The Cadence Ensemble was formed in February 2004 by five outstanding Armenian instrumentalists under the leadership of pianist Armen Babakhanian, initially to perform the works of Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992).
The ensemble’s premiere concert took place in April 2004, and it soon became one of the leading and most popular music groups of Armenia, as it expanded its musical vision to include masterpieces of classical and contemporary European, American, Russian and Armenian composers, while maintaining an affinity for Piazzolla. Arrangements of many famous works, from classical, world music and pop are now included in its repertoire, alongside specially composed pieces dedicated to the ensemble and its members.
Cadence has enjoyed international exposure through live broadcasts of its concerts, and the release of three CDs and DVDs, and has received numerous invitations to perform in Russia alongside European, Asian, Gulf and Middle East countries. The group’s first international tour took place in April 2005, the highlights being performances in the Teatro Colon and Teatro Servantes, Buenos Aires.
In July 2005 the ensemble and its soloists performed concerts and gave master-classes at the Pazaislis Festival in Kaunas and Vilnius, Lithuania, and in December 2005 participated in international music festivals in Tehran and Tbilisi, Georgia. In May 2006 the Ensemble gave concerts in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai, UAE and in September 2006 performed in the Cairo and Alexandria Opera Houses in Egypt. 2007 saw further concerts in Beirut and Byblos, Lebanon, Paris, London, Brussels, Shenyang and Beijing.
A prize-winner at several of the world’s most prestigious international piano competitions including the Leeds, Van Cliburn, Guardian Dublin, William Kappell, Gina Bachauer, and World Piano Competition, Armen Babakhanian has captured the imagination of audiences and critics alike through the intensity and honesty of his performances.
Armen has given recitals in the USA, Canada, Japan, UK, Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Spain. He has appeared as soloist with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Irish National Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra (USA), Dallas Symphony, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov, Moscow Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev, and the Israel Philharmonic. Festival appearances include the Aspen, Interlochen, Santander and Baalbec music festivals.
Babakhanian’s performance of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet with the Takács Quartet at the Santander Festival in Spain was named the best chamber music performance of the festival. He has recorded for the ASV and Real Sound labels and his performances have been broadcasted on BBC, PBS (USA), ORF (Austria) and RAI (Italy) television networks. His recent recording of the Tchaikovsky piano sonatas received rave reviews in the European press.
In addition to his performing career, Armen has served as jury member for several international piano competitions, including the Gina Bachauer, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff piano competitions. In 1999 he founded and served as Artistic Director for the Armenian Legacy International Piano Competition in Yerevan, Armenia. He has taught numerous master-classes in Russia, UK, Spain, Japan and the USA. He is currently an Artist-inresidence at the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan, where he also received his musical education.
During the 2001/2002 season, Armen Babakhanian appeared in concerts in 17 cities in Japan, USA, Canada, Australia and Finland. He also took part in a concert tour of France which included a recital in Lyon’s famed Salle Molière.
During recent seasons Mr. Babakhanian has performed in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, USA, China, Lebanon, Syria, Japan, Israel, Lithuania, Switzerland, Slovenia, Argentina and Iceland.
Born in Yerevan, Armenia, Hakob took up guitar at age of seven, and was taught at the Yerevan Music Salon-School. From 1978-1982 he studied in the Romanos Melikian Music College under Professor Edouard Badalian, and from 1990-1994 at the Yerevan State Conservatory.
From 1985-1991 Hakob was a soloist in the Armenian State Philharmonic Societ and since 1995 has been Professor of the Yerevan State Conservatory. He was named Laureate of the Third All-Union Festival of Guitarists (1982, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine), the most prestigious professional guitarists festival in the former Soviet Union.
Hakob has given concerts and master-classes in Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Estonia, Belarus, Germany, Syria, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, France, Italy, Lebanon, USA and Lithuania.
His repertoire includes Vivaldi, Bach, Paganini, Ponce, Albenis, Granados, Moreno-Toroba, Rodrigo, Mikrotikos, Spanish flamenco, Latin American music, and arrangements of modern composers.
Ashot was born in 1980 in Yerevan, Armenia. Graduating from The Tchaikovski Music School he received his higher music education as a violinist and composer at the Yerevan State Conservatory (1997-2002, classes of professors Genrikh Smbatian and Edvard Mirzoyan) and has won prizes in three national music competitions.
While studying in the conservatory in 2002 he was invited by the Virtuosi of Armenia Chamber Orchestra to tour Iran, and the same year joined the Yerevan Radio Symphony Orchestra. Since 2003 he has been a member of the Symphony Orchestra of Armenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre and in 2005 was invited by Maestro Valeri Gergiev to join the International Symphony Orchestra to perform the jubilee concert in Moscow, celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Victory in WWII. He has taken part in the tours with the Symphony Orchestra of the Armenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Russia, Turkey and Greece, and joined the Cadence Ensemble in March 2006.
Gevorg is the leading accordionist and the only bandoneon player in Armenia. He received his higher music education at the Culture Department of the Yerevan State Pedagogical University studying accordion and brass instruments and after membership of several well known pop groups was appointed Director of the “Akunk” State Radio Ensemble in 1987.
Gevorg spent ten years accompanying the State Dance Ensemble of Armenia and as a virtuoso accordionist took part in international music festivals in the UK and France. With different ensembles he toured the UK, South Korea, Russia, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Canada, and the UAE, and is involved in numerous recording projects, appearing also in video clips of well-known Armenian instrumentalists and pop singers.
Since 2004 he has been a member of the international orchestra accompanying the great Lebanese singer Fairuz and is a founder member of the Cadence Ensemble.
Lusine was born in 1984 in Yerevan, Armenia and is a graduate of Arno Babajanyan Music College. In 2003 she entered the Yerevan State Conservatory and has worked in the Armen Hakob Symphony Orchestra under the conductor K. Durgaryan. Lusine is a member of the Youth Symphony Orchestra under the conductor S. Smbatyan which recently performed in Moscow, Paris and Berlin. Lusine joined the Cadence Ensemble in 2007.