Konstantsin Orbelyan

Konstantin Orbelyan is a creative vivid individual endowed with talents of a composer, pianist, choirmaster and organizer. Marna Berko, musical expert, writes in her book called  “Konstantin Orbelyan”, “Konstantin Orbelyan is the first person who introduced contemporary jazz in Armenia, in the very way it existed in global practice, but was a quite rare phenomenon in soviet music world.”  

Konstantin Orbelyan was born on July 29, 1928 in Armavir city. He lived his childhood in Baku, during the cruel repressions by Stalin. In 1937 nine-year-old Konstantin and his elder brother got deprived from their parental care. His father and mother, who were prominent political figures, were exiled.

His powerful musical charismatic talent, his ability of playing the accordion and the piano, as well as his early manifested steady character - very unusual to his age group, and his proud independence led the young musician to his first job. He started to accompany by playing music for gymnasts of “Burevestnik” sport company, Baku.  

The war started. In 1942, Konstantin was taken to jazz-orchestra of the eighth aviation corpus located in Baku as a pianist and accordion player. The orchestra arrived in Yerevan for concerts. The young Orbelyan was immediately noticed by local musicians,  specifically by Artemy Ayvazyan. Ayvazyan invited the young musician to work in Armenia’s jazz.

Moving to the capital of Armenia for K. Orbelyan meant to communicate with the culture of his native people. His thirst towards the science, his extraordinary talent and his will to reach the objective gave their fruits. K. Orbelyan became a student at the Music College named after Romanos Melikyan. Later, he entered conservatory. During the academic years at Conservatory, he returned to the world of pop music, and organized an instrumental quintet.  

In the year of 1956 Konstantin Orbelyan was appointed as the Art Director of the State Pop Jazz Orchestra of Armenia. Konstantin Orbelyan headed the orchestra for 36 years.

The successes obtained in the sphere of classical music led the composer perhaps to the most serious professional  problem; the question was what genre to prefer: classical or pop. Looking back to the professional path that Orbelyan has passed, we can say with confidence that he was equally successful in expressing himself  in classical music as well as in folklore and in jazz.

He wrote the “Immortality” ballet, “Festive prologue for symphonic orchestra”, short musical compositions for piano, “Ode”, variations for piano and chamber orchestra.

K. Orbelyan has authored numerous songs, which have been loved not only in Armenia, but also in Soviet Union and outside its territories. Songs, such as “Arevik” (The little sun), “Galis es” (You are coming), “Sery chi tseranum” (Love does not become old), “Kechineri aghmuky” (Noise of birches), “Erjankutyan haryur zham” (Hundred hours of happiness) and many other songs have found their constant places in golden fund of Armenian pop music.