Armenian News Network / Groong March 20, 2006 Entertainment Wire By Sahan Arzruni NEW YORK, NY The 4th annual "Lionel Galstaun Memorial Concert" took place in the sanctuary of the St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church, Westchester, NY on Sunday afternoon, March 19. Pianist Natalia Kazaryan of Tiflis, Georgia; mezzo soprano Solange Merdinian and violinist Sami Merdinian, both from Argentina, were the featured artists. Mr. Merdinian opened the program with a dignified rendition of Tartini's Violin Sonata, also known as "The Devil's Trill" for the fiendishly tricky double-stop shakes in the last movement. The 23-year-old Mr. Merdinian, currently a violin student at Yale, performed the celebrated work with grace and serenity. Experience will surely add even greater conviction and passion to the young artist's solid performance. Solange Merdinian (the younger sister of Sami) is a student of voice at The Juilliard School, where she double majored (in flute) during her pre-college years. As a developing young singer, Miss Merdinian was at her best in Argentine composer Guastavino's three songs, which she performed with authentic flavor. Her rendition of Ganachian's well-known "Oror" was properly tender, and she lent attractive coyness to Bizet's "Pastorale." The star of the afternoon was Natalia Kazarian. Still a teenager, Ms. Kazarian studies at Juilliard with Jerome Lowenthal. In addition to joining forces with the Merdinians, she performed solo selections from Ravel's "Le tombeau de Couperin." A wonderfully gifted pianist, Miss Kazarian understands the instrument and shows it to excellent effect with her multi-colored tonal palette, unmannered phrasing, and seamless technique. The afternoon ended with selections by Khachaturian and Kotoyan, in which all three performers took part. The capacity audience was certainly appreciative of the talent and ability of these young performers. The concert is organized each year by the St. Gregory parish culture committee as a tribute to the late Mr. Galstaun, a beloved founding member who passed away in 2002. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Sahan Arzruni is a concert pianist and an ethnomusicologist. He has toured China and Vietnam, performing and giving master classes, and has delivered a series of lectures on Arshak II at the request of the San Francisco Opera Guild.
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