A master duduk player and lecturer, Artak Asatryan has become a key figure in the development of the duduk and is currently focusing on ancient Armenian choral and chamber music.
Artak Asatryan is an award-winning Armenian musician and master duduk player, artistic director, university lecturer and baritone singer with 30 years of experience in playing and more than 20 years in teaching the duduk. Artak Asatryan’s activity has made him a key figure in the development of the duduk.
The melancholic timbre of the duduk, the traditional double reed woodwind instrument originating in Armenia, enraptured the traditional Armenian music like no other instrument. It’s made of the wood of the apricot tree (“tsirani” in Armenian), the national symbol of Armenia.
Artak is known for having one of Armenia’s best duduk timbres. His duduk performance is very dynamic and similar to the male voice. His current work is focused on choir and chamber orchestra music. The sound of the duduk is very close to the timbre of the male voice, therefore it blends perfectly with the choir and chamber orchestras.
Born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1985, Artak Asatryan has been playing duduk since the age of six. In 1993, at the age of nine, he started playing in the Folk Instruments Ensemble of the Armenian Children Philharmonic as the first duduk player and soloist. Since then, Artak has been studying, teaching and performing duduk, toured with various ensembles in many countries of the world and received various awards for his exceptional duduk performances.
Artistic Style, Vision & Current Work
Artak Asatryan’s activity as a musician is very important for the development of the duduk and its integration into Classical music. He was the first to interpret Classical compositions from Beethoven to Mozart on the duduk as a solo instrument. The master duduk player broke the stereotype that a duduk player can only perform traditional folk songs. Many pieces of Classical music of the world were first performed on a duduk by Artak Asatryan and have never been performed by another duduk player to date.
Artak Asatryan’s duduk adaptations of Classical and Romantic masterpieces include Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Vivaldi, Rachmaninov, Arno Babajanyan, Aram Khachatryan, Alexander Spendiaryan and Brahms.
Artak Asatryan arranged more than 50 Komitas songs and more than 30 songs and series from Komitas’s choral compositions for duduk players and duduk quartets as well as Grigor Narekatsi’s four poems, three of which have been performed only by him.
Artak Asatryan’s vision is to perform more of Armenia’s rich legacy of choral compositions by the traditional Armenian composers such as Komitas, Makar Yekmalyan and Kara-Murza. His goal is to play these Armenian medieval, baroque, sacred and folk songs in collaboration with choirs and chamber orchestras for the people around the world.
He is currently working on his first book “Duduk Dances and 7 Songs” – a descriptive and analytical work that will help advanced duduk players to better understand the nuances of the instrument.
Education, Ensemble, Tours, Releases and Achievements
In 2000 Artak Asatryan began his studies at the “Musical College after Romanos Melikyan” in Yerevan with Georgi Minasyan (Minasov) with whom he began to collaborate in the (Russian) “Dudukner” quartet, led by Georgi Minasyan.
From 2006 to 2011 he continued his studies at the “Yerevan State Conservatory after Komitas” where he started to collaborate with the composer Grigor Arakelyan. Since 2006 Asatryan has been an integral part of the Armenian Medieval Ensemble “Oshakan” and the “Oshakan Quintet” led by Grigor Arakelyan.
Artak Asatryan currently works in the Armenian Tagharan Ensemble of Ancient Music and teaches at the R. Melikyan Music College and the Arno Babadjanyan Musical – Pedagogical College.
In 2012 he founded the “Tsirani Ensemble”, a quintet interpreting ancient Armenian music in a modern way who released their debut album “Tsirani Vol. 1” in 2016. Artak is the soloist and artistic director of the internationally successful quintet.
As a solo duduk player, as well as with his ensembles and orchestras, Artak Asatryan has been touring in various countries (France, Russia, Germany, Belgium, the US, India, Italy, Poland, Lebanon) He received many awards from competitions and festivals, including the Golden Ferry International Music Festival and Djivan Gasparyan’s Duduk Festival.
In 2011 Artak Asatryan released his first album “Apricot Tree” with his interpretations of Armenian folk, famous poems and Komitas songs, spiritual and medieval Armenian songs. (One of these songs – Grigor Narekatsi’s “Havik” was performed with duduk for the first time.)The album was re-released in 2016.
From 2007 to 2018 he worked in the State Ensemble of Ashugh and Folk Song of Armenia as the first duduk and soloist. (The group has had more than 300 concerts in Armenia and performed at the Days of Armenian Culture in China, Russia and Lebanon.)
He has been working at the Romanos Melikyan Music College as a duduk teacher since 2008 and at the Arno Babajanyan Music Pedagogical College since 2010.
Georgs Pelēcis' "Ashugh's Story," composed for alto, duduk, and string orchestra, was performed, featuring duduk player Artak Aasatrya ...