VEM Ensemble

The VEM Ensemble is the cornerstone of the newly created Armenian Music Program at UCLA, which⁠—thanks to generous donor support, as well as artistic guidance of the Lark Musical Society⁠—endeavors to raise awareness and celebrate the richness and diversity of Armenian musical tradition.

In residence at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and under the artistic leadership of Founder/Director Movses Pogossian, the Ensemble consists of the VEM String Quartet and mezzo-soprano Danielle Segen. The VEM Ensemble has worked with such musicians as David Starobin, Nickolas Kitchen, Kim Kashkashian, Seth Knopp, and Tigran Mansurian. The Ensemble has performed at various venues in Los Angeles including Zipper Hall, Bing Theater, Schoenberg Hall, the Hammer Museum, as well as in New Mexico, Colorado, and the Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival in Italy. In his review of their performance in Italy, critic Laurence Vittes writes, “The evening’s most memorable music was made by the VEM Quartet…who laid out Eduard Mirzoyan’s String Quartet with a feline, subtle grace that touched hearts with its gentle melodic content and long-lined eloquence.”

The VEM Ensemble has recently performed with great acclaim in Yerevan, Armenia, and is featured in the newly released CD of Armenian Music by the Naxos-distributed label, New Focus Recordings.

Meet the Ensemble
Meet the Ensemble
Meet the Ensemble
Student Testimonials
Morgan O'Shaughnessey
"What an honor and privilege it has been to recreate such beautiful and inspired music from such a rich culture and community. I am so thankful to be part of VEM String Quartet and bring Armenian music to the masses. I am especially grateful that we have support for our artistic efforts and am thankful for the generosity."
Morgan O'Shaughnessey Morgan O'Shaughnessey MORGAN O'SHAUGHNESSEY, VEM ALUMNUS
Meet the Director

Movses Pogossian is a celebrated prize-winning violinist who made his American debut performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall in 1990. He has since performed extensively in North America and Europe as a soloist, sought-after chamber musician, and enthusiastic advocate of new music. Movses Pogossian is the Founding Director of UCLA’s Armenian Music Program, as well as the Artistic Director of the critically acclaimed Dilijan Chamber Music Series in Los Angeles. His prolific discography includes Complete Sonatas and Partitas by J. S. Bach and solo violin CDs “Inspired by Bach”, “Blooming Sounds”, and “In Nomine”.  Upcoming releases include a double album of Chamber Music of Tigran Mansurian, with Kim Kashkashian, as well as “Modulation Necklace” CD of New Armenian Music.

Pogossian has earned his advanced degrees from the Komitas Conservatory in Armenia and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music in Moscow and is currently a Professor of Violin at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. A committed educator and community organizer, he participates in the Music for Food project, which gives the opportunity to experience the powerful role music can play as a catalyst for change.

Learn More
Learn More
Learn More

VEM Ensemble in Yerevan, Armenia (June 2019)

VEM Ensemble Outreach to AGBU Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School (Dec. 10, 2019)

VEM Ensemble Virtual Outreach to C. & E. Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School, E. J. Toll Middle School, and Hoover High School (2020)

Mirror Spectator - A Day of Armenian Music at UCLA
The UCLA Armenian Music Program showcases treasures of Armenian classical, contemporary, and folk music with a concert featuring World Premieres by Kinan Azmeh and Bryn Kirsch, UCLA VEM Ensemble, Apple Hill String Quartet, and UCLA Armenian Music Ensemble.
Armenian Chamber Music album was co-conceived by School of Music Professor Movses Pogossian
A new album of contemporary chamber music might never have come into existence without SOM professor Movses Pogossian. Recorded on the UCLA campus, the album, Con Anima, is also among a select number of projects that the record label, Edition of Contemporary Music, has produced outside of Europe.
UCLA Armenian Music Program - A Year in Review
The UCLA Armenian Music Program showcases the program's achievements and milestones during the 2019-2020 academic year, including the program's expansion with two new courses and the release of an critically praised album featuring the UCLA VEM Ensemble along with internationally renowned musicians, which was recorded at the School of Music's recording studio.
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