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Alan Hovhaness


Alan Hovhaness, perhaps one of the most prolific composers from the twentieth hundred years, left out a legacy of a huge selection of functions, including a lot more than 60 symphonies, many choral functions, ballets, and operas, and everything types of chamber music. Hovhaness, given birth to of Scottish and Armenian descent in 1911, required an early desire for structure, and by age 13 had made up two operas. After research at the brand new Britain Conservatory with Frederick Converse, Hovhaness produced a good impression along with his 1st recognized symphony, Exile, when it had been performed from the BBC Symphony in London in 1939. The functions of Hovhaness’ early period both reveal the impact of Renaissance music and make use of the harmonies from the past due nineteenth hundred years. Through the 1930s the composer created a pastime in Indian music, which became probably one of the most pervasive affects upon his personal functions from that point on. In 1942 he received a scholarship or grant towards the Berkshire Music Middle at Tanglewood, where he went to composition workshops led by Aaron Copland (aided by Leonard Bernstein). The knowledge, unfortunately, was significantly less than positive, since both Copland and Bernstein had been highly crucial of Hovhaness’ music. The ridicule he experienced led Hovhaness to keep Tanglewood early. Discouraged, he damaged a lot of his early functions. Serendipitously, though, the composer’s go back to Boston was accompanied by a meeting using the Greek painter and psychic Herman DiGiovanno, who confident him to review the music of his Armenian ancestry. Further immersion in Armenian chapel music led Hovhaness towards the functions of Komitas Vartabed, a priest and composer who passed away in 1936 and whom Hovhaness referred to as the “Armenian Bartók.” Hovhaness’ finding of Armenian music experienced a direct impact upon his personal functions, which became even more rhythmically and contrapuntally energetic and started to reveal the improvisatory character of Armenian chapel melodies. Through the 1940s Hovhaness furthered his research from the Armenian tradition, playing body organ at an Armenian chapel and learning the Armenian vocabulary, and took an additional desire for the Eastern philosophies. The developing achievement of his music in the 1950s resulted in several important grants or loans and commissions; a give from your Country wide Institute of Arts and Characters in 1951 allowed him to go to NY. After composing Ardent Track (1954), a ballet rating for Martha Graham, Hovhaness toured china and taiwan. Still shunned from the mainstream musical establishment of that time period, he continued to get reputation from without, including Guggenheim Fellowships in 1953, 1954, and 1958. A payment through the Houston Symphony, the Symphony No. 2 (“Incomprehensible Hill”; 1955) provided Hovhaness his initial popular success. The task was auspiciously premiered by Leopold Stokowski, as well as the redoubtable Fritz Reiner produced a highly deemed recording from it using the Chicago Symphony. After finding a Fulbright Fellowship in 1959, Hovhaness once again toured the East and was the initial Western composer asked to take part in the music celebration in Madras, India. He was also received warmly in Japan, where he produced television performances and executed his music using the Tokyo Symphony. Throughout a go back to Asia in 1962 on the Rockefeller Offer, Hovhaness researched the ancient courtroom music of Japan and Korea. The aural consequence of the composer’s immersion in Eastern lifestyle is really a musical vocabulary invested with a feeling of mysticism and spirituality. Among his voluminous catalogue, Hovhaness’ colourful orchestral functions have maintained the best popularity among viewers; notable for example the Symphony No. 17 (“Symphony for Steel Orchestra”; 1963); And God Developed Great Whales (1970), which includes recordings of real whale “tunes,” as well as the Symphony No. 50 (“Support St. Helen’s”; 1982).

