Profile - Tigran Aleksanyan


Photo of Tigran Aleksanyan
All photos of Tigran Aleksanyan this page by Richard A. Sharma.
Copyright © 2004 Richard A. Sharma. All rights reserved.
 Artist: Tigran Aleksanyan
 Born: 1975
 Active: 1990s onward
 Group Members:  
 Genre/s: 1) World | Trad. | Folk
2) World | Contemporary
3) Jazz | World Jazz
 Sub-Genre/s: 1) Armenian Folk, Middle Eastern
 Instrument/s: duduk, zurna (or zourna), Armenian flutes, clarinet
 Date Info First Pub'd: 2004-08-22 (major update 2008-07)
 Based: London, UK
 Contact: email
 Web Site:  

Purchasing Info

Photo of Tigran Aleksanyan
The inimitable Tigran Aleksanyan, here playing the zurna

Photo of Tigran Aleksanyan
Tigran Aleksanyan on his duduk

Photo of Tigran Aleksanyan
Tigran Aleksanyan on clarinet, with Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers at Diaspora Music Village 2004, Kew Gardens

Tigran Aleksanyan was born in the historic Ararat Mountains of Armenia and settled in the UK in 2001, a huge gain for the British world and folk music scene and beyond.

Music having been an important part of Tigran Aleksanyan's life from early childhood, his father enrolled him at music school at age nine. He started learning the shvi flute before moving on to the duduk, an instrument unique to the Caucasus if not Armenia, being a wooden double reed instrument with a timbre somewhere between that of the clarinet's chalumeau register and that of a bassoon and almost capable of rivaling the enormous volume of the zurna (a kind of shawm widespread from the Caucasus and the rest of the Middle East to North Africa and Central Asia). The duduk is generally considered the most important (and most characteristic) instrument in the Armenian folk traditions. Aleksanyan studied the duduk under two of the country's greatest masters among others, absorbing their secrets and different styles and whatever else he could to develop his own musical style and voice. He also studied at and graduated from the Armenian Conservatory in 1992.

At this time, aged seventeen and having won a pan-national competition, Tigran Aleksanyan already became a member of the Armenian State Dance Ensemble's orchestra and later also joined Akhtamar Dance Group, touring widely through Iraq, Switzerland, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK.

Photo of Tigran Aleksanyan with Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers
Tigran Aleksanyan, far right, with Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers at the Purcell Room, South Bank Centre

Following on from a number of concerts in London came Aleksanyan's move to London in 2001, and since then he quickly established himself as a huge asset to the UK music scene in general and world and folk music in particular, with excursions even into world jazz. His mastery of his instruments, the duduk, zurna, Armenian folk flute or shepherd's flute, as well as clarinet, is formidable, as is his general musicianship, thus not confining him to any one particular genre, and he is also a capable and inventive improviser when the opportunity arises. Tigran Aleksanyan has been an occasional member of the phenomenal Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers since that band's inception in 2003 and among other venues has appeared with them at the prestigious South Bank Centre's Purcell Room in London. Among his numerous other credits are recording with Koby Israelite, appearances at Womad UK 2005 with Iranian-Azeri born Mostafa Shams on Iranian drums Tombak, Daf (Gaval) and Naghara (Dohl), broadcast on BBC Radio 3, as well as extensive performances with British folk/world music experimentalist Andrew Cronshaw since 2005 at among others the Brighton Festival 2008 and Womad UK 2008, the latter also broadcast by BBC Radio 3, and Aleksanyan has also made TV appearances on Channel 4 and Five TV.

Photo of Tigran Aleksanyan with Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers
Tigran Aleksanyan, 2nd from right, with Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers at Diaspora Music Village 2004, Kew Gardens

Tigran Aleksanyan is an outstanding and charismatic performer who is as at home with his native Armenia's haunting, often mournful, always soulful, folk music as with contemporary world music or the contemporary world jazz of for example Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers. Whatever the setting, hearing especially his enchanting, almost mystical-sounding duduk is an experience that stays with you for a very long time, Aleksanyan's playing is quite unforgettable, his performance extraordinary. May we hear much, so much more, of Tigran Aleksanyan and his magical duduk.

© 2004-2008 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore

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Appears on

2005 Koby Israelite - Mood Swings (Tzadik)

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Other Info

For more photographs of Tigran Aleksanyan in performance and reviews of some of his gigs see the reviews of these gigs with Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers:

Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers at Leo Baeck College, London, 3rd July 2003
Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers at the Purcell Room, London, 25th March 2004
with Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers at:
Diaspora Music Village 2004 at Kew Gardens 3rd July 2004


Purchasing Info:

Tigran Aleksanyan's recordings can be purchased:
None at present

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