(pseudonym of Sogomon Gevorkovich Sogomonian). Born Sept. 26 (Oct. 8), 1869, in the town of Kutina, Turkey; died Oct. 22, 1935, Paris. Armenian composer, scholar, choral conductor, and public figure.
Komitas graduated from the Echmiadzin Theological Academy in 1893. From 1896 to 1899 he studied music history and theory in Berlin. He began living in Echmiadzin in 1899, directing the music courses and choir of the academy. Because of a conflict with conservative church circles, he moved to Constantinople in 1910. Komitas lived in Paris from 1919. During the last years of his life he suffered from a serious mental disease. In 1936 his remains were transported from Paris and buried in Yerevan.
Komitas was a classic Armenian composer, a master of choral polyphony, and a founder of Armenian ethnological scholarship. A collector and researcher of folk songs, he compiled collections that incude typical examples of the centuries-old creative work of the Armenian people. His articles made innovations in the methodology of the study of folklore. As a singer, choral director, and lecturer he spread the knowledge of Armenian folk music in Transcaucasia and in the Western European countries, where he delivered papers at international music congresses.
Most of Komitas’ vividly national original work is vocal music. Based on adaptations of folk material, it is among the most original classical music of the 20th century. Komitas’ work contributed to the development of a national school of composition. In 1925 a quartet was named after him, and in 1948 the Yerevan Conservatory was renamed after him.
WORKSKomitas. Yerkeri zhoghovatsu, vol. 1–3. Yerevan, 1969.
Hodvatsner yev usumnasirut’iunner. Yerevan, 1941.
REFERENCESShaverdian, A. Komitas i armianskaia muzykal’naia kul’tura. Yerevan, 1956.
Geodakian, G. Sh. Komitas. Yerevan, 1969.
Komitasakan, vol. 1. Yerevan, 1969.