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.

View Our Performances & Mini Documentaries, Here
View Our Performances & Mini Documentaries, Here
View Our Performances & Mini Documentaries, Here

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.

Recent and Upcoming Events

VEM Ensemble Tours USA + ARMENIA

Armenia | March 22-29, 2023
East Coast | May 9-13, 2023


Resonances: Music of Armenia
Day of Armenian Music at UCLA

Schoenberg Hall and Courtyard | May 2023

Revisit the 2021 “Day of Armenian Music” Concert

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

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2023 Winner of Annual Tigran Mansurian Composition Competition

2023 Winner of Annual Tigran Mansurian Composition Competition
Jahan Raymond, 21, picked up piano at the age of 7 and was composing original music by age 8. He took to music quickly from there, and at 11, was commissioned to compose and perform original piano works at charity galas in Hong Kong for Make A Wish and Women Helping Women. Around the same time, he performed with Grammy-winning jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan and with Persian pop star Andy Madidian at L.A.’s Greek Theater.
Jahan went on to study composition and piano with a large variety of private instructors over the course of the next decade – among them, David Bowie’s former keyboardist Mike Garson, John Perry, Edward Francis, Roza Yoder and UCLA Professors Ian Krouse, Kay Rhie, David Lefkowitz and David Kaplan.
He was a three-time piano concerto soloist with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, who also performed his original orchestral piece, Fete Macabre. Additional compositional achievements include being named finalist in the National Young Composers Challenge twice, and spending a year as a fellow of the LA Phil’s Composer’s Fellowship Program. He was then accepted into the UCLA composition program at the age of 16.
More recently, Jahan branched out into songwriting and music production, and has collaborated with a variety of independent artists and hip-hop producers. He loves all types of music, and will gladly jam or performing in any situation imaginable. His piece “Montage” for string trio, was selected as the winning submission for the Annual Tigran Mansurian Composition Competition. The UCLA VEM Ensemble will record this work at the Ostin Recording Studio during the 2023 school year.
Our Achievements
Our Achievements

Explore all recordings here

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 on Amazon and Apple Music.

Newsletter: Modulation Necklace

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

About Us

Movses Pogossian
Distinguished Professor of Violin; Founder and Advisor, Armenian Music Program - Music Performance
Melissa Bilal
Director of Armenian Music Program and Lecturer
Armen Adamian
Instructor of Armenian Music Ensemble
Irene Baghdasaryan
Music Outreach & Media Coordinator
Natalie Kamajian
Instructor of Beginning Armenian Dance; Ph.D. Student in Culture and Performance

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