Tjeknavorian, Loris, Iranian-born American conductor and composer of Armenian descent; b. Boroujerd, Oct. 13, 1937. He studied at the Tehran Cons. (1950), the Vienna Academy of Music (composition diploma, 1961), with Carl Orff (1963-64), and at the Univ. of Mich. (D.M.A., 1966). After serving as a prof, of theory at the Tehran Cons. (1961-63), he was composer-in-residence at Concordia Coll. (1966-67), Moorhead State Univ. (1967-70), and with the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (1970-73). From 1970 to 1975 he was principal conductor of the Tehran Opera and Ballet. In 1974 he appeared as a guest conductor of the Hallé Orch. in Manchester, and returned to England in 1975 as a guest conductor of the Philharmonia Orch. in London and the London Sym. Orch. He subsequently was a guest conductor with various orchs., among them the London Phil., the Royal Phil. in London, the Royal Liverpool Phil., the Danish National Radio Sym. Orch. in Copenhagen, the American Sym. Orch. in N.Y., the Mexico State Sym. Orch., the Helsinki Phil., the Yomiuri Nippon Sym. Orch. in Tokyo, the English Chamber Orch., and the St. Paul (Minn.) Chamber Orch. In 1976 he founded the Inst. of Armenian Music in London, which he served as chairman until 1980. In 1980-81 he was founder- program advisor of Armenian music studies of the School of the Performing Arts at the Univ. of Southern Calif, at Los Angeles. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1987. In 1989 he became director and principal conductor of the Armenian Phil. in Yerevan, which he conducted in its U.S. debut on Dec. 7 of that year at N.Y/s Carnegie Hall. In addition to the standard repertoire, Tjeknavorian has programmed works by many Armenian composers, and has also conducted several of his own compositions. Among his works are 2 operas, the ballet Othello, 5 syms., concertos, the oratorio Book of Revelation, and chamber music.
—Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire