Levon Malkhasyan

One of Armenia’s best bands of the period of jazz fever in the beginning of the 60’s was the quartet formed at the Institute of Languages after Brusov and led by Levon Malkhasyan. The band performed during youth parties in Yerevan, toured around the Soviet Union and participated in All-Union jazz festivals. In Voronezh the band won the Grand Prix, while Levon Malkhasyan was named the best pianist of the festival.

His performance style has always been expressive and emotional, like the creative work of his first and only teacher and idol, Canadian virtuoso Oscar Peterson. From his performance the listener easily feels his nature – broad, open, vivid and a bit reckless. For all his life he has played as a soloist with various bands: the State Jazz Orchestra and many bands founded by himself. He often performed in Russia, the USA, Germany, France, the countries of Eastern Europe and even South-Eastern Asia. As of today, he performs both with young musicians and as a member of the veterans’ band “The 70’s Orchestra”. He is a frequent guest of TV and radio programs, and even appears in video clips.

His main accomplishment has always been organizational and promotional activities. As a youth, he organized evenings of jazz, jazz clubs and jazz festivals, all of which was very hard in the conditions of Soviet censorship.

After the collapse of the USSR, he was invited to become the art director of the “Poplavok” café, where he succeeded in creating the atmosphere of a real jazz club. It became a club where it was every Armenian musician’s honor to play and where all jam-sessions with foreign guest artists took place from Chick Corea to Igor Butman. His jazz evenings gained great popularity in Yerevan.

Levon Malkhasyan founded Jazz-Art, which held the First International Jazz Festival, Yerevan 1998. The Second Festival in 2000 hosted Chick Corea with his band, Origin. The Third Festival took place in Yerevan in 2005.

Malkhasyan pays great attention to the training of a young generation of jazzmen. Due to him many youth bands got their start in life. In 2006, his dream came true: the Malkhas Jazz Club opened and immediately became a cult site in the musical Yerevan. All the guests of Armenia consider it their duty to visit the club.

Despite his more than active creative work, Levon Malkhasyan released his first audio album not so long ago, and recorded the first video of his concert last year.

Several years ago Levon Malkhasyan became an Honorable Citizen of Yerevan. The Government of the Republic of Armenia awarded him with the prestigious Movses Khorenatsi Order for his contribution to the Armenian culture.

Levon Malkhasyan was unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Organizational Committee of the current Year of Jazz.

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