The Gurdjieff Ensemble & Levon Eskenian

Biography The Gurdjieff Ensemble & Levon Eskenian

The Gurdjieff Ensemble & Levon Eskenian

The Gurdjieff Ensemble
The internationally acclaimed Gurdjieff Ensemble consists of leading musicians from Armenia playing Armenian and Middle Eastern traditional instruments. The Ensemble was founded by Levon Eskenian to play ‘ethnographically authentic’ arrangements of the G. I. Gurdjieff/Thomas de Hartmann piano music, then diversely expanding the repertoire that now includes music by Komitas, music from the Middle East, as well as ancient and medieval Armenian folk and spiritual music, troubadours songs from the Caucasus, and works collected by Bela Bartok and compositions by contemporary composers. Their “Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff” debut album and “Komitas” album on the famous ECM records were widely acclaimed and won prestigious awards including the Edison Award in the Netherlands. The ensemble has been touring in nearly 150 cities in 26 countries in Europe, Australia, Russia, the Middle East, North, and South America, among which are sold-out performances at the Holland Festival, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Boulez hall in Berlin, the Bozar Center in Brussels, the Morgenland and Rudolstadt festivals in Germany, the Gulbenkian Hall in Lisbon, the Budapest Spring festival in Hungary, the Sala São Paulo in Brazil, the Albert Hall in Canberra, the Chicago World music festival in the USA and many more.

Levon Eskenian
The Armenian musician Levon Eskenian was born in Lebanon in 1978. In 1996 he moved to Armenia where he currently lives. In 2005 he graduated from the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory where he obtained a Master’s degree studying the piano with Professor Robert Shugarov. In 2007 he took his Postgraduate degree in the class of Professor Willy Sargsyan. He has also studied composition, organ and improvisation classes at the Conservatory and harpsichord in Austria and Italy with the English organist and harpsichordist Christopher Stembridge.

One of the most active figures in Armenia’s musical life, a director of various ensembles and artistic institutions, Eskenian has performed both as a soloist and chamber musician with a program ranging from early baroque to contemporary music in Europe, Middle East, Asia, South America, and Australia. Eskenian has organized numerous concerts, lectures, masterclasses and festivals in Armenia. He is the founder of the Akna Cultural Society to organize studies and promote rarely performed repertoire ranging from ancient, early baroque to contemporary music.

In 2008, gathering leading musicians playing Armenian and Middle Eastern authentic instruments Eskenian founded the Gurdjieff Ensemble to play his arrangements of the G.I. Gurdjieff/Thomas de Hartmann piano music. The debut album on ECM records, Music of G.I. Gurdjieff was widely acclaimed and won prestigious awards including the Edison Award as Album of the Year in 2012. Now Eskenian has turned his attention to Komitas, arranging for authentic instruments, which was released on ECM Records in autumn 2015. Eskenian and The Gurdjieff Ensemble are continuing the yearly tours around the world.

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