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Encyclopedia > Alan Hovhaness
Alan Hovhaness with an Indonesian rebab
Alan Hovhaness with an Indonesian rebab

Alan Hovhaness (March 8, 1911June 21, 2000) was an American composer of Armenian and Scottish descent. Image File history File links Alan_Hovhaness. ... Image File history File links Alan_Hovhaness. ... For Afghan Rubab, see Rubab. ... is the 67th day of the year (68th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 172nd day of the year (173rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full 2000 Gregorian calendar). ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... Wiktionary has a definition of: Scot A Scot is a person from Scotland. ...

His music is accessible to the lay listener and often evokes a mood of mystery or contemplation. The Boston Globe music critic Richard Buell wrote: "Although he has been stereotyped as a self-consciously Armenian composer (rather as Ernest Bloch is seen as a Jewish composer), his output assimilates the music of many cultures. What may be most American about all of it is the way it turns its materials into a kind of exoticism. The atmosphere is hushed, reverential, mystical, nostalgic." The Boston Globe (and Boston Sunday Globe) is the most widely circulated daily newspaper in Boston, Massachusetts and New England. ... A music critic is someone who reviews music (including printed music, performances and recorded music) and publishes writing on them in books or journals (or on the internet). ... Ernest Bloch with children This article is about the composer. ...

He was among the most prolific composers of the 20th century, composing 67 symphonies and 434 opus numbers.[1] [1]


Early life

He was born as Alan Vaness Chakmakjian in Somerville, Massachusetts to Haroutioun Hovanes Chakmakjian (an Armenian chemistry professor at Tufts College who had been born in Adana, Turkey) and Madeleine Scott (an American woman of Scottish and English descent who had graduated from Wellesley College). At the age of five, the family moved from Somerville to Arlington, Massachusetts. Upon his mother's death (October 3, 1930), he began to use the surname "Hovaness" in honor of his paternal grandfather, and changed it to "Hovhaness" around 1944. The name change reflected increased pride in his Armenian heritage, something that had earlier been discouraged by his mother. Alan was interested in music from a very early age, writing his first composition at the age of four after being inspired by hearing a song of Franz Schubert. This first attempt at composition, a cantata in the early Italian style, was poorly received by his family, so he decided at this time to pursue astronomy, another of his early loves.[2] He did, however, study piano, first with Adelaide Proctor and then with Heinrich Gebhard. Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts Coordinates: , Country State County Middlesex Settled 1630 Incorporated 1842 Government  - Type Mayor-council city  - Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone Area  - Total 4. ... Haroutioun Hovanes Chakmakjian (b. ... Tufts University is a university located in Medford, Massachusetts (near Boston). ... Adana (Turkish: }) (the ancient Antioch in Cilicia or Antioch on the Sarus)) is the capital of Adana Province in Turkey. ... For other uses, see Wellesley College (disambiguation). ... Location in Massachusetts Coordinates: , Country United States State Massachusetts County Middlesex County Settled 1635 Incorporated 1807 Government  - Type Representative town meeting  - Town Manager Brian Sullivan  - Board of    Selectmen Kevin F. Greeley Annie LaCourt Diane Mahon Clarissa Rowe John W. Hurd Area  - Town  5. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ... Schubert redirects here. ... Heinrich Gebhard (July 25, 1878 – 1963) was a German-American pianist and piano teacher. ...

By age 14, Hovhaness decided to devote himself to composition. Among his first and most important influences were the recordings of Gomidas Vartabed, a great Armenian composer who had lived through the Armenian Genocide. He composed two operas during his teenage years, which were performed at Arlington High School, and the composer Roger Sessions took an interest in his music during this time. Following his graduation from high school in 1929, he studied with Leo Rich Lewis at Tufts and then the New England Conservatory of Music, under Frederick Converse. In 1932 he won the Conservatory's Samuel Endicott prize for composition, for a symphonic work entitled Sunset Symphony (elsewhere entitled Sunset Saga). In July 1934, with his first wife, Martha Mott Davis, he traveled to Finland to meet the composer Jean Sibelius, whose music he had greatly admired since childhood. The two remained in correspondence for the next twenty years. Komitas monument in Yerevan Soghomon Gevorki Soghomonyan - Komitas Vardapet (Սողոմոն Գևորքի Սողոմոնյան - Կոմիտաս Վարդապետ in Armenian), by... Armenian Genocide photo. ... Roger Huntington Sessions (28 December 1896 – 16 March 1985) was an American composer, critic and teacher of music. ... Leo Rich Lewis (1864 or 1865-1945) was an American composer. ... The New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston, Massachusetts is the oldest independent conservatory in the United States. ... Frederick Shepherd Converse (b. ... Johan Julius Christian Jean / Janne Sibelius ( ; December 8, 1865 – September 20, 1957) was a Finnish composer of classical music and one of the most notable composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ...

