Komitas (real name, Sogomonian)

views updated

Komitas (real name, Sogomonian)

Komitas (real name, Sogomonian), Armenian ethnomusicologist and composer; b. Kutina, Turkey, Oct. 8, 1869; d. Paris, Oct. 22, 1935. He studied at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary in Vagharshapat. He was made a vardapet (archimandrite) in 1894, taking the name Komitas, after a 7th-century Armenian hymn writer. In 1895 he went to Tiflis, where he studied theory. He then lived in Berlin (1896–99), where he took courses at Richard Schmidt’s private cons, and with Bellermann, Fleischer, and Friedlaender at the Univ. He studiously collected materials on Armenian folk music, publishing articles on the subject and also composing works utilizing Armenian motifs. In 1910 he moved to Constantinople; the Armenian massacre of 1915 so affected him that he became incurably psychotic, and lived from 1919 in a Paris hospital. His body was reburied in the Pantheon of Armenian Artists in Yerevan in 1936. His collected compositions were ed. by R. Atayan (3 vols., Yerevan, 1960-69).


A. Shaverdian, K. i armyanskaya musikalmaya kultura (K. and Armenian Music; Yerevan, 1956); H. Begian, Gomidas Vartabed: His Life and Importance to Armenian Music (diss., Univ. of Mich., 1964); G. Geodakian, K. (Yerevan, 1969).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire