By Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
GYUMRI, AUGUST 26, 2021— Sunday, August 22. Gyumri, in the Black Fortress. About 300 guests gathered for a very special event. Ars Musica, a renowned men’s chorus from Germany, was on a concert tour in Armenia, having already performed in Tatev, Yerevan and at the Geghard monastery. After Gyumri, they would continue with performances in Gavar, the Sevanavank monastery, Litschk and Echmiadzin.
Coming at the middle of their tour, Gyumri actually represented a high point. The city has been officially designated as a sister city to Halle, in Saxon Anhalt, the first Armenian city to establish such a partnership with a German counterpart. And, to celebrate the historic event, the Gyumri conservatory received a Venera Grand Concert Harp. This was a gift from the chorus, together with the Mirak-Weissbach Foundation and the Halle Rotary Club. The conservatory in Gyumri, a branch of the Yerevan State Conservatory after Komitas, had been eager to offer instruction in the classical harp, and needed an appropriate instrument. Ars Musica raised funds through benefit concerts in Germany and the other partners contributed donations.
The German male chorus presented a magnificent program with works by Germans, including Mendelssohn and Schubert, as well as Armenian composers, all in the original language. Attending the Gyumri concert were representatives of the municipality and conservatory. German Ambassador to Armenia Dr. Michael Banzhaf and Cultural Attaché Jakob Ziegler were among the honored guests. Alexan Ter-Minasyan, Honorary German Consul, appeared on stage at the end of the concert together with Thorsten Weiss, Chairman of Ars Musica, to officially present the harp. Conservatory director Hasmik Harutyunyan delivered a certificate of authenticity to choir conductor Maik Gruchenberg and a medal, created from a bullet by Gyumri artist Artak Tadevosyan.
The gathering had an opportunity to hear from the new arrival — the magnificent instrument — as it made its Armenian debut at the conclusion of the festivities.
To view clips of the concert, go to: