FolkWorld #77 03/2022
© Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rest in Peace


R.I.P. Djivan Gasparyan

Djivan Gasparyan (var. Jivan Gasparyan; Armenian: Ջիվան Գասպարյան, Armenian pronunciation: [dʒiˈvɑn ɡɑspɑɾˈjɑn]; October 12, 1928 – July 6, 2021) was an Armenian musician and composer. He played the duduk, a double reed woodwind instrument related to the orchestral oboe. Gasparyan is known as the "Master of the duduk". In 2006 he was nominated for Grammy awards for the Best Traditional World Music Album.


Djivan Gasparyan

Born in Solak, Armenia, to parents from Mush, Gasparyan started to play duduk when he was six. In 1948, he became a soloist of the Armenian Song and Dance Popular Ensemble and the Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra.

He won four medals at UNESCO worldwide competitions (1959, 1962, 1973, and 1980). In 1973 Gasparyan was awarded the honorary title People's Artist of Armenia. In 2002, he received the WOMEX (World Music Expo) Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Honorary citizen of Yerevan.

A professor at the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory, he instructed and nurtured many performers to professional levels of performance in duduk.

In 1998 he released an album with a unique duduk quartet he formed. Creating arrangements for four musicians with "new duduk tones, alto and bass, was an extremely difficult task" and challenge, but the quartet did become a reality performing and "there is no other like it in the world", he witnessed in the liner notes of Nazeli.

He toured the world several times with a small ensemble playing Armenian folk music. His music has been chosen on the soundtrack of several international films.

He collaborated with many artists, such as Sting, Peter Gabriel, Hossein Alizadeh, Erkan Oğur, Michael Brook, Brian May, Lionel Richie, Derek Sherinian, Ludovico Einaudi, Luigi Cinque, Boris Grebenshchikov, Brian Eno, David Sylvian, Hans Zimmer and Andreas Vollenweider.

He also recorded with the Kronos Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Arsen Petrosyan

»Music Performed on Armenian Duduk« (FW#75)

Gasparyan played as part of the Armenian entry "Apricot Stone" by Eva Rivas at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo and became the oldest ever person to feature in a Eurovision Song Contest performance, but was not officially listed as a guest artist.

Gasparyan died on July 6, 2021. It was announced by his grandson, Djivan Gasparyan Jr. He said "The world has suffered an unimaginable loss tonight. He was not only a legend, but also a person with a beautiful soul. I write with great sorrow about my huge loss. May God keep your soul in the bright sky."

Legacy and recognition

Peter Gabriel called Gasparyan "the great master of the instrument." He added, "When he lifted his duduk to his lips he cast a spell over all who listened."

Gasparyan was highly recognized by the Armenian government. On his 90th birthday, Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan congratulated Gasparyan, stating: "Our people and music lovers around the world have already ranked you among the world’s great musicians. As a living legend, you are a credit to all Armenians." Upon his death, President Armen Sarkissian described him as a "legendary duduk player" who was "one of the pillars of our modern culture, whose name is associated with the creative and working activities of musicians, especially a whole generation of duduk players." Pashinyan called him "an exceptional Armenian intellectual and ranked him among the Greats of the world art; we were proud and inspired by him."

Catholicos Karekin II, leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, sent a letter of condolences to his family. "For decades, he performed the gems of the Armenian music on many stages in Armenia and abroad, serving the grateful mission of recognizing and spreading our culture," read the statement.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [Djivan_Gasparyan]. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Date: February 2022.

Photo Credits: (1) Armenian Duduk, (2) Djivan Gasparyan (by Wikimedia Commons); (3)-(4) Arsen Petrosyan, (unknown/website).

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