A distinguished Armenian composer, master of merging traditional and contemporary sounds. He once described himself as “a part of both of these worlds; simultaneously a part of the East and the West.”
One of the principal representatives of the so-called “new spirituality” in music. Mansurian is closely associated with leading European composers and musicians like Valentin Silvestrov, Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, André Volkonsky, Edison Denisow, Kim Kashkashian and Jan Garbarek.
”Just as wild animals fear the hunters, so does folklore fear meeting the Western musician, armed with musical notation and composition techniques.”
Born in 1939 in Beirut, Lebanon, where his father sought sanctuary from Turkish pogroms. In 1947 he returned to Armenia with his family. Mansurian got his musical education in Yerevan, first at the local Academy of Music and later at the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory. He taught contemporary music theory at the latter, and in 1986, Mansurian became a professor at his alma mater. He was the Conservatory’s rector from 1992 to 1995.
Mansurian has written pieces for the orchestra, as well as for the piano; has composed chamber music, as well as choral and vocal music. Has composed the soundtrack to Parajanov’s “Color of Pomegranates,” a film about the 18th century Armenian poet Arutjun Saradjan released in 1968. Mansurian also scored films of Henrik Malyan and Mikhail Vartanov.
In 2007, Mansurian was a guest at the Nostalgia Festival in Poznań, an event celebrating modern chamber music. While there he said that he is especially fond of Witold Lutosławski and his techniques of monodies and polyphonies permeating each other; he also praised the work of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.