29 July 2014, 20:18
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Grand Performances Present VOCE (video)

Friday, July 25, afternoon, California Plaza overlooking the Pershing Square, Los Angeles. The usual hustle and bustle of the busy Downtown area was overpowered by the melodic sounds of jazz. Free summer concert series, Grand Performances, featured Vardan Ovsepian Chamber Ensemble, VOCE.

Armenia-born pianist and composer Vardan Ovsepian presented to the audience his own compositions, music of Komitas, as well as the composition of the ensemble’s vocalist, Tatiana Parra. Tatiana’s clear voice and Vardan’s virtuoso improvisations on piano were accompanied by Katisse Buckingham on flutes, Nick Mancini on marimba, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson on viola, Artyom Manukian on cello, Brian Walsh – clarinet, Eric Sittner – double bass, Gavin Salmon on drums, and Zach Harmon on percussion.

“It’s surreal to play music of Komitas in such a modern urban setting. My mission today was to introduce Armenian music to the larger American audiences,” said Vardan after the performance.

VOCE (Vardan Ovsepian Chamaber Ensemble) was formed in 2005 in Boston, and is now based in Los Angeles. VOCE's provocative arrangements integrate elements of three traditions: western classical forms, jazz improvisation, and folk elements from different lands. The compositions range from darkly epic and driving, to playful and contemplative, varying in length from vignettes to longer suites.

Grand Performances is Southern California’s premiere award-winning free concert presenter. Located in downtown Los Angeles at California Plaza, Grand Performances mission is to bring together the diverse peoples of Los Angeles through quality free performing arts programs that reflect the rich tapestry of this region’s communities.

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