Aram Demirjian, Associate Conductor
Aram Demirjian is flourishing as Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. Now in his third season with the orchestra, Demirjian has distinguished himself as a devoted and integral member of Kansas City arts community, building relationships with audiences of all ages and backgrounds, leading an astounding variety of concert offerings and supporting the work of Music Director Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony musicians.
Lauded for his versatility and “skillful, exciting spirit” (KC Metropolis), Demirjian appears on every orchestral series in the Symphony’s 2014-2015 season, highlighted by his debut on the Classical Series (Ovation and Masterworks), January 23-25, featuring pianist Joyce Yang performing Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto. He also will conduct the Family and Pops series, as well as the Kansas City Symphony’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus and Independence Messiah Choir.
One of the hallmarks of Demirjian’s time with the Kansas City Symphony has been the establishment of two dynamic and fun concert series for which he will once again take up the baton. Classics Uncorked, now in its third season, offers a more casual take on the classics, complete with thematic programming, musical demonstrations, a free glass of wine and a chance to mingle with members of the Symphony. And the truly unique Screenland at the Symphony concerts present classic works of cinema with a live soundtrack provided by the orchestra. The series has included “The Wizard of Oz,” excerpts from Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, excerpts from Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, and this year features “Singin’ in the Rain” and Disney’s “Fantasia.”
Demirjian believes passionately that music and the arts are an essential part of the education of all young people, and that music, in particular, supports and nurtures the skills for growth and success in in all disciplines. With the Kansas City Symphony, he scripts and conducts original Education concerts for nearly 30,000 grade school students annually, including an annual Writing Challenge in which students submit letters and essays relating to the topics of the concerts they attend. He is also active in the Kansas City Symphony residency at University Academy and the Support School Music program. He regularly collaborates with the Youth Symphony of Kansas City and conducts annual readings of orchestral works by graduate-level composers studying at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Beyond Kansas City, Demirjian recently conducted the Massachusetts All-State Orchestra in Boston’s historic Symphony Hall and is a former faculty member of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School.
Demirjian enjoys an increasingly busy guest conducting schedule, including recent concerts with the Memphis Symphony, New England Conservatory Symphony and Tanglewood Music Center as well as forthcoming engagements with the Omaha Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic and Knoxville Symphony. He also has collaborated with an eclectic array of the most distinguished musicians and performers in the world, including Yo-Yo Ma, Kurt Masur, John Adams, Stefan Jackiw, Ryu Goto, Bobby Watson, John Lithgow and Ben Folds. He has been engaged as cover conductor by the Boston Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony and Charlotte Symphony, and he was a conducting apprentice of Harry Christophers with the Handel & Haydn Society.
Demirjian has participated in some of the most selective music festivals and competitions in the world. As a three-time Conducting Fellow in the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, he studied intensively with music director Robert Spano and guest instructors Hugh Wolff and Larry Rachleff. In 2011, the Aspen Music Festival recognized Demirjian’s work by awarding him the Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize, a distinction given to only one conductor annually. That same year, he won third prize in the Memphis Symphony International Conducting Competition.
Demirjian holds the distinction of being one of only two conductors accepted to the inaugural class of the Orchestral Conducting program at New England Conservatory, where he studied with Hugh Wolff and earned his Master of Music degree. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in music and government from Harvard University, where his conducting career began with a two-year appointment as music director of the Harvard Bach Society Orchestra.
Photo by David Bickley