey’s (Mexico) Op. 102 Radio Station, and Armenian National Radio.

Mr. Hakobyan regularly appears in prestigious festivals and concert series. Some of his festival performance highlights include: the "Lille International Piano(s) Festival" in France in 2005: "The Pianist as Composer" Festival at Mannes College of Music in 2008 and "The Mendelssohn Salon Yearlong Festival" in 2009 in New York City. He was featured at "Keys to the Future" Contemporary Music Concert Series in 2009 and 2010 in New York City. His recent performance of Vuk Kulenovic's "Virginal" in Le Poisson Rouge on the closing night of the "Keys to the Future" festival was described as "sensitively rendered" by New York Times. He was also featured in three special concerts during Carnegie Hall’s 2010-2011 season.

Mr. Hakobyan is a winner of the 2004 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Competition. His "Two Pieces for String Quartet" was awarded the Amadeus Diploma for Composition in 1998 during a competition held jointly by the Belgian Amadeus Association and the Armenian Musical Assembly. In the same year his work was included among the 12 best compositions at the Group Quest (USA) International Competition. In 2002 he was awarded the prestigious Robertson Scholarship in Composition at the University of Utah, primarily based on his Second Symphony, which was performed in Berlin in 2001 at the Young Euro-classic International Festival by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. His composition debut concert in Carnegie hall on March 1st, 2011 was very well received. David LaMarche, reviewer for the New York Concert Review described Mr. Hakobyan as “a musician of abundant gifts and bountiful ideas” in his review of the concert.

Karén Hakobyan completed Professional Studies Degrees at both Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College of Music under the guidance of Dr. Arkady Aronov. He also received B.M. and M.M. Degrees from University of Utah in piano and composition. His principal piano teachers included Dr. Susan Duehlmeier and Professor Armen Babakhanian. He studied composition with Edward Mirzoyan, David Sakoyan, Dr. Morris Rosenzweig and Dr. Miguel Chuaqui. He currently resides in New York City.


Karén Hakobyan, Piano/Composition
Sami Merdinian, Violin

Yves Dharamraj, Cello

Christine Carter, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet

Emi Ferguson, Flute and Alto Flute

Katharine Dain, Soprano

Guillaume Molko, Violin

Gabriel Escudero, Piano

Amber Docters Van Leeuwen, Cello

Recorded at Patrych Sound Studios in New York, NY
Recording Engineer Joseph Patrych
Producer Karén Hakobyan
Album Designer and photographer Mickey Hoelscher

Label contact

For information about the Artists and Album Visit:

Liner Notes

Concert Etude “Basso Ostinato” Op. 14 No. 1 for piano (2010)

The first of the set of two, this Concert Etude is based on unique Armenian scales and sonorities and is very polyphonic in nature. At times there are 5 voices going on at the same time. The left hand “Basso Ostinato” figure continues throughout the etude. As the simple, folk like theme progresses and additional voices enter, the music becomes progressively more dissonant and intense resulting in one final distant occurrence of the theme after the climax.

Sonata Variations Op. 10 No. 1 (2003)

The 4-bar theme of the piano variations contains every possible harmonic and motivic combination that is later used for the variations. The variations proceed in rapid succession, such that transitions are difficult to recognize. In addition to its variation form, this piece also has a hidden sonata form. The first few fast variations serve as the exposition’s first theme whereas the following slow variations serve as the second theme. Immediately after the slow variation, the development section begins with a fugato. After a series of exhilarating variations, the music reaches the non-traditional recapitulation marked by a loud A minor chord in the left hand and rapid fragmentation of the theme in the right hand. The slow variation returns once more, before the numerous variations are compressed into the furious Coda.

Piano Trio Op. 15 (2012)

Even though the Piano Trio has three distinctly different movements, they are all thematically and structurally connected. The expressive melody of the first movement is the basis of all the motivic elements in the Trio. It is developed polyphonically and has a never ending perpetual motion climbing to a climax in high registers which never gets resolved and is left hanging in the air. The second movement releases the tension right away with its playful, quasi-jazzy rhythmic drive. It begins with a Basso Ostinato figure in the cello part, which is passed around the other instruments and never stops until the end. The third movement is in none traditional sonata form and has perpetual rhythmic drive, which is interrupted by a distant recollection of the theme from the first movement after the development. The rhythmic motion resumes gradually with pizzicatos leading into the recapitulation where the piano plays the theme for the first time. The coda combines the slow theme of the first movement with the fast theme of the third in the strings while the piano recreates the harmonic and structural climax of the first movement, which finally gets resolved at the end of the piece.

Toccata for Solo Flute Op. 4 No. 2 (2000)
The goal of this piece is to create an illusion of several flutes playing simultaneously, at times collaborating and at times conflicting with one another. One can often hear three distinct voices all written in different registers throughout the toccata. It is written in ABA form, with the flute imitating a folk reed instrument in the B section.

