Aram Il'yich Khachaturian (6 June 1903, Tbilisi, Georgia – 1 May 1978, Moscow) was a Soviet Armenian composer and conductor. He is considered one of the leading Soviet composers.
Born and raised in Tbilisi, the multicultural capital of Georgia, Khachaturian moved to Moscow in 1921 following the Sovietization of the Caucasus. Without prior music training, he enrolled in the Gnessin Musical Institute, subsequently studying at the Moscow Conservatory in the class of Nikolai Myaskovsky, among others. His first major work, the Piano Concerto (1936), popularized his name within and outside the Soviet Union. It was followed by the Violin Concerto (1940) and the Cello Concerto (1946). His other significant compositions include the Masquerade Suite (1941), the Anthem of the Armenian SSR (1944), three symphonies (1935, 1943, 1947), and around 25 film scores. Khachaturian is best known for his ballet music—Gayane (Happiness) (1942) and Spartacus (1954). His most popular piece, the Sabre Dance from Gayane, has been used extensively in popular culture and has been covered by a number of musicians worldwide. His style is "characterized by colorful harmonies, captivating rhythms, virtuosity, improvisations, and sensuous melodies."
Khachaturian was initially approved by the Soviet government and held several high posts in the Union of Soviet Composers from the late 1930s, although he joined the Communist Party only in 1943. Along with Sergei Prokofievand Dmitri Shostakovich, he was officially denounced as a "formalist" and his music dubbed "anti-people" in 1948, but was restored later that year. Since 1950 he taught at the Gnessin Institute and the Moscow Conservatory, and turned to conducting. He traveled to Europe, Latin America and the United States with concerts of his own works. In 1957 Khachaturian became the Secretary of Union of Soviet Composers, a position he held until his death.
Khachaturian was the most renowned Armenian composer of the 20th century and the author of the first Armenian ballet, symphony, concerto, and film score. While following the established musical traditions of Russia, he broadly used Armenian and to lesser extent, Caucasian, Eastern & Central European, and Middle Eastern peoples' folk music in his works. He is highly regarded in Armenia, where he is considered a "national treasure".
A number of his works have been arranged for band, including 'Armenian Dances, Seven Marches for Wind Band, and Waltz from Masquerade.
Works for Winds
- Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia (arr. Nefs) (1954)
- Adagio from "Sparticus"
- Aegina and Bacchanalia (arr. Hicken) (1954/1970/2010)
- Armenian Dances (arr. Satz) (1945)
- Armenian Folk Song and Dance (arr. McAlister)
- Concerto for Flute (trans. Rampal) (1940/1968)
- Galop (arr. Erickson)
- Gayeneh Dance Suite No 1 (arr. Snoeck)
- Gayeneh (arr. Van der Beek)
- Sabre Dance (arr Balent) (arr. Balent)
- Sabre Dance (arr Bullock) (arr. Bullock)
- Sabre Dance (arr Oliver) (arr. Oliver)
- Sabre Dance (arr Story) (arr. Story)
- Suite from "Masquerade" (arr. Patterson) (1941/1944/2016)
- Three Dance Episodes from "Sparticus" (arr. Hunsberger) (1969)
- To the Heroes of the Patriotic War (arr. Berz)
- Uzbek March and Dancing Song (arr. McAlister)
- The Valencian Widow (arr. Somers) (1940/2000)
- Aram Khachaturian, Wikipedia
- Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 342.