Saturday, February 22, 2020 8 pm - Meridian Arts Centre, 5040 Yonge Street 


NUNE MELIK Violinist /  BESTE KALENDER Mezzo-soprano 

The Program
KOMITAS The Crane (Groong)  
SHARAFYAN Concerto Serenata Canadian premiere 
INCIRCI Three Songs world premiere 
KOMITAS Two Songs  
CHOBANIAN Komitas: the Tortured Soul 
SKALKOTTAS Five Greek Dances 
BARTOK Romanian Dances 
KOMITAS Armenian Folk Songs 

1 hour and 15 minutes plus an intermission

What's interesting about this concert
~ Miniature folkloric gems by composers inspired by their roots 
~ Remembering an iconic Armenian composer
~ Two superb soloists   

To see the seating chart please click here During checkout please indicate your seating preferences in the special requests area.

Adult ticket: $42

Senior (60+) ticket: $35

Student ticket: $15

The soloists

NUNE MELIK Violinist - 
Born in Siberia, Nuné began playing violin at six. Her first solo performance with orchestra took place only a year later with the Kazan Symphony. Since then she has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Armenia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia and the US. Since 2015 she has held the post of Artist-in-Residence with the Miami Chamber Orchestra and Mexico’s Orquestra Filarmonía de Xalapa. Nuné has performed across Canada, in the Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, Salle Claude Champagne and Place des Arts in Montreal, Palais Montcalm in Quebec City, and many other cities included in her Jeunesse Musicale tour. She has performed in New York in both Stern Auditorium and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Merkin Hall and at UN Headquarters, and in major halls in other international centres, including the Bolshoi and the International House of Music in Moscow. 

In October 2017 Nuné released her ‘Hidden Treasure’ CD of works by Armenian composers, which was selected as “Disc of the Week” by ICI Musique and one of the “‘Best of 2017” by She gave CD launch concerts in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston and Los Angeles. 

Internationally recognized as a specialist in music of the Caucasus, Nuné lectures in four languages. She has performed and lectured on this subject at Columbia University, Wayne State University, the University of Arizona and Yerevan’s Naregatsi Arts Institute and Russian-Armenian University. 

Nuné is a passionate educator and communicator. She has given masterclass series for members of the Greater Miami Youth Orchestra and the Orquestra Filarmonía de Xalapa. She recently starred in the documentary “Where is Music,” which received an award at the Accolade international Film Festival in California. In 2018 she produced and directed a documentary about Armenian composer Arno Babadjanian. She has appeared in many podcasts, including Dan Rosenberg’s Café International, and has been featured in Strings Magazine, the Armenian Mirror-Spectator and Huffington Post Online. 

Several volumes of Nuné’s poetry have been published in English, French, Russian and Armenian, and her book of French and English poems also includes her photography. 

Nuné earned an Honours Diploma at the Gnessin Music College, studied at the Moscow State Conservatory, and completed her Masters at the University of Montreal. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies at McGill. Nuné Melik plays on a 1827 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin and Claude Auguste Thomassin bow, both on loan from the Canimex Foundation.

BESTE KALENDER Mezzo-soprano - Beste grew up in the city of Antalya, Turkey, and in Istanbul.  Opera became her dream at a very early age. She recalls an afternoon when she was either five or six years old: her parents were watching television and she saw “this lady in a huge, puffy red dress making this magnificent sound. I didn’t know it was opera, of course, but I pointed at her and said, ‘I want to be her.’”

She began singing in children’s opera choruses and attended both the State Conservatory and one of the country’s top schools, Bogazici University.  After coming to Canada to pursue graduate studies in music cognition at the University of Toronto, she began singing in festivals, working with Les Choregies D’Orange in France, Opera on the Avalon in Newfoundland and the Music Academy of the West in California.

Beste completed an Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory in 2014, and by early 2015 she was taking part in the Emerging Artist Development Program at the Calgary Opera, where she also stepped in on one hour’s notice to sing the role of Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen when the original artist had to bow out due to illness. 

Following her experiences in Calgary Beste’s career has taken her across Canada, from Edmonton and Banff to Ottawa and Montreal.   She made her US debut at Carnegie Hall in January 2017, and in that same year she was selected as “New Artist of the Month” by the prestigious magazine Musical America.

Beste has performed operatic roles and recitals in Belarus, France, Italy, Norway, Russia and Turkey.  She has appeared in the Toronto Summer Music Festival, and has starred in a number of opera productions in Toronto, appearing in many roles at the RCM, with VOICEBOX Opera, and singing the title role of La Belle Hélène with Toronto Operetta Theatre.   Next season she will star as Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte with the Vancouver Opera Company.

