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Percussion Textures

     Born in New York City on Christmas day 1933, Armen began the study of drums at the age of 12.  By 17 he was playing professionally and traveling throughout the United States.  At age 20 he did his stint in the Army for 2 years where he played and taught in the band.  After his discharge he joined the Marian McPartland Trio for 6 months.  He decided to stay in New York to crystallize his musical ideas and concepts for making drums and percussion instruments while sustaining himself by working as an apprentice in a photo-engraving shop.

    On the road, Armen gathered knowledge of his instrument, gradually discovering its role in cultures around the world.  Back home his ideas crystallized and he began to acquire some of the unusual percussion instruments he'd heard of.  Starting with gongs, bells and the dumbeg, reflecting his Armenian heritage, he expanded into Middle Eastern, African, Asian and South American instruments.  As Armen grew versatile in their use he became aware of the vast range of possibilities in their combined assemblage and developed an original panorama of instruments.

   Onstage, his array of percussion instruments resembles a magician's workshop where Armen weaves among his tools, responding to the atmosphere of the moment.  Here he creates sheets and clusters of sound, adding new flavor to the rhythms and expanding the dimensions of the composition.  His music has colored many setting, from solo concerts to symphony orchestras, from church services in New York to record sessions with Buddhist monks in Japan.



This site was last updated 01/09/05