Vocalise for Voice and Symphonic Orchestra Op. 9
(Piano reduction) (2003)

The original version of this Vocalise is for voice and orchestra, with the piano reduction made especially for the Carnegie Hall debut concert on March 1st 2011. The piano part has the difficult task of imitating all the colorful instruments of the orchestra. As a song without words, the voice is often treated as an expressive instrument that fluctuates between joining the orchestra and breaking away as an independent voice.

Prelude and Fugue in C Major for Piano Op. 7 (2001)

In 2001 I decided to compose a complete set of Preludes and Fugues for piano (24). I began by composing this Prelude and Fugue in C Major. The subject of the Fugue is based on the thematic material of the Prelude, and strictly follows traditional rules of fugue, while still incorporating many colorful characters. The remaining 23 Preludes and Fugues await their birth.

Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Piano Op. 10 No. 2 (2004)

The trio is written in a single movement sonata form. It begins with a slow and lyrical introduction. It is suddenly interrupted by the Allegro, energico entrance of the 1st theme, which is a transformation of the opening motive. The middle slow section serves at once as the slow movement and 2nd theme of a sonata form, exploring a wide range of sonorities on the bass clarinet and alto flute. The 1st theme returns in the development section, which simultaneously serves as the third fast movement. In contrast to the exposition, however, it is now played by the bass clarinet. Both fast sections of the trio explore the more percussive side of the piano. The recapitulation occurs shortly before the coda and brings back the lyrical theme from the opening. The bass clarinet continues the melancholic statements of the theme in the coda while the alto flute keeps interrupting it with cadenza like, aggressive passages, reminiscent of the allegro sections.

Suite for solo violin Op. 11 (2005)
Dedicated to the Memory of Mikhail Boguslavsky

I began composing the Suite for solo violin shortly after I found out that Mikhail Boguslavsky, one of the most prominent musicians, violists and humanists of our time had passed away. During the years of our friendship, I had the honor of having him as one of my great mentors. Affected by this loss, I completed the Suite in less than 2 months. The work is in 5 movements and reflects the different stages of Mikhail’s life. Although all of the movements are completely different in character they are all based on the same simple folk dance comprised of the notes E, F & G. This folk dance changes shape and character throughout the piece and is finally heard in its original intended form in the Fourth movement during the C section of the Rondo. The fourth movement is the emotional climax of the work, followed by a more philosophical final movement.

Trio for Clarinet, cello and piano Op. 12 (2005)
The trio is divided into many distinct and picturesque sections in narrative form. The opening introduction imitates two “Duduks,” traditional Armenian folk instruments. It is common to hear one Duduk hold a pedal point while the other improvises. This is the case of the opening during which the complete version of the theme is played by the clarinet. The theme is disintegrated into short motives that are constantly traveling between the three instruments starting from the Allegretto, energico section. In the middle of the piece, there is a dramatic return of the opening theme played by the clarinet accompanied by the overpowering low notes from the piano. This is followed by a slow, polyphonic and polyrhythmic section between the clarinet and piano. A Cadenza like section played by the piano brings the piece to the climax, followed by the chaotic Coda.

Chamber and Solo works by Karén Hakobyan

1. Concert Etude “Basso Ostinato” Op. 14 No. 1 for piano (2010) 4:38

2. Sonata Variations Op. 10 No. 1 (2003) 6:40

Karén Hakobyan, piano

3-5. Piano Trio Op. 15 (2012)
I. Andante 5:24
II. Allegretto, scherzoso 2:38
III. Allegro, energico 4:57

Sami Merdinian, violin
Yves Dharamraj, cello
Karén Hakobyan, piano

6. Toccata for solo Flute Op. 4 No. 2 (2000) 6:11

Emi Ferguson, flute

7. Vocalise for Voice and Symphonic Orchestra Op. 9 (Piano reduction) (2003) 7:53

Katharine Dain, soprano
Karén Hakobyan, piano

8. Prelude and Fugue for Piano Op. 7 (2001) 3:24

Gabriel Escudero, piano

9. Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Piano Op. 10 No. 2 (2004) 7:46

Emi Ferguson, flute/alto flute
Christine Carter, clarinet/bass clarinet
Karén Hakobyan, piano

10-14. Suite for solo violin Op. 11 (2005)
Dedicated to the Memory of Mikhail Boguslavsky
I. Chromatique 04:04
II. Scherzo 01:00
III. Chorale 04:02
IV. Rondo 05:04
V. Epitaph 04:08

Guillaume Molko, violin

15. Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano Op. 12 (2005) 8:14

Christine Carter, clarinet
Amber Docters Van Leeuwen, cello
Karén Hakobyan, piano

Total Playing Time ~ 76 minutes

© 2014 Karén Hakobyan. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws. Manufactured and printed by DiscMakers, Pennsauken, NJ, U.S.A



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