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Pianist Karine Poghosyan to Perform Beethoven Birthday Celebration to Benefit Armenia Music School, 12/16

The Armenian-American pianist Kariné Poghosyan will be paying tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven (b. Dec. 16, 1770 - d. March 26, 1827) with a birthday celebration that will also benefit the Armenia Fund USA's Tchaikovsky School Renovation in Yerevan, Armenia. This celebration will take place on Wednesday, December 16 at 7pm at the Armenian Evangelical Church located at 152 East 34th Street.

Ms. Poghosyan will be performing Beethoven's 32 Variations in C minor, Woo 80, and his Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 ("Emperor") with the Anahit Chamber Players, an ensemble comprised of current and former Manhattan School of Music students, conducted by Kyle Ritenauer. Opening remarks will be given by H.E. Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.

Ms. Poghosyan states, "As an Armenian-American artist, I find that it is my duty to lend support to this vital cause to rebuild the Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School in Yerevan. This school, where so many young Armenian musicians begin to learn their art, is responsible for classical music to not only survive in Armenia, but for it to thrive as well."

This concert is being made possible by the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations; the Armenia Fund USA, Eastern Region Affiliate; the Armenian Evangelical Church of New York; as well as generous support from an Anonymous Donor.

Tickets are $35 if purchased by December 14th, and $45 if bought after that date. To purchase tickets visit or

Musical talent abounds in Armenia where the Arts are revered and important to daily life, especially classical music. The country is home to just one government-funded classical music school, the Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School. This institution, which is Armenia's mecca for young musicians and their musical education, is in desperate need of funding. Renovation is vital to meet the state-of-the-art demands required to train a new generation of musically gifted Armenian youth. For classical music to survive in Armenia, it is essential for this institution to be on par with other world-class music schools in Europe and the United States.

The Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School's walls, floors, ceilings, classrooms and public facilities are in massive need of repair. Reconstruction has begun including earthquake proofing of the building, along with a new glass elevator in the main building, which is accessible for the elderly and people with disabilities. Also needed are new water and ventilation systems, electrical wiring, new granite floors, as well as the installation of an internal video surveillance and fire alarm systems. The school is located in the cultural heart of Yerevan, only blocks away from the Yerevan Opera Theater. The overall budget includes the costs for outside area improvements such as replacing curbs, tiling, asphalting and the concrete layering of the school's entrance area, as well as the installation of benches. The Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School project speaks to the three main pillars of the Armenia Fund national-building model: education, infrastructure and community.

The Tchaikovsky School is a public school that is under the aegis of the country's Ministry of Culture, not the Ministry of Education, giving it a special status that speaks to the country's passion for all things musical. More than 70% of the students who attend the Yerevan State Conservatory of Music are graduates of the Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School. Its graduates have been awarded with diplomas, awards, and medals for their outstanding participation in national, regional and international competitions, as well as earning impressive academic credentials.

Khoren Bandazian, the Armenia Fund USA's Chairman of the Board, points out that, "Even during the Soviet years, the abundance of classically trained Armenian pianists, violinists and other musicians was well known in international circles. Yet these talents also served as ad hoc ambassadors from their republic, representing their people at the most prestigious international music competitions, conservatories and music schools in Europe and the United States. After independence, these national treasures have enjoyed even greater opportunity to expose the world to Armenia's mastery of the classical genre. This gives Armenia special prominence on the world cultural map."

The estimated date of completion for the reconstruction of the Tchaikovsky Secondary Music School is for September 2016. Following, the Armenia Fund USA plans to invest in new musical instruments, master classes and international student exchange programs.

The Armenian-American pianist Kariné Poghosyan has been praised for her ability to get to the heart of the works she performs. She made her orchestral debut at fourteen playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, and her solo Carnegie Hall debut at 23, and has since gone on to win numerous awards as well as performing in some of the world's most prestigious concert halls. Recently, she helped organize the "Requiem and Resurrection" concert in commemoration of the 95th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide at the Saint Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York. During the 2014-15 season, Ms. Poghosyan made her Washington D.C. debut, in addition to her Toronto, Canada debut where she gave the Canadian premiere of Alan Hovhannes's Piano Concerto "Lousadzak." Other performance highlights included solo recitals in Montgomery, New York, and Richmond, Virginia, as well as performing Khachaturian's Piano Concerto with the Greater Newburgh (NY) Symphony under the baton of Woomyung Choe. Ms. Poghosyan's musical studies began in her native Yerevan in Armenia at the School of the Arts No. 1, continuing at Romanos Melikian College and the Komitas State Conservatory. Her teachers in Armenia included Irina Gazarian, Vatche Umr-Shat, and Svetlana Dadyan. After moving to the United States in 1998, she received her BM, summa cum laude, from California State University in Northridge under Françoise Regnat, and her MM and D.M.A. degrees at Manhattan School of Music under Arkady Aronov, completing her D.M.A. in a record-breaking two years with a thesis on Aram Khachaturian's works for piano. She is currently based in New York, where she teaches at Manhattan School of Music.

Ms. Poghosyan recently returned from a tour to Vienna, Austria and Yerevan, Armenia, where she performed to rave reviews the music of Aram Khachaturian featured on her CD, "Khachaturian Original Piano Works and Ballet Transcriptions," at the Armenian Embassy (Vienna) and at the Khachaturian House Museum (Armenia). This CD, "Khachaturian Original Piano Works and Ballet Transcriptions," was released on the NAXOS label this past April and has been accepted in the first round submission for a Grammy nomination.

Kyle Ritenauer, born and raised in Macedonia, Ohio, received both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Manhattan School of Music where he studied orchestral percussion and was a conducting student in the School's Contemporary Performance Program studying with Jeffrey Milarsky. In addition, he has studied conducting at the Pierre Monteux School in Hancock, Maine, where in 2013 he led a 100th anniversary reading of Le Sacre du Printemps. Kyle Ritenauer has worked with some of New York City's most up and coming music ensembles, including The Nouveau Classical Project, where he led a performance of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. In December 2013 he made his Opera debut, leading the filming of a new opera by Syrian composer Zaid Jabri called Cities of Salt. Kyle Ritenauer is also an active freelance percussionist in New York City and serves as Principal Percussionist of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. This year, he performed the world premiere of William C. White's Percussion Concerto with the Youth Orchestra of Prince William and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

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