Aram Demirjian, Associate Conductor
Aram Demirjian is rapidly distinguishing himself as one of the most capable and versatile conductors of his generation. He was recently promoted to associate conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, after a very successful debut season as assistant conductor, in which Music Director Michael Stern described his impact as “significant and immediate, both on and off the podium.” Demirjian conducts the Family, Education and Pops Series and is the cover conductor for the Classical Series. He is also the principal conductor of the KCS series, Classics Uncorked, which offers a fresh look at symphonic classics, bringing audiences closer to the orchestra and deeper inside the music in a relaxed, social atmosphere.
Demirjian is a fixture at the most prestigious music festivals and competitions in the world. As a three-time conducting fellow in the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, he worked closely with Music Director Robert Spano, serving as his assistant conductor with the Aspen Opera Theater Center and guest instructors Hugh Wolff and Larry Rachleff. In 2011, the faculty elected to award him the prestigious Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize, an honor given to only one conductor annually. In 2013, he participated in the Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Seminar, where he was one of only four conductors selected. He also participated in the Cabrillo Festival Conductors Workshop as a Bruno Walter Memorial Scholar. In 2011, he earned third prize in the Memphis Symphony’s first International Conducting Competition.
Demirjian is a frequent collaborator with many of the most distinguished musicians in the world. In 2009, Demirjian performed with Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble, conducting the Silk Road commission, “Night Music: Voices in the Leaves,” by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky. As a participant in the 2012 Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar, Demirjian was invited by Maestro Masur to share the podium in an all-Beethoven performance with Manhattan School of Music Symphony. Additional collaborations have included renowned soloists, such as Robert Levin, Stefan Jackiw, Ryu Goto, actor John Lithgow and jazz saxophonist Bobby Watson. During the 2013-2014 season, he will have performances with chamber ensemble PROJECT Trio and singer/songwriter Ben Folds.
Increasingly in demand as a guest conductor, Demirjian’s recent appearances include his subscription debut with the Memphis Symphony plus concerts with the New England Conservatory Symphony and the Boston Pops. He served for two years as music director of the Harvard Bach Society Orchestra, Harvard’s premiere chamber orchestra, and he also has been a conducting apprentice of Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society.
Demirjian is passionately committed to education and conducted the 2014 Massachusetts All-State Orchestra in Boston’s historic Symphony Hall. Though the Kansas City Symphony’s Young People’s Concerts and KinderKonzerts, he has created and presented education concerts to more than 40,000 grade school students, and he is actively involved in the Kansas City Symphony Support School Music program and University Academy residency. Demirjian also has served on the faculty of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where he founded and conducted the String Repertory Orchestra, an ensemble of middle and early high school-aged string players.
Equally at ease in the opera pit as on the podium, Demirjian has served as music director of Lowell House Opera, New England’s oldest opera company, leading the company’s first-ever production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide.” In 2010, he produced and conducted a performance of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” with musicians from the Boston area as part of the Partners in Health charitable venture, Symphonic Relief for Haiti. As an undergraduate at Harvard University, Mr. Demirjian presented a semi-staged production of Aaron Copland’s rarely-performed “The Tender Land.”
Demirjian is of full Armenian descent and is highly engaged in the Armenian arts community, having been a featured artist in the 59th Armenian Night at Pops and in multiple gala events for the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). A native of Boston, Aram is a dedicated fan of the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and Boston Celtics, and he has sung the national anthem at Fenway Park. He is a devotee of the Aaron Sorkin drama, “The West Wing.”
Demirjian was one of only two conductors selected for the inaugural class of the Graduate Orchestral Conducting program at New England Conservatory, where he studied with Hugh Wolff and earned his Master of Music in 2011. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in music and government from Harvard University.
Photo by David Bickley