In 1936 Hovhaness attended a performance in Boston by the Indian dance troupe of Uday Shankar (with orchestra led by Vishnudas Shirali), which began the composer's lifelong interest in the music of India.[3] During the 1930s (until 1939) he was employed by the WPA's Federal Music Project. Uday Shankar (1900 - 1977) is a world renowned classical dancer and choreographer from India. ... WPA Graphic The Works Progress Administration (later Work Projects Administration, abbreviated WPA), was created on May 6, 1935 by Presidential order (Congress funded it annually but did not set it up). ... Midsummer Night Symphonies, Southern California Federal Music Project, WPA, ca. ...

Destruction of early works

During the 1930s and 1940s, Hovhaness famously destroyed many of his early works. He later claimed that he had burned at least 1000 different pieces, a process that took at least two weeks;[4] elsewhere he claimed that he had destroyed approximately 500 works, up to 1000 pages in total (Gagne 1993, 121). In an interview with Richard Howard, he stated that the decision was based primarily on Roger Sessions' criticism of his works of that period, and that he wished to have a new start in his composing.[5]

Compositional career

"Armenian Period"

Hovhaness became interested in Armenian culture and music in 1940, as the organist for the St. James Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, Massachusetts, remaining in this position for approximately ten years. In 1942 he won a scholarship at Tanglewood to study in Bohuslav Martinů's master class. However, Martinů had a serious fall in the early summer which made it impossible for him to teach. Instead, the composer's seminar which Hovhaness attended was led by Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. While a recording of Hovhaness's first symphony was being played, Copland talked loudly in Spanish to the Latin American composers in the room, and when the recording finished, Bernstein went to the piano, played a melodic minor scale, and remarked, "I can't stand this cheap ghetto music." Hovhaness was angered and distraught by his experience at Tanglewood, and quit early despite being on scholarship. Following this experience, he again destroyed a number of his works. An organist is a musician who plays any type of organ. ... Official standard of Karekin II Catholicos of Armenia The Armenian Apostolic Church (Armenian: Õ€Õ¡Õµ Ô±Õ¼Õ¡Ö„Õ¥Õ¬Õ¡Õ¯Õ¡Õ¶ Եկեղեցի, Hay Arakelagan Yegeghetzi), sometimes called the Armenian Orthodox Church or the Gregorian Church, is the worlds oldest national church[1] [2] and one of the most ancient Christian communities [3]. // Baptism of Tiridates III. The earliest... The Town of Watertown is a city[1] in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Tanglewood Music Shed and lawn. ... Portrait of Martinů Bohuslav Martinů ( ; December 8, 1890—August 28, 1959) was a Czech composer. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Aaron Copland Aaron Copland (November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) was an American composer of concert and film music, as well as an accomplished pianist. ... Leonard Bernstein in 1971 Leonard Bernstein (IPA pronunciation: )[1] (August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, and pianist. ...

The next year he devoted himself to Armenian subject matter, in particular using modes distinctive to Armenian music, and continued for several years, achieving some renown and the support of other musicians, including John Cage and Martha Graham, all while continuing as church organist. This article is about modes as used in music. ... For the Mortal Kombat character, see Johnny Cage. ... For the supercentenarian, see Martha Graham (supercentenarian). ...

Beginning in the mid-1940s, Hovhaness and two artist friends, Hyman Bloom and Hermon di Giovanno, met frequently to discuss spiritual and musical matters. All three had a strong interest in Indian classical music, and brought many well known Indian musicians to Boston to perform. During this period, Hovhaness learned to play the sitar, studying with amateur Indian musicians living in the Boston area. Around 1942, Bloom introduced Hovhaness to Yenovk Der Hagopian, a fine singer of Armenian and Kurdish troubadour songs, whose singing served as an inspiration to Hovhaness. Hyman Bloom (b. ... Hermon di Giovanno (right), with Gil Magno. ... The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. ... Diagram of some sitar parts. ...

