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Narek Hakhnazaryan was propelled on to the international scene in 2011 when, at the age of 22, he won the Cello First Prize and Gold Medal at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition, since which time he has become firmly established as one of the finest cellists of his generation. He has received critical press from both sides of the Atlantic, with the Daily Telegraph describing his playing “a marvel of musicality and technique combined” and the Washington Post describing him as “a seasoned phenomenon”. In September 2014 Hakhnazaryan was invited to join the prestigious BBC New Generation Artists scheme.
Hakhnazaryan has played with some of the world’s finest orchestras including the London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony and Mariinsky orchestras, Filarmonica della Scala Milan and Orchestre National de Toulouse, and with conductors such as Gergiev, Koopman, van Zweden, Sokhiev, Neemi Järvi, Spivakov, Pletnev, Robertson, Bělohlávek. In chamber and duo recitals he has performed in halls such as the Salle Pleyel Paris, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Oji Hall Tokyo, Zankel Hall (Carnegie Hall), Jordan Hall (Boston) and at the Tivoli, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Ravinia, Mikkeli, City of London and Verbier Festivals.
In the 2014/15 season Hakhnazaryan makes his debut with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony and New Zealand Symphony orchestras, in recital at the Lucerne Festival and at the Dvořák Festival Prague with the Czech Philharmonic. Other highlights that season include returns to the Seoul Philharmonic, a tour of Japan for recitals and concerts with the Mariinsky Orchestra/Gergiev, a piano trio tour with Sergey and Lusine Khachatryan across many of the major European concert halls including Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, a recital with Igor Levit at the Philharmonie Essen, and his debut in London’s Royal Festival Hall, where he will play the Dvořák Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Narek Hakhnazaryan was born in Yerevan, Armenia, into a family of musicians: his father is a violinist and his mother a pianist. Hakhnazaryan’s early studies were at the Sayat-Nova School of Music in Yerevan with Zareh Sarkisyan and subsequently at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexey Seleznyov, and he also had the honour of being mentored by the late Rostropovich. He has received scholarships from the Rostropovich Foundation and the Russian Performing Arts Fund, and his prizes include First Prize in the 2006 Aram Khachaturian International Competition in Armenia and First Place in the 2006 Johansen International Competition for Young String Players. As First Prize winner in the 2008 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Hakhnazaryan made his debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and in Washington, DC. In 2011 he received an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Lawrence Lesser.
Narek Hakhnazaryan is represented by Intermusica.
2014/15 biography / 453 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
Narek Hakhnazaryan erreichte internationalen Bekanntheitsgrad, als er 2011 im Alter von 22 Jahren den ersten Preis und die Goldmedaille des XIV Internationalen Tschaikowski-Wettbewerbs gewann und hat sich seitdem als einer der führenden Cellisten seiner Generation etabliert. Die britische Daily Telegraph beschrieb ihn als „Wunder an Musikalität und Technik“, die Washington Post als „gereiftes Phänomen”. Im September 2014 wurde Hakhnazaryan in das „New Generation Artist“ BBC-Programm aufgenommen.
Hakhnazaryan ist als Solist mit vielen weltbekannten Orchestern wie dem London Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchester des Mariinsky-Theaters, Filarmonica della Scala Milan, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra und Orchestre National de Toulouse sowie dem Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich unter der Leitung von Dirigenten wie Gergiev, Koopman, van Zweden, Sokhiev, Neemi Järvi, Spivakov, Pletnev, Robertson und Bělohlávek aufgetreten. Kammermusikalisch hat er bereits beim Concertgebouw Amsterdam, der Salle Pleyel Paris, der Londoner Wigmore Hall, den Konzerthäusern in Berlin und Wien, der Oji Hall Tokyo, Zankel Hall (Carnegie Hall), Jordan Hall (Boston) und bei den Festivalen in Tivoli, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Ravinia, Mikkeli, City of London und Verbier Konzerte gegeben.
