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 Lena Marandi. 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

VEM Ensemble's International Tour in ARMENIA with guests: Artur Avanesov & Danielle Segen (March '23)

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)

Third Annual Day of Armenian Music to Feature Noted Armenian Composer, Artur Avanesov
In 2013, the Armenian Music Program was launched at UCLA with a single ensemble-in-residence, the string quartet VEM. The ensemble performed on campus and conducted a few outreach programs in what were admittedly modest beginnings. A lot has changed in ten years.  When the program hosts its third-annual Day of Armenian Music on May 26
VEM Ensemble Sets out on 2023 Eastern U.S. Tour
The VEM Ensemble of the Armenian Music Program at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is coming to Detroit, Boston and Montreal as part of a tour sponsored by the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada, with full concerts on, respectively, May 9, 11 and 13, held with local co-sponsoring
VEM Ensemble's International Tour
The VEM Ensemble has just completed its week-long tour of Armenia. Next up is “Resonances: The Music of Armenia” at the Hammer Museum on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. The VEM Ensemble of the UCLA Armenian Music Program has just returned from its March 2023 tour of Armenia. The tour included ten workshops and outreach
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