Armenian News Network / Groong


Armenian News Network / Groong
March 20, 2006
Entertainment Wire

By Sahan Arzruni


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

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

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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