In der Spielzeit 2014/15 wird Hakhnazaryan mit dem hr-Sinfonieorchester, dem Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, dem Detroit Symphony Orchestra und dem New Zealand Symphony Orchestra debüttieren sowie sein Rezitaldebüt beim Lucerne Festival und sein Debüt beim Dvorak Festival Prag mit der Tschechischen Philharmonie geben. Weitere Highlights der Spielzeit sind eine Japantournee, auf der Hakhnazaryan Rezitale und Konzerte mit dem Orchester des Mariinsky-Theaters unter Gergiev geben wird, eine Wiedereinladung des Seoul Philharmonic Orchestras, eine Klaviertriotournee mit Sergey und Lusine Khachatryan mit Konzerten u.a. im Concertgebouw Amsterdam und dem Konzerthaus Wien, ein Rezital mit Igor Levit in der Philharmonie Essen sowie sein Debüt in der Londoner Royal Festival Hall, wo er das Dvorak Cellokonzert mit dem London Philharmonic Orchestra spielen wird.
Narek Hakhnazaryan wurde 1988 in Jerewan, Armenien, in eine Musikerfamilie geboren. Sein Vater ist Geiger, seine Mutter Pianistin. Hakhnazaryan erhielt in jungen Jahren Unterricht bei Zareh Sarkisyan an der Sayat-Nova School of Music in Jerewan, bevor er sein Studium am Moskauer Konservatorium bei Alexey Seleznyov fortsetzte und auch von Rostropovich gefördert wurde. Er erhielt Stipendien des Rostropovich Russian Performing Arts Fund und gewann erste Preise beim Internationalen Aram Chatchaturjan Wettbewerb in Armenien und bei der Johansen International Competiton for Young String Players, beide 2006. 2008 gab er als Gewinner der 2008 Young Concert Artists International Auditions seine Debüts in der Carnegie Hall (Zankel Hall) und in Washington, DC. Im Mai 2012 debütierte er mit dem Orchestra of St. Luke’s im New Yorker Lincoln Center. 2011 erhielt er sein Artist Diploma vom New England Conservatory of Music, wo er bei Lawrence Lesser studierte.
Narek Hakhnazaryan wird von Intermusica repräsentiert.
Spielzeit 2014/15 / 433 Wörter. Keine Änderungen ohne vorherige Erlaubnis. Bitte zerstören Sie alles bisherige biographische Material.
Neumarkter Reitstadel / Trio with Sergey and Lusine Khachatryan / Babajanian, Beethoven, Rachmaninov
"The almost shamelessly-heartrending string writing was played with a lush tone in both the emotion-melting melodic lines and the nationalist outpourings. There was audible expression of the spirited interpretive tools which gave the trio the dramatic musical means to also perform Beethoven or Rachmaninov during the same evening, with an injection of drive that liberated the works from noble-minded classical tedium."
Uwe Mitsching, Neumarkter Nachtrichten, September 2014
"An evening of precision and passion with the Khachatryan Trio...
From the outset, the young trio operated as a virtually perfect ensemble. With powerful body language and facial expressions, they created a fantastically exciting and captivating atmosphere which enthralled the audience throughout the entire evening.
... this served as a bridge to the concluding Piano Trio in F-sharp minor by composer Arno Babajanian, which turned out to be the absolute highlight of the evening. This work, which was premiered in 1952 with overwhelming success, became a musical ecstasy of wild, impetuous passages and gracefully lyrical moments with all three participants proving themselves once again to be technically perfect and musically outstanding players."
Andreas Meixner, Mittelbayerische Zeitung, September 2014
Wigmore Hall / Recital with Oxana Shevchenko
“This lunchtime recital was a clever showcase of his myriad abilities across a wide range of repertoire, which neatly divided into virtuosic and more musically challenging works. In the former category, Tchaikovsky’s Pezzo capriccioso and the Humoresque by Rostropovich both utilise flying spiccato that was delivered with great élan. The opening section of the Tchaikovsky, with its sumptuous melodic line, was richly conveyed, as was the eloquent invention of Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise…
Ligeti’s Sonata for Solo Cello is altogether darker, its opening Dialogue reflective and tormented. Both elements were expressively dramatized by Hakhnazaryan…
Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata shares similar moments of emotional anquish and intensity, nowhere more evident than in the Largo, where numbness evolves into heavy resignation. It was a movement that was deeply felt by both performers, and a real contrast to the fiery burlesque of the preceding scherzo, which, together with the Allegro finale, was dazzlingly brilliant. This cellist is without a doubt a major presence on the international stage.”
