Celebrating Armenian
Music and Culture

The Armenian Music Program at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music provides an in-depth exploration of Armenia’s rich musical heritage, with a focus on its classical traditions. A hallmark of the School’s innovative leadership in music and its commitment to public outreach, through dynamic performances and academic scholarship, the Program has evolved into a vibrant educational platform.

The mission of the Armenian Music Program is to preserve and celebrate Armenian music as an art form. Established in 2013, the Program has presented dozens of outreach performances as well as high-profile public concerts and recordings⁠—including Grammy-nominated Armenian Requiem by Ian Krouse—provided over 30 student scholarships, and built a devoted community of supporters and fans. This Program engages communities of musicians, scholars, and audience members across the UCLA campus, Los Angeles, nationally, and internationally.

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.
Meet Danielle Segen of VEM Ensemble in Westwood
Voice performance alumna, Danielle Segen, M.M. '16, shares her story with VoyageLA, discussing her experiences at the School of Music and with the UCLA Armenian Music Ensemble.
UCLA VEM Ensemble Featured in Newly Released CD of Armenian Music
The UCLA Armenian Music Program celebrates the official release of “Modulation Necklace,” a new CD of Armenian Music, by the Naxos-distributed label, New Focus Recordings.
VEM Ensemble

The VEM Ensemble is the Graduate Ensemble-in-Residence of the Program,  dedicated to bringing forward Armenian classical and contemporary music through heartfelt, high-level performances. Vem means rock in Armenian, symbolizing the strength and lasting power of Armenian history and musical heritage.

Our Achievements
Our Achievements

Following its lauded recent performances in Yerevan, Armenia, the UCLA VEM Ensemble is featured in the newly released CD of Armenian Music, “Modulation Necklace,” by the Naxos-distributed label, New Focus Recordings. Celebrating the aesthetic diversity of the post-Soviet era Armenian music, the CD highlights a selection of works from distinguished contemporary Armenian composers Artur Avanesov, Ashot Zohrabyan, Michel Petrossian, and Artashes and Ashot Kartalyan. Along with the VEM Ensemble, Modulation Necklace also features internationally renowned musicians Scott St. John, Antonio Lysy, Varty Manouelian, Movses Pogossian, Katisse Buckingham, Dustin Donahue, as well as UCLA alumni Charles Tyler and Niall Ferguson.

Dan Lippel, President of New Focus Recordings, praised the album. “Violinist Movses Pogossian has assembled this illuminating collection of contemporary music from Armenia…revealing a vibrant repertoire whose aesthetics are as outward-looking as they are grounded in their reverence of centuries-old culture.” Highlighting the best of contemporary Armenian Composers, “Modulation Necklace” is a true celebration of Armenian music as an art form and a testament to the rich history and heritage which it tributes. The UCLA VEM ensemble’s participation in the album is a significant achievement, which upholds the noble mission of the Armenian Music Program.

Proceeds of this CD will benefit the UCLA Armenian Music Program.
The CD is available for sale on Amazon and Apple Music!  

Recent and Upcoming Events

Historic Recordings from the Ottoman Diaspora: Music & Migration

October 31, 2019 | 1:00 PM
UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive

Dilijan Chamber Music Series: Heart that Sings

November 3, 2019 | 3:00 PM
Zipper Hall

UCLA ASA's Unplugged

December 10, 2020 | 2:00 – 3:30 PM
AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School and Cultural Center

VEM Outreach to AGBU Manoukian School 

December 10, 2020 | 2:00 – 3:30 PM
AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School and Cultural Center

VEM Outreach to AGBU Manoukian School 

March 13, 2020 
AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School and Cultural Center

POSTPONED: Danielle Segen, Thomas Segen, Movses Pogossian & Artur Avanesov tour of Armenia

March 18 – March 23, 2020
Gyumri, Vanadzor, Dilijan, Yeghegnadzor

CANCELLED: VEM performs for Mindful Music Concert Series
Apr 15, 2020 | 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM
Semel Institute Auditorium, 720 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
CANCELLED: VEM Ensemble’s Annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration Concert