In one of many applications for a Guggenheim fellowship (1941), Hovhaness presented his credo:

"I propose to create an heroic, monumental style of composition simple enough to inspire all people, completely free from fads, artificial mannerisms and false sophistications, direct, forceful, sincere, always original but never unnatural. Music must be freed from decadence and stagnation. There has been too much emphasis on small things while the great truths have been overlooked. The superficial must be dispensed with. Music must become virile to express big things. It is not my purpose to supply a few pseudo intellectual musicians and critics with more food for brilliant argumentation, but rather to inspire all mankind with new heroism and spiritual nobility. This may appear to be sentimental and impossible to some, but it must be remembered that Palestrina, Handel, and Beethoven would not consider it either sentimental or impossible. In fact, the worthiest creative art has been motivated consciously or unconsciously by the desire for the regeneration of mankind."

Lou Harrison reviewed a 1945 concert of Hovhaness' music which included his 1944 concerto for piano and strings, entitled Lousadzak: Lou Silver Harrison (May 14, 1917 - February 2, 2003) was an American composer. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

"There is almost nothing occurring most of the time but unison melodies and very lengthy drone basses, which is all very Armenian. It is also very modern indeed in its elegant simplicity and adamant modal integrity, being, in effect, as tight and strong in its way as a twelve-tone work of the Austrian type. There is no harmony either, and the brilliance and excitement of parts of the piano concerto were due entirely to vigor of idea. It really takes a sound musicality to invent a succession of stimulating ideas within the bounds of an unaltered mode and without shifting the home-tone."

However, as before, there were also critics:

The serialists were all there. And so were the Americanists, both Aaron Copland's group and Virgil's. And here was something that had come out of Boston that none of us had ever heard of and was completely different from either. There was nearly a riot in the foyer [during intermission] — everybody shouting. A real whoop-dee-doo.
(Miller and Lieberman 1998)

Lousadzak was Hovhaness's first work to make use of an innovative technique he called the "spirit murmur" — an early example of aleatoric music that was inspired by a vision of Hermon di Giovanno.[6] The technique involves instruments repeating phrases in uncoordinated fashion, producing a complex "cloud" or "carpet" of sounds.[7] Aleatoric music (also aleatory music or chance music; from the Latin word alea, meaning dice) is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance or some primary element of a composed works realization is left to the determination of its performer(s). ...

In the mid-1940s Hovhaness' stature in New York was helped considerably by members of the immigrant Armenian community who sponsored several high-profile concerts of his music. This organization, the Friends of Armenian Music Committee, was led by Hovhaness's friends Dr. Elizabeth A. Gregory, the Armenian American piano/violin duo Maro Ajemian and Anahid Ajemian, and later Anahid's husband, pioneering record producer and subsequent Columbia Records executive George Avakian. Their help led directly to many recordings of Hovhaness' music appearing in the 1950s on MGM and Mercury records, placing him firmly on the American musical landscape. An Armenian-American is a citizen of the United States who is of Armenian ancestry. ... Maro Ajemian (d. ... Anahid Ajemian is an American violinist of Armenian ancestry. ... George Avakian (born Armavir, Russia, March 15, 1919) is an Armenian-American record producer and executive known particularly for his work with Columbia Records, and his production of albums by Miles Davis and other notable jazz musicians. ...

In May and June of 1946, while staying with an Armenian family, Hovhaness composed Etchmiadzin, an opera on an Armenian theme, which was commissioned by a local Armenian church.

Conservatory years

In 1948 he joined the faculty of the Boston Conservatory, teaching there until 1951. His students there included the jazz musicians Sam Rivers and Gigi Gryce. Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Boston Conservatory is an arts conservatory located in the Fenway-Kenmore region of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. ... For the bass guitarist named Sam Rivers, see Sam Rivers (bass guitarist) or Limp Bizkit. ... Gigi Gryce (b. ...