Joanne Talbot, The Strad, September 2014
Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse / Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations / cond. Sokhiev
“Narek Hakhnazaryan: remember this name. This young Armenian-born cellist is already playing in the big leagues…His performance of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme seduced with every note, both through the beauty of the sound his cello produces and through his quality of line, subtlety of nuances, magnitude of phrasing and sensitivity of bowing. The thematic melody is magnificently realised, always truly expressively.”
La Dépêche du Midi, June 2014
“The young Narek Hakhnazaryan, Cello First Prize and Gold Medal winner at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2011, took on a refined leading role in this relatively ‘un-Tchaikovskian’ piece! The first notes of his part immediately revealed the depth of his rich sound. The dark timbre of a baritone voice, the finesse of a Lieder singer and a keen sense of nuance set a very high standard for this still-young performer’s playing. Through the course of the variations, he developed subtle complicities with the orchestra accompanied by exchanged glances. In addition to faultless technique (the perfection of his harmonics, the limitless extent of his range up to even the most extreme of shifts), the soloist explored every single mode of musical expression with continual variation in colour. The enthusiastic applause which followed this performance came as no surprise.”
Classic Toulouse, June 2014
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland / BBC Radio 3 Live / Recital with Oxana Shevchenko
“What a sensation yesterday at the recital given as part of Radio 3's series of live broadcasts, running through the week under the title, Tchaikovsky in Miniature. We got that, and much more, from the stupendous young Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, accompanied with extraordinary delicacy by "she with fingers of steel" Oxana Shevchenko...
But what on earth do we say about the amazing Hakhnazaryan? It was all there, in every note he played in a huge programme that opened with Tchaikovsky's lovely D minor Nocturne, leading effortlessly into the same composer's Pezzo Capriccioso, redefining the word capricious as he swept it off its heels, before bounding through Shostakovich's Cello Sonata in D minor, which almost burst at the seams with character, drive, wit, intensity, bite and sheer comprehension. There are not too many young cellists, even the most dazzling virtuosi, who have such a comprehensive command of their instrument, its techniques and the intellectual acuity required to penetrate and release the core of the music to the blindingly impressive degree of this Armenian.
As straight faced as he is on stage, he is up for a challenge too. He turned theatrical, intoning through Mikhail Bronner's haunting opus, Jew: Life and Death, a concentrated piece that seemed to enshrine Jewish music and character in its short but broad frame. And still the music came pouring out, with sparkling pyrotechnics in Rostropovich's Humoresque and, as a soulful encore, Rachmaninov's Vocalise. A breathtaking event."
Michael Tumelty, Herald, February 2014
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi / Dvorak Cello Concerto / U.S.A Tour
“Hakhnazaryan had what few other cellists can boast: the power to stand up to such a wall of dark, overpowering Estonian sound… Even his grandly shaped lyrical phrases had the quality of mowing down anything in his way. His tone is as gorgeously sure as it is huge. His encore was a strummed, folk-like obscurity: "Chonguri" by Sulkhan Tsintsadze, a Georgian composer. Hakhnazaryan is clearly on his way to a big career.”
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, November 2013
“Narek Hakhnazaryan, the 2011 recipient of the Gold Medal at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition made an immediate sensation… Even the orchestra musicians seemed to have stopped breathing while the young virtuoso made an impression of artistic subtlety not to be forgotten.”
Gary Lemco, Peninsula Reviews, November 2013
“Hakhnazaryan’s performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor was electrifying. Playing with lean, compact sonority, he swept through the opening Allegro at a daringly fierce clip, yet displayed agile dexterity in the cadenza with its forays to the instrument’s high register. The lyrical second theme was assayed with broad, aristocratic authority.
In the slow movement.. Hakhnazaryan’s beautifully varied dynamics emphasized bold contrasts, from a barely audible whisper to a full throttle singing line. He brought a sense of deep sadness to the movement’s closing pages without exaggerated bathos.
In the finale, Hakhnazaryan’s cello sang out at top volume over the full ensemble at top speed. The collaboration between soloist and conductor was tight and well coordinated…
Hakhnazaryan offered a daring encore, Lamentatio, by Giovanni Sollima. In this improvisation on a Romanian folk song, the cellist sang and chanted as he played an austere, almost liturgical melodic line, suddenly taking off with finger-breaking trills and stops at high speed in a tour de force. This young cellist is an amazing musician whose future career holds the greatest promise.”
