George Mgrdichian


George Mgrdichian was born in 1935 in Philadelphia, USA into an Armenian-American family. As a teenager he played the clarinet in an Armenian band that performed at weddings and dances, but when the oud player was drafted into military service, Mgrdichian was required to teach himself the oud to replace him. Mgrdichian's first solo oud recording was released in 1958, and this would be followed by appearances on dozens more albums, through which he played a major part in introducing the oud to American audiences. In the 1960s he moved to New York to further his studies of the clarinet at the Juilliard School, where he obtained a Bachelor's and Master's degree. He also studied ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Over the years he collaborated with musicians from jazz, classical and traditional backgrounds, including Dave Brubeck, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. George Mgrdichian passed away in New York in 2006 aged 71.


Selected Recordings

The Oud
(Carlton STLP 12-109/Global Village Music CD 801)

This CD contains a number of instrumentals based on traditional Armenian and Anatolian folk melodies, together with several improvisations. It was originally released on vinyl in 1958 with different track names, and featuring the 'Aram Arakelian Ensemble' - Aram Arakelian was just a pseudonym of Mgrdichian himself though!

1. Nehavend Longa 2:17
2. Chat Araban 3:08
3. Yar Sahtch Lareh 2:30
4. Paree Loosee Zanker Zargeen 2:49
5. Halay 2:44
6. Tahksim 1:21
7. Shenaz Longa 2:46
8. Sultani Yegya 3:38
9. Rast Chifte Telli 2:07
10. Rhythmic Tahksim 2:55
11. Peshrev 1:57
12. Hasapico 2:52

George Mgrdichian on the Oud
(Global Village Music CD 803)

Another excellent CD from George Mgrdichian, who was commissioned by the Diocese of the Armenian Church to research and perform these Armenian songs and dances. He is accompanied on guitar by Menachem Dworman.

1. Sevani Tsgnorsner (Sevan Fishermen) 2:00
2. Dgha Zaven (A Boy Named Zaven) 2:57
3. Ganche Groong (Sing Crane) 2:15
4. Dsaghge Poonch (Bouquet of Flowers) 4:06
5. Eraz (Dream) 2:45
6. Gadagayin Bahr (Humorous Dance) 1:31
7. Donagan Bahr (Holiday Dance) 2:36
8. Oozoon Dara (Wide Valley) 3:05
9. Kele, Kele (Walk, Walk) 1:42
10. Jeyranee Bess (Like a Deer) 3:14
11. Groongh (The Crane) 4:36
12. Asa Inch Anem (Tell Me What To Do) 2:38

The Now Sounds of the Middle East
(Monitor Records MFS 709/MCD 71709)

Originally released on vinyl in 1969, this album has more recently been re-released on CD. The tracks are mostly traditional Turkish, Israeli, Greek and Armenian compositions with a few rather incongruous Western pieces amongst them.

1. Nehavend Longa 2:44
2. Sultan Yega 5:45
3. Yesterday 1:35
4. Laz Bar 2:25
5. Chat Araban 4:55
6. Aley Giva 2:00
7. Čaderemen Ustune (Rampi) 4:07
8. Israeli Melody: Erev Shel Shoshanim/Cholot Mid Bar 3:20
9. Marinella 3:45
10. Take 5 2:00
11. Shenez Longa 2:30
12. Sev Khavar 2:35


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