Quick Facts

Full Name Alan Hovhaness
Died June 21, 2000, Seattle, Washington, United States
Profession Film Score Composer
Education New England Conservatory of Music, Tufts University
Nationality American
Spouse Hinako Fujihara
Children Jean Nandi Hovhaness
Parents Haroutioun Hovanes Chakmakjian, Madeleine Scott
Awards Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada
Music Songs Tzaikerk, Op. 53, Symphony no. 11 "All Men Are Brothers", Symphony No. 6, op. 173, Love Song Vanishing into Sounds of Crickets. Op.327, Prayer of Saint Gregory, op. 626, Sonata for Piano "Prospect Hill," Op. 346, Ghazal No.1, Op. 36 No.1, Shalimar, Op.177, “Vishnu” Symphony No. 19, Op. 217, To Hiroshige's Cat, Komachi, Op.240, Six Dances for Piano, Requiem And Resurrection Op. 224, To Hiroshige's Cat, 1st Movement, Op. 366, I. Overture, III. Allegro Moderato, II. Andante espressivo, Symphony No. 22, Op. 236, "City of Light": I. Allegro moderato, Symphony No. 22, Op. 236, "City of Light": III. Allegretto grazioso, Symphony No. 22, Op. 236, "City of Light": IV. Finale: Largo maestoso, October Mountain: I.-, Fantasy for Piano, op. 16, Symphony No. 9, Op. 180 "Saint Vartan Symphony": XVI-XXIV, Khrimian Hairig, Op. 49, III. Canon, IV. Finale: Andante - Allegro, V. Fugue, VI. Fantasy, Orbit No. 1, Op. 90, No. 2, VII. Double Canon, I. Adagio doloroso, Symphony No. 25, op. 275 , Part 2
Albums Celestial Gate and Other Orchestral Works, Alan Hovhaness - Star Dawn, Hovhaness and Long, Spirit Murmer, Hovhaness Collection (disc 2), Mysterious Mountain / And God Created Great Whales (Seattle Symphony, feat. conductor: Gerard Schwarz), The Rubaiyat (Michael York, Seattle Symphony), Music of Alan Hovhaness (KBS Symphony Orchestra), West Point Symphony / Symphony No. 3 / Symphony No. 4, Janabar / Talin / Shambala, Symphony No. 22 "City of Light" / Cello Concerto, Mountains and Rivers, Hovhaness: Mysterious Mountain / Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kije Suite / Stravinsky: The Fairy's Kiss Divertimento, Concerto no. 7 for Orchestra / Symphony no. 15 / Magnificat, Music of Alan Hovhaness, Symphonies nos. 4, 20 and 53 / The Prayer of Saint Gregory, Shalimar: Hovhaness Plays Hovhaness, Concerto for Harp and String Orchestra / Spirit of Trees / Upon Enchanted Ground / The Garden of Adonis / Sonata for Harp, 20th Century Music for Trumpet and Organ, John Williams: The Five Sacred Trees / Hovhaness: Mysterious Mountain, Symphony no. 1 “Exile” / Symphony no. 50 “Mount Saint Helens”, Stravinsky: Song of the Nightingale / The Fairy's Kiss: Divertimento / Hovhaness: Mysterious Mountain, Mysterious Mountain / Lousadzak / Elegiac Symphony, Polyphonia Orchestra of London, Alan Hovaness, conducting, Mystical Mountains, Symphony no. 48 "Vision of Andromeda" / Prelude and Quadruple Fugue / Soprano Saxophone Concerto, Guitar Concerto no. 2 / Symphony no. 63 “Loon Lake” / Fanfare for the New Atlantis, Hovhaness: Fantasy for Piano / Vartabed: Six Dances for Piano, Mystery of the Holy Martyrs / Symphony No. 3 (KBS Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Vakhtang Jordania), Saint Vartan Symphony, op. 80, Mount St. Helens Symphony / City of Light Symphony (Seattle Symphony feat. conductor: Gerard Schwarz, Alan Hovhaness), Violin|Viola and Keyboard Works, Requiem And Resurrection, Op. 224/Symphony No. 19, Op. 217, Symphony no. 9, op. 180 "Saint Vartan Symphony" / "Artik", Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra, Solos, Duos, Trios, Hovhaness Collection Volume Two (Seattle Symphony feat. conductor: Gerard Schwarz), Magnificat
Movies Grandma's Tattoos, Marathon

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1 U.S. composer of Armenian and Scottish descent.
2 Married six times, finally to Japanese soprano Hinako Fujihara in 1977.
3 Composer-in-residence with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra from 1966 until his death.
4 Took last name 'Hovhaness' to honor a grandfather.



Marathon 2010
About Us 2005 TV Series documentary 1 episode
Mal Barré 2000 Short
Winds of Everest 1985 TV Movie documentary
Everest North Wall 1983 Documentary
Climbers 1980 Short
The Twentieth Century 1966 TV Series documentary 1 episode
Narcissus 1958
The Incredible Turk 1958 TV Movie documentary original music score



SEE: An Art Road Trip 2013 Documentary writer: "Visionary Landscape No. 2 Evening Bell"
Entre père et fils 2003 Documentary writer: "Fred the Cat", "Visions of a Starry Night"
Cosmos 1980 TV Mini-Series documentary writer - 1 episode

Music Department

Music Department

Alaska: Spirit of the Wild 1998 Documentary short composer: song "Mysterious Mountain" from "Symphony No.2"

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