April 22, 2020 | 7:00 PM
Hammer Museum

From Our Home to Yours: A Pogossian/Manouelian Family Concert

April 23, 2020 | 7:00 PM
Virtual Concert

POSTPONED: Abril Bookstore Concert

April 25, 2020 | 7:30pm
415 E Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205

POSTPONED: East Coast Concert Tour

April 27, 2020 – May 4, 2020
New York, Washington D.C., Boston

POSTPONED: Armenian Music Day

May 8, 2020 | 2:00 PM
Schoenberg Hall, UCLA

Introduction to Armenian
Music Course

Instructor: Karenn Presti
Course offered Fall 2020 
Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
For inquiries contact Movses Pogossian
at mpogossian@ucla.edu

A vital component of the Armenian Music Program is the provision of the Introduction to Armenian Music course, aimed at both music and non-music majors to serve as a window into one of the most unique music cultures of the world.

The Introduction to Armenian Music course is a lecture class inviting students to explore the history, tradition, and scope of the music of Armenia. Additionally, the class focuses on a variety of genres and approaches, as well as the interactions between music and culture, society, and history. Students meet for three hours a week; classroom demonstrations of Armenian music are provided by the VEM Ensemble and guest musicians. There is also an emphasis on the evolution of Armenian music within the macrostructure of Armenia’s socio-political and cultural development, as well as the rich history of engagement with other societies near and far. The class ensures that students receive a comprehensive introduction to the kaleidoscopic mosaic that is Armenian music and the complex factors that have shaped its multifaceted texture.

Masters and Masterpieces of
Armenian Classical Music

Instructor: Movses Pogossian
Course offered Fall 2020
Fridays, 2:00 – 2:50 PM
For inquiries contact Movses Pogossian
at mpogossian@ucla.edu

Celebrating the richness of Armenian musical heritage, concentration on greatest composers of Classical tradition, such as Komitas, Khachaturian, Mansurian. Focus on outstanding contemporary Armenian composers and most remarkable performers.

Music and Intersectionality
in the Mediterranean

Instructor: Melissa Bilal
Course offered Fall 2020
Thursdays, 3:00 – 5:50 PM
For inquiries contact Melissa Bilal
at melissabilal2@gmail.com

This course explores historical and ethnographic accounts on musical life in and beyond the Mediterranian. Focusing on specific sociopolitical contexts, it studies the role of musical discourse and practices in identity formation in the region and in its multiple diasporas. Throughout the term, we will examine the construction of spaces and subjectivities through music production, consumption, preservation, and exchange. While doing this, we will also develop an intersectional analytical perspective informed by social and critical theory to discuss issues such as politics of aesthetics, knowledge and affect production, community formation, musical ways of witnessing genres of remembrance, musical expressions of dissent. Performance of memory in Armenian music; protest music culture and song bans in Turkey; music and racial justice in Europe; sonic history of colonialism and migration across the Mediterranean; music and social movements in the Middle East and North Africa are topics to be covered in this course.

Armenian Music

Instructor: Armen Adamian
Course offered Winter 2021
For inquiries contact Armen Adamian
at adamianarmen@gmail.com

The Armenian Music Ensemble is devoted to performing the folk music that developed in Armenian oral traditions. In teaching songs, instrumentals, and corresponding dances, this ensemble offers an integrative approach to developing competency in a variety of traditional Armenian forms. Alongside practice, the course addresses some of the important discourses that have shaped the sensibilities of Armenian identity, music, and folklore at large. Students will learn in a participatory environment and are required to practice in groups outside of class. Prior “musical” competency is not required and instruments are welcomed at the discretion of the instructor.

Movses Pogossian
Professor, Director of Armenian Music Program
Armen Adamian
PhD Candidate, Instructor of Armenian Music Ensemble
Karenn Chutjian Presti
Lecturer - Vocal Diction, Vocal Coaching

Community Outreach Partners and Learning Resources

With a mission to engage the community and expand the reach of Armenian music, this program relies on partners at UCLA and beyond. The following partners help this program reach a larger audience and provide philanthropic resources that support this program’s ongoing activities:

Support the program and keep the music playing