Stepan Shakarian is a composer and pianist, who is highly esteemed by either classic or jazz music devotees. They often call him a man of two hearts, with one belonging to classic music, another one belonging to jazz.
Entering the Yerevan Conservatory he accepted the invitation of Aram Khachaturyan and moved to Gnessin State Musical College. Being the only student from Armenia studying under the leadership of the Maestro, Stepan Shakarian showed himself a gifted and a promising composer and performer.
Graduating from the Leningrad Conservatory, Shakarian, comes back to Armenia as a fully formed composer and performer and actively begins composing, gaining a high estimation by pro musicians and classic music devotees. He composed a number of symphonic and chamber instrumental piece as well as music for classical ballet. His symphonies and concerts were and still remain an unchangeable part in the repertoire of performers from around the world. Classic music makes just one part of his creative life, yet jazz makes another.
Rich, expressive, harmonic and rhythmic language of his music is strongly influenced by jazz. Shakarian can be truly ranked as one of Armenian jazz founders. In the mid 60ies when setting up his first jazz band “Youth” attached to the Palace of Culture, he parted with jazz never again. On his credit side there are over 100 jazz compositions, actively played by a number of Armenian jazz bands and time and again broadcasted on air. His compositions are played by Jazz Orchestra of the Public Radio and Television of Armenia, State Jazz orchestra of Armenia and many others. Yet his stunning “From Bingol to Kansas City” composition proved to be an Armenian jazz standard.
For many years Stepan Shakarian teaches music, while upbringing new generation of Armenian music culture bearers. He is a professor in Komitas Yerevan State conservatory. He teaches instrumentation – the way of comprehending music, the musical meaning and expression. He is equally respected both by students and colleagues.
Within the scope of the Year of Jazz Stepan Shakarian was awarded a Golden Medal of RA Ministry of Culture for his great achievements. At the end of 2009, “SHARM Holding” released “Moon over the mountain” CD album with his best instrumental and vocal compositions as a part of “Armenian Jazz 70” collection.