The Gurdjieff Ensemble, one of the leading groups in the world specializing in ancient and medieval music from the East, will be making their first American Tour to three major cities this September sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU)
The internationally acclaimed Gurdjieff Ensemble was founded by Armenian musician Levon Eskenian in 2008 with the intention of bringing the music of the Armenian philosopher, author and composer Georges I. Gurdjieff back to its ethnic inspirational sources.
The Ensemble consists of Armenia’s leading musicians playing traditional instruments. Their debut album on ECM Records, “Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff,” was widely acclaimed, and won prestigious awards including the Edison Award in the Netherlands.
They have been touring the world with sold out appearances at major festivals and concert halls in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Russia and South America, and will bring their music to American audiences for the first time in September with concerts in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
G.I. Gurdjieff, born in Armenia, is known to many in the West as one of the major spiritual figures of the 20th century. He was a musician, philosopher, choreographer, and writer, and his extensive musical repertoire was based on the music he heard while traveling in Armenia, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and many parts of Central Asia, India and North Africa, where he witnessed a myriad of folk and spiritual music, rituals and dance traditions.
With their second album, “Komitas,” also on ECM Records, the Ensemble turned their attention to the music of Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935). Composer, ethnomusicologist, arranger, singer and priest, Komitas is popularly held to be the founder of contemporary music in Armenia, and in his work as a collector he explored the connections that uniquely bind together Armenian sacred and secular music.
"This year we mark the 150th anniversary of Komitas and the AGBU Performing Arts is presenting the Gurdjieff Ensemble from Armenia for a debut tour in the biggest cities of America. We are extremely excited for the chance to share this special music with the US audiences," said Eskenian.
Eskenian collected piano and vocal works and arranged them for traditional instruments, thereby enhancing and preserving their authenticity. The resulting music allows the Gurdjieff Ensemble, performing on more than 16 traditional Armenian and Eastern instruments, to illuminate the deep roots of Komitas’s and Gurdjieff’s works.
Tickets can be purchased at https://agbu.org/events/.
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs. Each year, AGBU is committed to making a difference in the lives of 500,000 people across Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian diaspora. Since 1906, AGBU has remained true to one overarching goal: to create a foundation for the prosperity of all Armenians. To learn more visit www.agbu.org.