Gary Terzian was an Armenian composer and musical genius in the pop music field as an arranger, lyricist, singer and instrumentist, mostly known in the Scandinavian pop music scene. His profound knowledge of each instrument of the orchestra allowed him to realize very realistic electronic orchestral sequences including completely fluid and creative non-looped drum sequences.
Gary Terzian wrote more than a thousand songs and musical pieces excluding the arrangements that he made for singers and instrumentists based on existing compositions. He also had involvements in the Armenian liturgical music, mainly orchestrating the Yegmalian mass for the Antelias Armenian orthodox prelacy and making modern arrangements for Armenian sharagans. He collaborated with the Armenian Hamazkayine cultural association in the domains of theater and dance music composition. One of his projects, "Fairuz romantic tunes" CD (ISBN 6222004453888), which includes instrumental versions of Fairuz's popular songs arranged and played on classical guitar by him, turned out to become a regional reference in the genre of Lebanese instrumental music. In the recent history, his 2010 Christmas CD single "Christmas in Montreal" was chosen as one of the best Canadian Christmas CDs of the year by Radio Canada International which broadcasted it internationally on the web and worldwide through the international shortwave transmitting facilities.
He was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1948. He studied playing guitar at a very young age. His low bass voice imitating the voice of Barry White, led him in the future to have the nickname of "Gary White".
In 1968, at age 20, he won the first prize in the annual national TV singing contest " Pêle Mêle which was organized by TV host Pierre Gedeon and broadcasted weekly on channel 9 of the Lebanese TV network. Soon after he is called upon to join the band as a singer at Casbah, a renowned night club in Beirut. There, for the first time he is required to bring in the orchestra score for each new song that he wanted to introduce in the band's repertoire. There were no orchestra scores for pop songs in Lebanon in those times. By personal effort and help from his musician friend Vahe Vartabedian, he begins arranging popular songs for the band.
In 1969, having obtained a contract from Portuguese band leader, Eduardo de Souza, he joins him as a bass player to perform at the Amman Intercontinental Hotel in Jordan with Vahe Vartabedian on electric guitar, Isaac Redwanly on drums and Eduardo de Souza on keyboard with singer " Thelma ".
He studied general composition, jazz composition and harmony with the Berklee college of music. In 1972 he joins " I Notturni " a famous Lebanese band, to perform as a guitarist and singer at the Casino du Liban, which was at that time the most prestigious venue in Lebanon. The Casino du Liban used to invite European big bands to perform in their venues. At age 25, Gary Terzian used to do enlarged arrangements for them in order to add new songs to their repertoire.
In 1975, he assembles his first musical band with Armenian musicians under the name of "Bee Hive" composed of Vahe Vartabedian on bass and voice, Vrej Toutikian on electric guitar, Raffi Khardalian on drums and voice and himself on keyboard and voice. The same year, he obtains contracts to tour middle eastern countries, mainly in Dubai. In the summer of the same year, Isaac Redwanly who was performing in the UAE at that time, informs Gary Terzian that " Frequency " , a well established band in Denmark, needed a guitar player. The contract is signed and so he goes to Denmark in January 1976 to play with them in Silkeborg. The members of the band were: Isaac Redwanly on drums, Nizam Tamim on sax, Gary Terzian on guitars and voice, George Balabanian on bass and Armen Chamkertenian on keyboards. A month later the band travels to Norway to play in Voss and tour the country until April 1977. He leaves Frequency to join a Danish band called " Smile" where he meets Paolo Vinaccia who was playing the drums.
After three months, Gary Terzian decided to resurrect the "Beehive" name and decides to quit "Smile" in October 1977. Paolo Vinaccia follows him and with George Balabanian and Armen Chemkertenian "Beehive" is reborn. The new band, which existed till December 1979, had a lot of success and was considered to be one of the best bands of Norway.
The strict musical discipline and precision that he demanded from the band members with whom he worked, were the main factors for the success and high musical proficiency of each band he joined. The Beehive members had all successful careers after the split in different countries. Paolo Vinaccia has become and is considered to be one of the best jazz percussionists in the world. Armen Chemkertenian, renamed Armand Olsen, is a well known singer, keyboard player and composer in Norway.
In January 1980 he returns to Beirut and decides to pursue a solo career while collaborating with local bands, artists and recording studios.
In 2000 he immigrates to Montreal, Canada. While working on several musical projects locally and internationally, he dies on the 13th of June 2010. Following his death, on the 16th of December 2010, radio station "Radio Ville-Marie" from Montreal, airs a 30 minute broadcast hosted by François Beauregard, dedicated to the art of Gary Terzian.