Arno Babajanian (Armenian: Առնո Բաբաջանյան; Russian: Арно Бабаджанян) (January 22, 1921 - November 11, 1983) was an Armenian composer and pianist during the Soviet era.
Babajanian was born in Yerevan, Armenia. His father Harutyun Babajanian was from Igdir. By age 5, his extraordinary musical talent was clearly apparent, and the composer Aram Khachaturian suggested that the boy be given proper music training. Two years later, in 1928 at the age of 7, Babajanian entered the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory. In 1938, he continued his studies in Moscow with Vissarion Shebalin. He later returned to Yerevan, where from 1950-1956 he taught at the conservatory. It was during this period (1952) that he wrote the Piano Trio in f# sharp minor. It received immediate acclaim and was regarded as a masterpiece from the time of its premiere. Subsequently, he undertook concert tours throughout the Soviet Union and Europe. In 1971, he was named a People's Artist of the Soviet Union. As a composer, Babajanian was active in most genres and even wrote many popular songs in collaboration with the leading poets such as Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Robert Rozhdestvensky among others. Much of Babajanian's music is rooted in Armenian folk music and folklore. But generally, the way in which he uses Armenian folk music is in the virtuosic style of Rachmaninov and Khachaturian. His later works were influenced by Prokofiev and Bartók. Praised by Dmitri Shostakovich as a "brilliant piano teacher," Babajanian was also a noted pianist and often performed his own works in concerts.
"Noktyurn" ("Ноктюрн") by Muslim Magomayev,
"Verni mne muziku" (""Верни мне музыку") by Muslim Magomayev,
"Koroleva krasoty" ("Королева красоты") by Muslim Magomayev,
"Svadba" ("Свадьба") by Muslim Magomayev,
"Luchshyj gorod Zemli" ("Лучший город Земли") by Muslim Magomayev,
"Blagodaryu tebya" ("Благодарю тебя") by Muslim Magomayev,
"Chertovo koleso" ("Чертово колесо") by Muslim Magomayev,
"Serdce Na Snegu" ("Сердце на снегу") by Muslim Magomayev,
"Golubaya Tayga" ("Голубая тайга") by Muslim Magomayev,
He received the Stalin Prize of 1950 for his Heroic Ballade for piano with orchestra and the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.
People's Artist of the Armenian SSR (1956) and Soviet Union (1971). He was a laureate of two Stalin State Prizes of the USSR (1951, 1953) and two Armenian SSR State Prizes (1967, 1983).
A minor planet, 9017 Babadzhanyan, was named after him.
Babajanian on an Armenian stamp
Arno Babajanian Concerts Hall, Abovyan Street, Yerevan
Babajanian's statue in Yerevan
Selected songs composed by Babajanian:
"Luchshiy Gorod Zemli" ("Лучший город Земли", "The Best City on Earth", about Moscow), originally performed by Jean Tatlian and made a classic by Muslim Magomaev
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license