When journalists ask Beste about her musical preferences - only opera, or what about contemporary music, lieder recitals, popular, folk repertoire? – she responds that she loves many styles.  “As long as I can communicate with people through my music, I’m the happiest person in the world.” 

The composers

KOMITAS - Komitas Vardapet was born as Soghomon Soghomonyan on 26 September 1869 in Kütahya, Ottoman Empire into a musical family whose members were monolingual in Turkish. His mother died when he was one and his father died ten years later. His grandmother looked after him until 1881 when Soghomon was admitted into the church seminary where he excelled with his singing talent and graduated in 1893 and became a monk. According to church tradition he was renamed as Komitas and two years later he became a priest. In the monastery he established and conducted a choir. In 1896 he went to Berlin to further study music in the Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm University with Prof. Richard Schmidt. In 1899 he obtained his doctorate in musicology and returned to Etchmiadzin, where he began conducting the polyphonic male choir. He traveled throughout the country, listening to and recording details about Armenian folk songs and dances performed in various villages. He collected and published some 3000 songs, many of them adapted to choir. Komitas gave many lectures and performed throughout Europe, Turkey and Egypt, promoting and presenting then little-known Armenian music.

From 1910, he lived and worked in Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) where he founded the 300-member Gusan Choir. On April 24, 1915 as the  Armenian Genocide began, he was arrested and put on a train the next day together with 180 other Armenian notables and sent to the city of Çankiri in northern Central Anatolia, at a distance of some 300 miles.  In the autumn of 1916, he was taken to a Turkish military hospital. He was moved to Paris in 1919 where he died in 1935 in a psychiatric clinic. Next year his ashes were transferred to Yerevan and buried in the Pantheon that has been named after him. In 1950s his manuscripts were also transferred from Paris to Yerevan.

VACHE SHARAFYAN is one of the most renowned Armenian composers with an international reputation. In 1985 he won the prestigious All-Union Composers Competition in the Soviet Union. Until 1990 he studied at the State Conservatory of Yerevan, completing a postgraduate degree in 1992 under Eduard Mirzojan. Subsequently he was professor for music theory and sacred music at the Jerusalem Theological Armenian Seminary until 1996.

In 1998 and 2004 he took part in the Bowling Green Festival of New Music and Arts in the US, as well as the Buffalo Festival in 2002 and 2003.  Vache Sharafyan has established a longstanding collaboration and friendship with, amongst others, the viola player Juri Baschmet and the Cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Since 2001 he has been composing music for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, which performed The Morning Scent of the Acacias Song for duduk and string orchestra, and The Sun, The Wine and the Wind of Time for duduk, violin, cello and piano in, amongst other places, Cologne, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome, Florence, Milan, Carnegie Hall, Stanford University and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall. In addition to works of chamber music, Sharafyan has composed choir music, works for symphonic orchestra, as well as the opera King Abgar. His oeuvre contains more than eighty compositions, amongst them, symphonic works, chamber and vocal music, opera and ballet.  Sharafyan’s music is performed in concert halls and at festivals all around the world.

TAHSIN INCIRCI (born in 1938) is a Turkish composer, choir conductor, violinist and teacher at the Leo-Borchard-Musikschule in Berlin. After graduating from the Gazi Institute of Ankara he went to Germany on a scholarship to study at the Musikakademie Detmold and at Berlin's Hochschule der Künste. He majored in violin, composition and choral conducting.

In 1970 he joined as a violinist the State Opera and Ballet the Radio Chamber Orchestra of Istanbul. In 1973 he returned to West Berlin where he founded the Turkish Workers' Choir. At this time his 23 violin duos based on Anatolian folk tunes was published by Robert-Lienau Verlag Berlin and his oratorio The Epic of Sheikh Bedreddin was premiered in Sender Freies Berlin (SFB). The first LP recording of Incirci's compositions was released in 1979. In 1981 he toured throughout Germany with singer Sümeyra and Lutz Görner and founded the Ensemble Kreuzberger Freunde. 

In 1991 he spent half a year in Paris and worked with the theater group Comediens du Peuples. From 1997 to 2002 he directed the Ensemble der türkischen klassischen Musik Berlin. In addition to his compositional activites he plays violin in the duo Divan with the jazz pianist Wolfgang Köhler. Currently Tahsin Incirci divides his time between Berlin and Turkey.