Salt Lake Symphony Guest Artist
Distinguished for the musical color, brilliance and excitement of his performances, the talented young Armenian pianist and composer Karen Hakobyan (b. 1985) has been acclaimed for his individual style. He graduated from the Tchaikowsky Special Music School in Yerevan, Armenia in 2000 and briefly attended the Komitas State Conservatory before moving to the United States. He attends the University of Utah School of Music as a "Dorothy Rich" Presidential Scholarship recipient, studying piano performance with Dr. Susan Duehlmeier and composition with Dr. Morris Rosenzweig.
Hakobyan has received numerous awards, both for performance and composition. In 2004 Mr. Hakobyan won first prize in the Four Corners Piano Competition, (Durango, Colorado) and The Fite Piano Competition, (Springfield, Missouri). In 2003 he won first prize in the Pinault International Audiotape/Videotape Piano Competition, (New York), first prize in the Tourgee DeBose National Piano Competition, (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), and first prize in the SummerArts Piano Competition, (Utah). He has also been a prize winner in the Armenian Legacy Pianists International Piano Competition (Armenia), the International Festival of Creative Pianists (Idaho) and the Utah State Fair Piano Competition (Utah).
He has been a soloist with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Armenia's "Serenade" Chamber Orchestra, the University of Utah Philharmonia, and New American Symphony . He has presented solo recitals in Armenia, the United States and Germany. Most recently, his debut recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City on October 4, 2003 was very well received. Phillip Dieckow, concert pianist, New York reviewer, founder and director of the Dieckow School of Music in Hoboken, wrote in his review of Mr. Hakobyan's performance: "It is very difficult for me to be objective with this pianist. I am seldom moved to tears by performances any longer and even more seldom so delighted with breath-taking playing that I feel like dancing. Both were evoked during this young man's performance."
Hakobyan is a winner of the 2004 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Competition. His "Two Pieces for String Quartet" was awarded the Amadeus Diploma for Composition in 1998 during a competition held jointly by the Belgian Amadeus Association and the Armenian Musical Assembly. In the same year his work was included in the 12 best compositions at the Group Quest (USA) International Competition. In 2002 he was awarded the prestigious Robertson Scholarship in Composition at the University of Utah, primarily based on his Second Symphony, which was performed in Berlin in 2001 at the Young Euro-classic International Festival by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. Hakobyan has composed numerous works for symphony orchestra, chamber groups and soloists that have been performed in Europe and the United States, including Toccata for Solo Flute, Prelude and Fugue for Piano, Piano Variations, Piano Sonata, Elegy for Violin and Piano, and Symphony No. 2.