Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
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Contact: Chris Zakian
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E-mail: [email protected]

July 18, 2014

Maestro Konstantin Petrossian Honored in Providence, RI

By Florence Avakian

It was a festive occasion for those celebrating the centennial of the Sts.
Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, R.I., with a gala concert on Friday,
June 13. And as it turned out, the day held a special surprise for the
concert conductor, Maestro Konstantin Petrossian.

With more than 600 in attendance at the St. Mary and St. Mena Coptic
Orthodox Cathedral, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian rose to
read the encyclical from the Catholicos of all Armenians, His Holiness
Karekin II, which bestowed Maestro Petrossian with the "Sts. Sahag and
Mesrob Medal"-one of the lofty honors of the Armenian Church, given to
recognize distinguished achievement in the arts and culture.

In his remarks to the large crowd, the Primate congratulated Maestro
Konstantin on receiving "this well-deserved honor from our Mother See."

"Maestro is a true example of how our cultural identity can flourish and
expand on the shores of this great country of America," Archbishop Barsamian

In a subsequent phone conversation with this writer, Petrossian admitted:
"It was a great surprise! I knew nothing about it."

"I was preparing to conduct the last musical selection which was scheduled
to follow the Primate's benediction," he said. "Then all of a sudden, this
announcement came."

The three-day centennial celebration had begun with the Friday concert on
June 13, continued with a banquet on Saturday, June 14, and culminated on
Sunday, June 15 with the Divine Liturgy and a khatchkar-blessing ceremony,
celebrated by Primate.

The centennial celebration had been initiated by the church pastor, the Rev.
Fr. Shnork Souin, who had also traveled to Armenia to bring back the
specially-ordered khatchkar. Fr. Shnork had also secretly requested that the
Primate honor the Maestro with this award.

"I felt so emotional," related Petrossian. "And to have been honored by the
Vehapar, and Archbishop Khajag whom I respect so much, makes me very proud.
This was the most important honor I have ever received."

100 Years of Light, Hope, Faith

The concert, titled "A Century of Light, Hope and Faith," was attended by a
number of dignitaries, including nine clerics from the Rhode Island Orthodox
Clergy Fellowship, as well as clergy from regional Armenian churches. Also
attending were representatives of the Rhode Island state government.

The musical performance-involving 26 instrumentalists and the 50-voice
Armenian Chorale of Rhode Island-featured Armenian spiritual, folk,
classical, and national music by Gomidas, Yegmalian, Chaushian, Bedelian,
Balyan, Avedisian, and Konstantin Petrossian himself. It began with the
majestic Hrashapar, Oorakh Ler, and Etchmiadzin, and ended with Babajanian's
powerful Asg Parabantz, and Hovannesian's Erevan Erebounie.

"The concert was a bouquet of sacred, folk, and patriotic pieces," noted the
honoree. "We wanted to demonstrate the rich heritage of our nation by this
performance which was set to the highest standards. It is my belief that the
nation gains its strength from the preservation and enrichment of its
cultural and sacred heritage."

At the conclusion of the celebratory occasion, Fr. Souin paid tribute to
Maestro Petrossian, stating: "We are so proud that this prestigious award by
His Holiness could be delivered by our Primate on the glorious occasion of
this magnificent concert in honor of our church centennial. Maestro's
talents and services to this church shall forever be memorialized with this

Konstantin Petrossian is an acclaimed Armenian composer who has created
symphonic, choral, chamber, instrumental, and vocal compositions, as well as
soundtracks and theatrical selections. His works have been performed,
recorded and published worldwide. He is a member of the Armenian Union of
Composers and Musicologists; the American Society of Composers, Authors and
Publishers (ASCAP); the American Music Center; and the Armenian Musical

He has served as Cultural and Music Director of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church
in Providence, and is artistic director and conductor of the Armenian
Chorale of Rhode Island. A co-founder of the Armenian Chorale of Greater
Worcester, Mass., he has been Music Director and Conductor of the Erevan
Choral Society since 2009.

Among the venues he has performed in are New York's Carnegie Hall and
Lincoln Center. At the United Nations he gave an Armenian concert on the
historic occasion of the Republic of Armenia becoming a member of that
international organization.

In May of 2013, Maestro Petrossian was honored with the Armenian Republic's
highest cultural award, the "Movses Khorenatsi Medal," bestowed by President
Serge Sargsyan.


Photos attached.
Photo 1: Archbishop Barsamian presents Maestro Konstantin Petrossian with
the "Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Medal." Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin, pastor of the
Providence parish, looks on.
Photo 2: Konstantin Petrossian with his wife Janna and Archbishop Barsamian.

From: A. Papazian