collection ofAram Khachatryan prepared for
the 100th anniversary and published by the
When in 1978 music conductor Gohar Harutyunyan
was offered the position of director of a new
museum dedicated to composer Aram Khachatryan,
she was surprised at what she was being asked
"When I first entered that place is was
just a memorial house," she recalls. "The
door was broken and trees in the garden were withered.
We had taken 40 trucks of garbage out of there
before we started construction of the museum building."
However, Harutyunyan's eyes sparkle and her voice
rings when she speaks about the great composer.
"I devoted all my life to this work,"
she says. "I wonder myself on how much I
have managed to do. But I am not exhausted. I
think all days and nights long what else I should
do not to overlook anything."
She has spent 25 years gathering material.
"I have written 1,500 letters within 25
years," she says. "Aram Khachatryan
had been in 50-55 countries, and I started to
get replies. I have got a lot of assistance in
collecting letters from the Diaspora community
Harutyunyan has collected 1,450 pictures of Khachatryan
(who died in 1978), 7,000 articles, and 18,000
stories about him.
In 1983 and 1993, Harutyunyan published letters
of the musician.
And this year, to mark the 100th anniversary
of his birth, Harutyunyan has published Khachatryan's
letters again, as well as museum catalogs in English,
Armenian and Russian.
Absent any help from State organizations, Harutyunyan
has published the materials through her own means.
The museum personnel are concerned that five
months into the year, Armenia has not celebrated
"If you ask our government officials what
they have done for the wonderful composer of the
20th century you won't get answer," the director
says. "And I can say I have founded a world-known
Harutyunyan says every day has been eventful
for 25 years.
Harutyunyan is also concerned that celebrations
of Khachatryan's 100th anniversary have started
since February outside Armenia, while they haven't
in Armenia yet. She will travel to Boston in July
for a Khachatryan celebration.
Harutyunyan has herself been honored for her
work with the museum, including the Movses Khorenatsi
medal on the museum's 20th anniversary.
And while the 100th anniversary is significant,
she says every day for the past 25 years has been
eventful. Concerts, competitions, seminars and
meetings with famous musicians are being organized
in the concert hall of the museum two or three
times a week. About 15,000 guests visit the museum
"We work all the time; we are not waiting
till they will do something from above,"
Harutyunyan says. "We have always been active
and will continue.
The museum has a significant collection of audio
records. It was replenished with 2,500 CDs given
by Canadian Armenian Latelye Grigorian. The French
embassy also gave 350 CDs.
The museum mistress considers herself to be a
heroine, while telling the story of bringing "Player"
brand piano signed by Aram Khachaturyan from San
"The piano belonged to Argentinean Armenian
Tigran Mostijyan. He gave a big reception in honor
of Aram Khachatryan in 1958 at his place.
Khachatryan has played there on his request,
and then on the request of Mostijyan signed his
second name with a nail," Harutyunian tells.
composer "signed" a piano after
a performance in Argentina. It now rests in
Today the piano is standing modestly in the museum's
concert hall and keeps silence. Photos hanging
on the wall talk instead. Aram Khachatryan with
Charley Chaplin, Maxim Gorky, Sophia Loren, queen
of Belgium Elizabeth II, Ernest Hemingway, Mark
Chagal and other famous people.
Khachatryan's son Karen has given the main part
of his father's personal items: furniture of the
sleeping room, working room, and living room,
the piano, conductor's dress coat, conductor's
stick and many other items.
The museum itself has not been renovated over
the 25 years. It was suggested that the building
get renovation during the Lincy Fondation's cultural
program throughout Armenia. But Harutyunyan says
she could not interrupt the 100th anniversary
by closing the museum for repairs, even though
they are needed.
Temperature in the museum reaches minus 12 in
wintertime and in spring ceiling tiles fall when
the rains come.
"Aram Khachaturyan was the initiator of
the foundation of the museum himself," Harutyunyan
says. "In his opinion his museum had to be
in Armenia. He has dreamt to give his manuscripts,
letters, and valuable things 'to his people' as
he was saying, which would prove his life, his
creative work and international music fame."