South Florida Classical Review, November 2013
Aspen Festival Orchestra / David Robertson / Beethoven “Triple” Concerto
“Hakhnazaryan, in a stunning Aspen debut, unfurled the music with grace and clarity, supple in tone, eloquently phrased.”
Harvey Steiman, Aspen Times, August 2013
“When cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan began to play the theme with just the lightest of accompaniment in the strings, all uncertainty was forgotten. At once the confidence of his artistry put the listener at ease, and, knowing well right away that he possessed an impeccable refinement of technique, one could then shift attention to his wonderful phrasing and musical ideas.”
Andrew Crust, Bach Track, August 2013
Eindhoven Muziekgebouw / Recital with Marianna Shirinyan
“Narek Hakhnazaryan, winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition, proved himself to be an excellent craftsman. No virtuosity is too much, and he plays with great ease and flexibility, with a beautiful full tone across all dynamic levels. Pianist Marianna Shrinyan is of the same musical calibre. Their interplay is exciting and possessed… A thrilling virtuosity featured in the works of Tchakovsky, Khodoyan, Bronner and Rostropovich. The Debussy Sonata sounded sublime and exquisite in tone. The Shostakovich Sonata was full of energy and fascinatingly sculpted; the silence of some phrases was ‘deafening’. What technical prowess, and what a musical force majeure. Mature mastery was also witnessed in the encore – Vocalise by Rachmaninoff. Straight from the heart to the hearts of the listeners. Brilliant!”
Cornélie Hoendervanger, Eindhovens Dagblad, February 2013
Vancouver Recital Society / Franck, Khudoyan, Bronner & Tchaikovsky
"Haknazaryan showed himself an aristocrat of the cello: all the superlative technical skills you’d expect, but with a sensitive, beguiling feeling for both style and content.
Perhaps most telling was his work with co-recitalist Noreen Polera in Franck’s Sonata. Thickly conceived and ultra-lush in the post-Wagner mode, it is all too often rendered as flat-out melodrama. Here the duo maintained a touching measure of elegant French restraint; rigorously logical pacing made this old warhorse sound fresh and compelling. It was a performance to treasure.
Will Haknazaryan be the 21st century heir of the great Mstislav Rostropovich? Given playing this impressive, I wouldn’t be surprised."
Vancouver Sun, February 2013
Gardner Museum Boston / Recital with Noreen Polera
“Hakhnazaryan technically has it all: fabulous bow technique, beautiful vibrato, mastery of ponticello and every other cello device, and ability to play super-fast, brilliantly. But what really distinguishes his playing is its effect on the listener. There is an immediate connection between his cello playing and those lucky enough to be in the audience. It’s that personal connection, that passion and musical charisma, that not only wins competitions, but people’s hearts as well.”
The Boston Musical Intelligencer, October 2012
City of London Festival / Recital with Denis Kozhukhin / Ysaÿe & Franck
“Hakhnazaryan flings himself into everything he plays, eyes closed in romantic abandon. This made for something absolutely riveting in Eugene Ysaÿe’s solo sonata of 1924. Its wayward romanticism, which could seem puzzling in a more cool, objective approach, carried total conviction through the sheer intensity of each gesture. The perilously high, dying-away ending was a marvel of musicality and technique combined.”
Daily Telegraph, July 2012
“Hakhnazaryan brought out the lyricism of the piece [Ysaÿe’s unaccompanied Cello Sonata], while negotiating all the technical challenges (including copious double-stops) with ease. Hakhnazaryan has a flawless technique... Hakhnazaryan especially excelled in the light-hearted moments, and this was brilliantly demonstrated in the encore – the cello version of Paganini’s Variations on One String on a Theme from “Moses”. He performed it with dazzling virtuosity but without a hint of flashiness – every variation was played with character and it was utterly delightful.”
Bach Track, July 2012
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / cond. Ton Koopman / Chicago Symphony Center / Haydn Cello Concerto No.2 in D major
“Although Haydn wrote two cello concerti, the piece performed on Saturday only became “Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major” in 1961, after the discovery of his earlier work. Narek Hakhnazaryan, who studied under Rostropovich, played the piece—which is less showy, though more technically rigorous than its predecessor—with assured grace, after Thursday and Friday night performances by Yo-Yo Ma, perhaps the hardest cellist to follow since the Armenian’s teacher passed away in 2007. If Ma’s “romantic indulgences” (as the Tribune judged them) were an anachronism on Thursday and Friday, Hakhnazaryan’s performance Saturday was appropriately staid, and the audience thanked him with an ovation that he took with a single, entirely pizzicato encore.”