Relocation to New York

In 1951, Hovhaness moved to New York City, where he took up composing full-time. Also that year (beginning August 1), he worked at the Voice of America, first as a script writer for the Armenian Section, then as Director of Music, composer, and musical consultant for the Near East and Trans-Caucasian section. He eventually lost this job (along with much of the other staff) when Dwight D. Eisenhower succeeded Harry S. Truman as U.S. president in 1953. Beginning at this time, Hovhaness branched out from Armenian music, adopting styles and material from a wide variety of sources. In 1953 and 1954 he received Guggenheim Fellowships in composition. In 1954 he wrote the score for the Broadway play The Flowering Peach by Clifford Odets, a ballet for Martha Graham (Ardent Song, 1954), and two scores for NBC documentaries on India and Southeast Asia (1955 and 1957). Also during the 1950s, he composed for productions at The Living Theatre. Year 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... Voice of America logo Voice of America (VOA), is the official external radio and television broadcasting service of the United States federal government. ... Dwight David Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American General and politician, who served as the thirty-fourth President of the United States (1953–1961). ... For other persons named Harry Truman, see Harry Truman (disambiguation). ... January 7 - President Harry S. Truman announces the United States has developed a hydrogen bomb. ... Alan Hovhaness, composer (also awarded a Fellowship in 1954) Guggenheim Fellows for 1953 Guggenheim Fellowship Category: ... Carl Benjamin Boyer, historian of science Alan Hovhaness, composer (also awarded a Fellowship in 1953) Guggenheim Fellows for 1954 Guggenheim Fellowship Category: ... Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded annually by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to those who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... Clifford Odets photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1937 Clifford Odets (July 18, 1906 - August 18, 1963) was an American socialist playwright, screenwriter, and social protester. ... This article is about the television network. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... The Living Theatre is an American theatre company founded in 1947 and based in New York City. ...

"Mysterious Mountain"

His biggest breakthrough to date came in 1955, when his Symphony No. 2, Mysterious Mountain, was premiered by Leopold Stokowski in his debut with the Houston Symphony. The idea that Mysterious Mountain was commissioned for the Houston Symphony is a common misconception [8]. That same year, MGM Records released recordings of a number of his works. Between 1956 and 1958, at the urging of Howard Hanson (who was an admirer of his music), he taught summers at the Eastman School of Music. Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... Leopold Stokowski (born Antoni Stanisław Bolesławowicz April 18, 1882 in London, England, died September 13, 1977 in Nether Wallop, England) was the conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Symphony of the Air. ... The Houston Symphony Orchestra is one of the United States of Americas major orchestras, based, as its name suggests, in Houston, Texas. ... MGM Records was a record label started by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio in 1946. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester (also known more simply as The Eastman School, Eastman, or ESM) is a music conservatory located in the United States. ...

Trips to Asia

From 1959 through 1963, Hovhaness conducted a series of research trips to India, Hawaii, Japan, and South Korea, investigating the ancient traditional musics of these nations and eventually integrating elements of these into his own compositions. His study of Carnatic music in Madras, India (1959-60), during which he collected over 300 ragas, was sponsored by a Fulbright fellowship. While in Madras, he learned to play the veena and composed a work for Carnatic orchestra entitled Nagooran, inspired by a visit to the dargah at Nagore, which was performed by the South Indian Orchestra of All India Radio Madras and broadcast on All India Radio on February 3, 1960. He compiled a large amount of material on Carnatic ragas in preparation for a book on the subject, but never completed it. Carnatic music, also known as is one of the two styles of Indian classical music, the other being Hindustani music. ... , “Madras” redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Fulbright redirects here. ... Woman playing the Veena. ... A dargah (Persian: درگه) is a Sufi shrine built over the grave of a revered religious figure, often a Sufi saint. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... For the electronica band, see All India Radio (band). ...

