Armen Donelian

b. 1 December 1950, New York City (New York), USA. Donelian, who is of Armenian descent, studied music from an early age. He was a student at Westchester Conservatory of Music in White Plains, New York and Columbia University in New York City. He also learned folk music from Armenia and other countries in the eastern Mediterranean. While his musical training was mostly classical, he was also a keen jazz fan and was a member of a band that was led by Art Ryerson, Snr. After graduating in 1972, Donelian started playing jazz in New York. He played with Mongo Santamaria and Richie Beirach, percussionist. He recorded with the latter and provided compositions. Some of these were featured on Santamaria’s 1976 Grammy Award-winning Sofrito. Donelian was a regular collaborator with jazz musicians such as Sonny Rollins (Cheat Baker), Billy Harper, Billy Hart, Paquito D’Rivera and Anne Marie Moss in the late 70s and early 1980s. He returned to school in the mid-80s and concentrated on classical music while continuing to record and play jazz. He was a member of Night Ark from the late 80s to the early 90s. They toured extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the USA. He also collaborated with Datevik Hovanesian, who sang. Donelian has recorded and worked with many musicians, including bass player Carl Morten Iversen and drummer Audun Kleive. He also played with saxophonists Thomas Chapin and Marc Mommaas, and trumpeter Barry Danielian. Donelian has been involved in music education since 1986. He is currently on the faculty at the New School Jazz Program as well as New Jersey’s William Paterson University. In the 1990s, Donelian was awarded four Jazz Fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000, Donelian was awarded a Fellowship for Music Composition by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. This allowed him to develop his classical ideas. His educational work in Armenia was acknowledged with a Fulbright Scholarship in 2002. This allowed him to travel to the former USSR and eastern Europe. In 2003, he was awarded the Fulbright Senior Specialist Award. This allowed him to return to Armenia for further educational projects. He also taught master classes in Armenia and the USA. Donelian is also the author of two volumes, Training The Ear (1992) and 2003). Allmusic

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