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Thursday, April 29, 2010

AGBU Montevideo Choir Performs for Gomidas Vartabed's Anniversary and
Major Multicultural Festival

AGBU Montevideo's polyphonic choir group, Grung, performed at two
moving concerts in November. The first concert, held on November 12,
honored the 140th birthday of Gomidas Vartabed. A priest and genocide
survivor, Gomidas Vartabed was a renowned musicologist who saved
several thousand Armenian folk songs from extinction and composed
music that reflected the deep feelings of the Armenian people. The
Montevideo concert took place at the Sodre "Nelly Goitiño" Auditorium,
with the Grung Choir performing under the direction of Maestro Alvaro

Conductor Daniel Magarian opened the show with a thoughtful
introduction in Armenian. He spoke about the choir's roots and
emphasized the value of Armenian singing and composing as a means of
preserving the ancient culture. Accompanying the 33-member choir were
flutist Ester Kouyoumdjian and Austrian-trained pianist Alejandro

The musicians played pieces ranging in style from popular to religious
and nationalist, along with a set composed by Gomidas Vartabed. A
group of a cappella singers also performed, and there were solos by
soprano Stella Capote Kordjian and tenor Diego Krikorian of songs "Lur
Knatz" and "Hairení Tashderum." As the concert came to a close, Grung
paid tribute to another legendary Armenian, poet Hovannes Tumanian,
who, like Gomidas Vartabed, was born in 1869.

On the heels of this successful evening, Grung participated in the
Annual Festival of Choirs of Communities on November 22 at the Clara
Jackson de Heber College. With the intention of presenting an eclectic
mix of cultures, the festival included performances by choral groups
belonging to several ethnic communities living in Montevideo,
including those with Armenian, English, German, French, Spanish,
Italian, Israeli, Russian, Belarusian, Brazilian and Uruguayan
roots. The Grung choir impressed non-Armenian audience members, who
seemed to enjoy the immersion in Armenian music and culture.

Today, amid a busy schedule, Montevideo's choir group's biggest
ambition is to reach Armenia and finally perform in their motherland.

Established in 1906, AGBU ( is the world's largest
non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU
preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through
educational, cultural and humanitarian program, annually touching the
lives of some 400,000 Armenians around the world.
For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please