He studied Japanese gagaku music (learning the wind instruments hichiriki, shō, and ryūteki) in the spring of 1962 with Masatoshi Shamoto in Hawaii, and a Rockefeller Foundation grant allowed him to conduct further gagaku studies with Masataro Togi in Japan (1962-63). Also while in Japan, he studied and played the nagauta (kabuki) shamisen and the jōruri (bunraku) shamisen. In recognition of the musical styles he studied in Japan, he wrote his famous Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints, Op. 211, a concerto for xylophone and orchestra. Gagaku (雅楽, literally elegant enjoyment) is a type of Japanese classical music that has been performed at the Imperial court for several centuries. ... The hichiriki (Japanese: 篳篥) is a double reed instrument of Japanese gagaku music. ... Shō (笙) is a Japanese free reed musical instrument that was introduced from China during the Nara period. ... The ryÅ«teki (龍笛) is a Japanese transverse flute made of bamboo. ... The Rockefeller Foundation (RF) is a prominent philanthropic organization based at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City. ... Nagauta (長唄; literally long song from Japanese) is a kind of traditional Japanese music which accompanies the kabuki theater. ... The oldest Kabuki theatre in Japan: the Minamiza in Kyoto The Kabukiza in Ginza is one of Tokyos leading kabuki theaters. ... Kitagawa Utamaro, Flowers of Edo: Young Womans Narrative Chanting to the Samisen, ca. ... Jōruri is a type of sung narrative with shamisen accompaniment, typically found in Bunraku, a traditional Japanese puppet theatre. ... Bunraku (Japanese: 文楽), also known as Ningyō jōruri (人形浄瑠璃), is a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, founded in Osaka in 1684. ... Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints, Op. ...

In 1963 he composed his second ballet score for Martha Graham, entitled Circe. In 1965, as part of a US government-sponsored delegation, he visited Russia, Georgia and Armenia (then under Soviet control), the only time during his life that he would visit his ancestral homeland. While there, he donated his handwritten manuscripts of harmonized Armenian liturgical music to the Yeghishe Charents State Museum of Arts and Literature in Yerevan. State motto: ÕŠÖ€Õ¸Õ¬Õ¥Õ¿Õ¡Ö€Õ¶Õ¥Ö€ Õ¢Õ¸Õ¬Õ¸Ö€ Õ¥Ö€Õ¯Ö€Õ¶Õ¥Ö€Õ«, միացեք! (Workers of the world, unite!) Official language None. ... Yeghishe Charents (born Soghomonyan, Armenian: ) (13 March 1897, Kars - 29 November 1937, Yerevan) was an Armenian poet executed in Stalins purges. ... Location of Yerevan in Armenia Coordinates: , Country Established 782 BC Government  - Mayor Yervand Zakharyan Area  - City 227 km²  (87. ...

World view

Perhaps also prophetic in worldly matters, Hovhaness stated in a 1971 interview in Ararat magazine:

"We are in a very dangerous period. We are in danger of destroying ourselves, and I have a great fear about this...The older generation is ruling ruthlessly. I feel that this is a terrible threat to our civilization. It's the greed of huge companies and huge organizations which control life in a kind of a brutal way...It's gotten worse and worse, somehow, because physical science has given us more and more terrible deadly weapons, and the human spirit has been destroyed in so many cases, so what's the use of having the most powerful country in the world if we have killed the soul. It's of no use" (Michaelyan 1971).

Later life

Hovhaness was inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1951), and received honorary D.Mus. degrees from the University of Rochester (1958), Bates College (1959), and the Boston Conservatory (1987). He moved to Seattle in the early 1970s, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1973 he composed his third and final ballet score for Martha Graham: Myth of a Voyage, and over the next twenty years (between 1973 and 1992) he produced no fewer than 37 new symphonies. The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters was formed in 1976 from the merger of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, which was founded in 1898, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which was founded in 1904. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The University of Rochester (UR) is a private, coeducational and nonsectarian research university located in Rochester, New York. ... Bates College is a private liberal arts college, founded in 1855 by abolitionists, located in Lewiston, Maine, in the United States. ... The Boston Conservatory is an arts conservatory located in the Fenway-Kenmore region of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. ... Seattle redirects here. ...

Continuing his interest in composing for Asian instruments, in 1981, at the request of Lou Harrison, he composed two works for Indonesian gamelan orchestra, which were premiered by the gamelan of Lewis & Clark College, under the direction of Vincent McDermott. Gamelan - Indonesian Embassy in Canberra A gamelan is a kind of musical ensemble of Indonesia typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings, and vocalists may also be included. ... Lewis & Clark College is a private liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon. ... (Joseph) Vincent McDermott (b. ...

