Juno Award-winning Canadian-Armenian composer and pianist Serouj Kradjian is in Toronto, preparing to present the world premiere of his opera and the latest commission from the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs. Created by Kradjian and Dora Award-winning librettist Marjorie Chan, the production is based on a beloved Armenian folk tale and features Armenian symbols, imagery, and music brought to life by traditional Armenian instruments like the Duduk, Shevi, and Dhol. Performed by over 80 choristers in the CCOC’s Principle, Youth, Intermediate and Apprentices choruses and a professional chamber orchestra, the show opens June 9 and runs to June 11 (tickets here).
Kradjian has established himself as an exciting voice on the international musical scene. When he’s not performing, he’s also the Co-Artistic Director and pianist of the Amici Chamber Ensemble. Over 100 of his works have been commissioned, either composed or arranged by Kradjian; those works have been performed by the Toronto, Vancouver, and Madrid Symphonies. His vast discography contains over 15 recordings including the complete Transcendental Etudes (listen) and Robert Schumann’s three sonatas for violin and piano with Ara Malikian (listen).
We sat down with him to chat opera, lessons learned over the course of a career, and what it means to be brave in music.
Drink of choice?
If you weren’t a composer, you’d be…
Top 3 favourite composers
Franz Liszt, Francis Poulenc, Father Komitas
Tent or hotel?
What’s your ancestry?
I am an Armenian born in Lebanon.
What’s your favourite movie?
Are you a cat person or dog person?
What was your childhood dream job?
Football (Soccer) player
Are you happiest in the country or in the city?
What’s your favourite non-classical band?
Which colour best symbolises your personality?
Do you enjoy cooking? If yes, what is your best dish?
Very much. My best dish is baked salmon with Mediterranean flavours and herbs!
What is one very popular thing that you have no interest in?
What does it mean to be brave with music?
Innovating without any fear of criticism, performing and programming music without any stylistic or national borders. Always looking to the future without forgetting the past, and constantly reinventing yourself.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Knafeh Jibneh (Lebanese pastry)
What is happiness for you?
Are you a perfectionist?
Only when it comes to music.
What’s the most important lesson you learned from childhood?
Never give up.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SEROUJ KRADJIAN
VISIT HIS WEBSITE
Ⓒ Oksana Ars
Serouj Kradjian performs at Սէր եւ ուժ» (“Love and Strength”) Concert at the historic Aram Khachaturian concert hall, 2022 Ⓒ David Jotyan
Kradjian’s The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs
Canadian Children’s Opera Company
June 9-11, 2023
COMPOSER Serouj Kradjian
LIBRETTIST Marjorie Chan
DESIGNER Jung-Hye Kim
STAGE MANAGER Kristin McCollum
LIGHTING Mikael Kangas
PROPS COORDINATOR Sequoia Erickson
DIRECTOR Julie McIsaac
PRODUCTION DESIGNER Remington North
MUSIC DIRECTOR Teri Dunn
CREATIVE & CULTURAL DIRECTOR Amy Kazandjian
THE NIGHTINGALE (SOPRANO) Lynn Isnar
Canadian Children Opera Chorus
The Canadian Children’s Opera Company proudly announces the return of its annual main stage production with our latest commission, The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs, based on a beloved Armenian folk tale, by Juno award-winning composer Serouj Kradjian and Dora award-winning playwright and librettist Marjorie Chan. The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs, the latest new opera in the CCOC’s long history of new commissioned works, follows the journey of two siblings, Leah and Ari, as they emerge from a tragedy in their homeland. The children embark on an adventure to find the Nightingale of a Thousand Songs to bring back life and joy to their world.
Performed by over 80 choristers in the CCOC’s Principal, Youth, Intermediate, and Apprentices choruses and a professional chamber orchestra. Appropriate for ages 7 and up.