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Violinist Diana Adamyan: 'We just need to speak up with music'

Diana Adamyan
Courtesy photo
Armenian violinist Diana Adamyan, who also paints, will perform at the Aspen Music Festival on Sunday.

When it comes to Eastern Europeans putting their cultural connections into their music, Dvořák and Liszt capture the biggest headlines.

But equally remarkable music is found farther east.

Consider Armenia, in the Caucasus near Turkey between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

And consider violinist Diana Adamyan, who is performing Sunday at the Aspen Music Festival.

She feels the music of her nation’s fine composers in her heart.

"I feel a very big connection with Armenia and maybe with every piece, every Armenian piece I'm playing," she said.

The most famous of Armenian composers is 20th-century master Aram Khachaturian, whose vibrant and challenging Violin concerto will be performed by Adamyan.

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Diana Adamyan
This painting is by Diana Adamyan, who also plays the violin. "I love to paint," she said. "And I'm just trying to, you know, paint a painting while I'm playing."

For Adamyan, music is more than just sounds: It is also color — expressed through sound.

"I love to paint," she said. "And I'm just trying to, you know, paint a painting while I'm playing. So it's a lot of colors, a lot of feelings. And so that's what I'm trying to do on the stage. And just to enjoy the music."

Armenia sits next to war-torn Georgia.

However, being in the vicinity isn’t the only reason why Armenians feel Georgia’s pain.

Adamyan reminds us that Armenia, too, was recently torn by violence.

"As an Armenian and as a person whose country was in such a kind of situation two years ago," she said, "it's very hard for me now to see what's happening, and to remember my feelings when my family was in Armenia, and we had this war.

"And I have lots, of course, I have lots of Ukrainian friends and also Russian friends. They're all for peace. We just need to speak up with music, because the music is the only thing that makes people forget about the pain and just to be who they are."

Having lived through tumultuous times of his own, Khachaturian was familiar with those feelings.

Adamyan also believes that music can go even further, reaching out to a greater power.

"I think that music makes some connection with God," she said. "And musicians are people who receive the energy and the light of the gods and they're just sharing it with the audience.

"I think that it's an amazing feeling for the musician to understand that and to feel everything that lives and, you know, the energy while playing. So it's maybe the most amazing thing I've experienced in my physical life."


Classical music reporter Chris Mohr has loved classical music since he was twelve. “And I owe it all to radio,” Chris explains. “I grew up in a farm town east of Cleveland. One day I turned on the local classical radio station. They were playing Vivaldi, and it was like the gates of heaven opened up to me!" Chris is also a composer, and is working on a 53-note-to-the-octave oratorio, "Melodies of the Shoreless Sea." This is his ninth summer working for Aspen Public Radio.