Hovhaness is survived by his wife, the coloratura soprano Hinako Fujihara Hovhaness, who administers the Hovhaness-Fujihara music publishing company;[9] as well as a daughter, the harpsichordist Jean Nandi). Coloratura is an old word meaning colouring. ... Harpsichord in the Flemish style A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. ...

Research Centre

In 2004 plans were announced to establish an Alan Hovhaness International Research Centre in Yerevan, Armenia, to be part of that nation's State Museum of Arts and Literature. The centre, intended as a world center for Hovhaness research, will house a comprehensive archive of materials related to Hovhaness.[10] Location of Yerevan in Armenia Coordinates: , Country Established 782 BC Government  - Mayor Yervand Zakharyan Area  - City 227 km²  (87. ...

Significant compositions

  • 1936 (rev. 1954) - Prelude and Quadruple Fugue (orchestra), Op. 128
  • 1944 - Lousadzak (Concerto for piano and strings), Op. 48
  • 1945 - Mihr (for two pianos)
  • 1946 - Prayer of St. Gregory, Op. 62b, for trumpet and strings (interlude from the opera Etchmiadzin)
  • 1947 - Arjuna (Symphony No. 8) for piano, timpani and orch., Op. 179
  • 1949-50 - St. Vartan Symphony (No. 9), Op. 180
  • 1951 - Khaldis, Op. 91, for piano, four trumpets, and percussion
  • 1953 - Concerto No. 7 (Orchestra), Op. 116
  • 1954 - Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Op. 123, No. 3
  • 1955 - Mysterious Mountain (Symphony No. 2), Op. 132
  • 1957 - Symphony No. 4, Op. 165
  • 1958 - Meditation on Orpheus, Op. 155
  • 1958 - Magnificat (SATB soli, SATB choir and orchestra), Op. 157
  • 1959 - Symphony No. 6, Celestial Gate, Op. 173
  • 1963 - Silver Pilgrimage (Symphony No. 15), Op. 199
  • 1966 - Vishnu Symphony (No. 19), Op. 217
  • 1967 - Fra Angelico, Op. 220
  • 1969 - Symphony No. 20, Three Journeys to a Holy Mountain, Op. 223
  • 1969 - Lady of Light (soli, chorus, and orch), Op. 227
  • c. 1969 - Shambala, Concerto for violin, sitar, and orchestra, Op. 228
  • 1970 - Symphony No. 22, City of Light, Op. 236
  • 1970 - And God Created Great Whales (taped whale songs and orchestra), Op. 229
  • 1971 - Saturn Op. 243 for soprano, clarinet, and piano
  • 1973 - Majnun Symphony (No. 24), Op. 273
  • 1979 - Guitar Concerto, Op. 325
  • 1982 - Symphony No. 50, Mount St. Helens, Op. 360
  • 1986 - Symphony No. 60, To the Appalachian Mountains, Op. 396


Films about Alan Hovhaness

  • 2006 - A Tribute to Alan Hovhaness. Produced by Alexan Zakyan, Hovhaness Research Centre, Yerevan, Armenia.
  • 1984 - Alan Hovhaness. Directed by Jean Walkinshaw, KCTS-TV, Seattle.
  • 1986 - Whalesong. Directed by Barbara Willis Sweete, Rhombus Media.
  • 1990 - The Verdehr Trio: The Making of a Medium. Program 1: Lake Samish Trio/Alan Hovhaness. Directed by Lisa Lorraine Whiting, Michigan State University.

Films with scores by Alan Hovhaness

  • 1955 - Assignment: India. NBC-TV documentary.
  • 1956 - Narcissus. Directed by Willard Maas.
  • 1957 - Assignment: Southeast Asia. NBC-TV documentary.
  • 1962 - Pearl Lang and Francisco Moncion dance performance: Black Marigolds. From the CBS television program Camera Three, presented in cooperation with the New York State Education Department. Directed by Nick Havinga.
  • 1966 - Nehru: Man of Two Worlds. From The Twentieth Century series; reporter: Walter Cronkite. A presentation of CBS News.
  • 1973 - Tales From a Book of Kings: The Houghton Shah-Nameh. New York, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art and Time-Life Multimedia.
  • 1980 - Cosmos. Hosted by Carl Sagan. Directed by Adrian Malone.
  • 1982 - Everest North Wall. Directed by Laszlo Pal.
  • 1984 - Winds of Everest. Directed by Laszlo Pal.