The Chicago Maroon, May 2012
Piatigorsky International Cello Festival / Bovard Auditorium Los Angeles
Saint-Saens Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor
"[Hakhnazaryan] got a near rock star ovation from an audience of screaming cellists in Bovard.... His command of the instrument is extraordinary, and he is clearly going places. He is an assured, flamboyant, old-school Romantic."
Los Angeles Times, March 2012
The Mansion at Strathmore, North Bethesda, Maryland USA / Franck, Chopin & Shostakovich
“Hakhnazaryan’s talent was obvious from the opening phrase of Franck’s late Sonata. Whether pianissimo or triple forte, his bow was ever emphatic, and his emotive power and subjective intensity captured the listener immediately, never letting go.
Hakhnazaryan’s two blazing encores weren’t enough for the audience, who clamored for more."
Washington Post, February 2012
Boston Chamber Music Society / Schumann Fantasiestücke, Op.73
“Why Hakhnazaryan is so highly touted became clear during his performance of Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Op. 73, on the program’s first half. He gets a radiant sound from his instrument, phrases naturally, and has superb bow control. Perhaps the most impressive thing was that he made it seem so fluid and effortless, even in the vigorous third piece. Here is a musician on the fast track, and deservedly so.”
Boston Globe, October 2011
London Symphony Orchestra / cond. Valery Gergiev / Barbican / Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme
“The brightest star of the evening was the 23-year-old Narek Hakhnazaryan, an Armenian cellist of real maturity whose performance of the Variations on a Rococo Theme was characterful and well-judged. Playing on a lovely instrument, Hakhnazaryan had the restraint to remain within the conventions of Tchaikovsky's idiosyncratic piece of Russian retro. But he also has the confidence to bring his own personality to the score and to respond to Gergiev's impulsive pushes.”
Guardian, September 2011
“23-year-old Narek Hakhnazaryan launched into Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with a tone whose beauty shone all the more brightly for its restraint. Every nuance of this subtle work was lovingly observed, and when he did let rip it was with blazing virtuosity. I would now like to hear what this boy can do with Bach’s solo suites: he could certainly give Yo-Yo Ma a run for his money.”
Independent, September 2011
Raderbergkonzert Köln / Trio mit Sergey & Lusine Khachatryan / Rachmaninow, Babadjanian, Beethoven
“Im sich anschlieβenden Trio Nr.1 von Sergej Rachmaninow erwiesen sich die beiden Streichinstrumente als bestens aufeinander abgestimmt, elegische Streicherklänge korrespondierten wunderbar mit den Impulsen des anspruchsvollen Klavierparts.
Das Klaviertrio des 1983 gestorbenen Arno Babadjanian darf als echte Entdeckung gelten. Die Musiker waren hier vollends in ihrem Element. Zarte, quasi impresssionistische Töne wuchsen sich immer wieder zu intensiven Spannungssteigerungen von extremer Ausdruckskraft aus. Flokloristische Elemente gaben dem Ganzen durchweg einen höchst aparten Anstrich.“
Volker Fries, Kölnische Rundschau, Januar 2015
Festsaal Reitstadel, Neumarkt / Trio mit Sergey & Lusine Khachatryan / Rachmaninow, Babadjanian, Beethoven
„Da hörte man, aus welchem temperamentvollen Interpretationsfundus sie die musikdramatischen Mittel haben, mit denen sie auch den Beethoven oder Rachmaninov an diesem Abend unter Hochdruck setzen und von jeder nur edlen Klassik-Langeweile befreien. Mit dem Andante von Babadschanians Trio träumten sich alle Drei nach Armenien zurück: zum Heulen schön.“
Neumarkter Nachrichten, September 2014
„Vom ersten Moment an agierte das Trio in nahezu vollendetem Zusammenspiel. Kraftvoll in der Körpersprache und Mimik schufen sie über den ganzen Abend eine Atmosphäre groβer Spannung und Dichte, die das Publikum nicht mehr loslassen sollte.“
Mittelbayerische Zeitung, September 2014