Vazgen Muradian is one of America’s most accomplished composers of classical music, and perhaps our nation’s most prolific composer in the symphonic genre. Mr. Muradian’s lifetime contribution to both American and world music is little short of breathtaking.
Mr. Muradian is the only composer in the history of music known to have written a concerto for every classical instrument. Additionally, he has brought many non-traditional instruments, such as the banjo, the saxophone, the harmonica and several other more exotic and unusual instruments, into the classical repertory, many for the first time. To date, he has written two hundred sixteen works, including sixty-eight concertos for thirty-nine different instruments, fifty-seven symphonies, sixteen sonatas, twelve suites, two quartets, two trios, sixty-four songs in six languages for voice, chorus, and orchestra, and many other compositions for violin, piano, and other instruments.
Mr. Muradian was born on October 17, 1921 in Ashtarak, Armenia. He showed an early love for music.
The Second World War interrupted Mr. Muradian’s musical career when he was drafted into the Soviet Army. He saw action against the invading Nazis at the Eastern Front. Escaping both the Nazis and the Soviets after Soviet resistance collapsed, he traveled throughout war-torn Europe as a refugee, playing the violin with the Stanislav Symphony Orchestra, the Lvov Opera, and as a vaudeville player in Warsaw. By the end of the war, his adventures had taken him from Warsaw to Vienna to Berlin and eventually to Venice, where he went to attend the Benedetto Marcello State Conservatory of Music. There, he studied composition with Gabriele Bianchi, violin with Luigi Ferro, and viola d’amore with Renzo Sabatini.
In 1948, Mr. Muradian graduated with the degree of Professor of Music and began teaching music at the Armenian College of Murat Raphael in Venice. He emigrated to the United States in 1950 and played the viola in several orchestras including the Wagner Opera Company of New York and the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra. He became an American citizen in 1955 and settled in New York, where he withdrew from orchestral playing to concentrate on composing. He has created all of his major works in the United States.
Mr. Muradian’s compositions have been performed in the United States and abroad by ensembles such as the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Little Orchestra Society of New York, and the Viola d’amore Society of America. Concerts exclusively of his music have been presented in New York, Chicago, Yerevan, Armenia, and elsewhere.
He and his wife, Arpi, reside in New York City. They have two sons, Vardges Muradian and Armen Morian, and two grandchildren.