Willard Maas was an American experimental filmmaker. ... Pearl Lang is a modern dance teacher and choreographer who worked with dance legend Martha Graham. ... Cosmos: A Personal Voyage was the name of a thirteen part television series produced by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan which was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980. ... Insert non-formatted text here Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer and astrobiologist and a highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics, and other natural sciences. ...

Interesting Facts

  • Hovhaness married six times, the first marriage was around 1934, the last 1977.
  • The daughter from his first marriage (his only child) was named Jean Christina Hovaness (born June 13, 1935) and named after Jean Christian Sibelius, her godfather, with whom Hovhaness maintained a friendship.
  • Hovhaness may have been one of the first American composers to set up his own record label, Poseidon Society. Its first release was in 1963, with around 15 discs following over the next decade.

Johan Julius Christian Jean / Janne Sibelius ( ; December 8, 1865 – September 20, 1957) was a Finnish composer of classical music and one of the most notable composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ... A godparent, in many denominations of Christianity, is someone who sponsors a childs baptism. ...

Notable students of Alan Hovhaness

Domenick Argento (born October 27, 1927, York, Pennsylvania) is an American composer, best known as a leading composer of lyric opera. ... John Davison (b. ... John Diercks John Diercks (b. ... Gigi Gryce (b. ... For the bass guitarist named Sam Rivers, see Sam Rivers (bass guitarist) or Limp Bizkit. ... Mary Jeanne van Appledorn (b. ... Robert Washburn (born 1928) is a composer and educator. ...


  • Gagne, Cole (1993). Soundpieces 2: Interviews with American Composers. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-2710-7.
  • Harrison, Lou (1945). "Alan Hovhaness Offers Original Compositions." New York Herald Tribune, June 18, 1945, p. 11.
  • Howard, Richard (1983). The Works of Alan Hovhaness: A Catalog, Opus 1-Opus 360. Pro Am Music Resources. ISBN 0-912483-00-8.
  • Kostelanetz, Richard (1989). On Innovative Music(ian)s. New York: Limelight Editions
  • Michaelyan, Julia (1971). "An Interview with Alan Hovhaness." Ararat: A Quarterly 45, v. 12, no. 1 (Winter 1971), pp. 19-31.
  • Miller, Leta E. and Lieberman, Frederic (1998). Lou Harrison: Composing a World. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511022-6.
  • Nandi, Jean (2000). Unconventional Wisdom: A Memoir. [Berkeley, California]: Jean Nandi.

Richard (Cory) Kostelanetz (14 May 1940, New York City) is a prolific American artist, author and critic. ...


  1. ^ The number of opus numbers was identifed as 434 by Kenneth Page in a review in Limelight magazine (Australia), May 2007, p.55

This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

External links


  • Other Minds Archive: "The World of Alan Hovhaness" from KPFA's Ode To Gravity series, aired 28 January 1976; includes an interview with the composer by Charles Amirkhanian recorded in late 1975
  • Art of the States: Alan Hovhaness Lousadzak, op. 48 (1944)

  Results from FactBites:
content (807 words)
Hovhaness was born in Somerville, MA, on March 8, 1911 to Haroutiun Hovhaness Chakmakjian, a chemistry professor, and Madeline Scott Chakmakjian.
Hovhaness began improvising even before he had piano lessons, and began writing music as soon as he learned to read it at the age of seven.
Hovhaness' music...sounds modern (but not ultra-modern) in a natural and uninhibited fashion, because he has found new ways to use the archaic materials with which he starts, by following their natural trend towards modal sequence and polymodalism.
peermusic classical : Composer Alan Hovhaness (448 words)
Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) was one of the 20th century's most prolific composers.
Listening to the Armenian singer Komitas, Hovhaness learned about "saying as much as possible with the fewest possible notes." This was a radical path to take in the 1940s, and one from which he rarely strayed.
Hovhaness cites his studies in the Far East, as well as his exposure to Uday Shankar (brother of Ravi) as the source of the mysticism in his music.
  More results at FactBites »



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