Armenian-American conductor Aram Demirjian is widely acclaimed for his transformative work as the music director of Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and his frequent appearances with The Philadelphia Orchestra. A dynamic presence on the podium, he is sought after for his "graceful, energetic direction" (Sarasota Herald Tribune), bold programming, and distinctive abilities as a communicator.
In the 2019-20 season, Aram can be seen throughout the year with Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO), plus in subscription debuts with the Tucson and Portland symphonies and Orlando Philharmonic, three return engagements for special projects with The Philadelphia Orchestra and an appearance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with KSO, featuring soprano Julia Bullock performing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Knoxville poets R.B. Morris and Rhea Carmon (RheaSunshine), as part of SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestra, in a program called “Knoxville: Artists at Home.”
Aram is flourishing as the 8th Music Director of KSO, which has attained new artistic heights, sustained significant ticket revenue increases and received national recognition for its achievements during the three years of his tenure. His visionary programming emphasizes collaboration, including projects with nationally renowned organizations including Violins of Hope, American Modern Opera Company and PROJECT Trio, plus regional partnerships including Appalachian Ballet Company, contemporary ensemble Nief Norf, and Big Ears Music Festival. Aram is devoted to presenting programs that both excite and expand the listening palette of the KSO audience, championing new music by bringing it into dialogue with time-honored classics and interactive experiences. His recent program featuring Jessie Montgomery’s Banner and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with students from Tennessee School of the Deaf performing the Ode to Joy in American Sign Language, was lauded as “wildly successful… inarguably relevant to the contemporary world” (Arts Knoxville). In his second season as music director, Aram founded KSO: UnStaged, a series of experiential, multi-sensory events in non-traditional settings, co-curated by community partners including craft breweries, yoga studios and museums. For the current season, KSO and Knoxville Museum of Art have jointly commissioned a new violin concerto by Michael Schachter, inspired by Richard Jolley's glass art opus, Cycle of Life: Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity, on permanent display at KMA. The concerto will be premiered by Grammy-nominated violinist Philippe Quint, alongside Tchaikovsky's fate-themed Symphony No. 4.
Aram’s recent guest conducting highlights include American engagements with the Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New England Conservatory, Omaha, San Antonio and St. Louis symphonies, the Minnesota, Sarasota and Breckenridge Music Festival orchestras, and Louisiana Philharmonic. Internationally, he has conducted Orquesta Sinfónico de Minería, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and Orchéstre Métropolitain de Montréal. As a regular cover conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, he has assisted internationally renowned conductors including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Stéphane Denève, Alan Gilbert, Manfred Honeck, Louis Langrée, Fabio Luisi and Antonio Pappano. Equally at ease in the opera pit, in 2018 Aram served as the Solti Fellow with Lyric Opera of Chicago for Massenet's Cendrillon. He also conducted a nationally acclaimed 17-performance run of Bernstein's Candide with KSO and Clarence Brown Theatre. In celebration of the Bernstein Centenary, the production was hailed as "superbly conducted" (Chicago Tonight). From 2012-16, he served as Associate Conductor of Kansas City Symphony.
Aram is the winner of the 2019 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award and the 2011 Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from Aspen Music Festival, where he was a three-time Conducting Fellow in the Aspen Conducting Academy. He has appeared in masterclasses with renowned conductors including Bernard Haitink at Lucerne Easter Festival and Kurt Masur at Manhattan School of Music. Aram holds a joint Bachelor of Arts in Music and Government from Harvard University and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from New England Conservatory.
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