Newsletter: Modulation Necklace Vol. 1

Newsletter Vol. 1
October 2021

⬆️ Click above to Read the UCLA Armenian Music Program Newsletter ⬆️

Celebrating Armenian <br />
Music and Culture
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.

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.

Recent and Upcoming Events

VEM Outreach to C. & E. Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School

Oct 22, Nov 5, Nov. 19, Dec. 3, Dec. 10 | 7:55 – 8:15 AM
Virtual Outreach Series (Tune in, HERE)


UPCOMING: Armenian Genocide Commemoration

April 20 | 7:30 PM
Hammer Museum (In Person & Livestream)

A Day of Armenian Music

May 21, 2021 | 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Virtual Concert (View HERE)

In Remembrance: Treasures of Armenian Classical, Contemporary & Folk Music

April 21, 2021 | 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Hammer Museum Virtual Concert (VIEW HERE)

VEM Outreach Series to Local Schools

Ari Guiragos Minassian Elementary School  | February 19, 2021
Armenian Sisters Academy | February 10, 2021 
Hoover High School | December 10, 2020
E. J. Toll Middle School | December 9, 2020
C. & E. Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School | October 29, 2020
AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School and Cultural Center | March 13, 2020
Virtual Presentations (Zoom)

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

April 23, 2020 | 7:00 PM
Virtual Concert (VIEW HERE)

Armenian Music

Instructor: Armen Adamian
Course offered Winter 2022
Wednesdays, 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
For inquiries contact Armen Adamian

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.

Introduction to Armenian
Music Course

Instructor: Karenn Presti
Course offered Fall 2021
Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
For inquiries contact Movses Pogossian

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.

Music and Intersectionality
in the Mediterranean

Instructor: Melissa Bilal
Course offered Spring 2022
Thursdays, 3:00 – 5:50 PM
For inquiries contact Melissa Bilal

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.

Gendering Armenian

Instructor: Melissa Bilal
Course offered Winter 2022
Thursdays, 3:00 – 5:50 PM
For inquiries contact Melissa Bilal

This course is a graduate seminar that aims to connect Armenian music research with women’s, gender and sexuality studies. Throughout the term, we will familiarize ourselves with the existing literature on the musical lives of Armenians in different parts of the world. By the help of relevant scholarship on past and present Armenian communities, we will situate sonic experiences in their larger historic and ethnographic contexts. We will develop a critical framework informed by theories of gender, race, class, and geography to discuss the production and consumption of Armenian music, musical discourses and practices of Armenians, and the politics of representation and memory in/of Armenian music.

596 - Directed
Individual Studies

Instructor: Melissa Bilal
Course offered Fall 2021
Meeting times, TBA
For inquiries contact Melissa Bilal

Tutorial, to be arranged. Only 4 units may be applied toward MA minimum course requirements. S/U or letter grading.

About Us

Movses Pogossian
Professor, Director of Armenian Music Program
Melissa Bilal
Associate Director of Armenian Music Program and Lecturer
Armen Adamian
Instructor of Armenian Music Ensemble

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