Armenian-American conductor Tigran Arakelyan is the Assistant Conductor of the California Philharmonic Orchestra and the Music Director of the Northwest Mahler Festival in Seattle and the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra.
He is also the Music Director of the Federal Way Youth Symphony and the Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestras. Previously, he held assistant/associate conductor positions with the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, Bellingham Symphony Orchestra, Northridge Youth Philharmonic, and the Rainier Symphony.
Arakelyan was a prize winner in The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming and at the Global Music Awards.
During the summer of 2019, he will make his conducting debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, conduct the LARK Orchestra in California and a third tour (2014, 2017) of South Korea with the Federal Way Youth Symphony. Arakelyan’s recent conducting engagements were with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Olympia Chamber Orchestra, Armenian Pops Orchestra, Centum Youth Orchestra (S. Korea), Juneau Symphony, Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, Inverted Space Ensemble, and innovative collaborations with the Olympic Performance Group, Evergreen Choir, and Olympic Girls’ Choir.
He is the founder of the Port Townsend Chamber Orchestra, Bainbridge Island String Orchestra Festival, and the PTSO Young Artist Competition. He leads the Port Townsend Symphony to unprecedented financial and audience growth in the first two years of his tenure.
Arakelyan was the Founder Conductor/Artistic Director of Cadence Chamber Orchestra (WA) and the Music Director of Whidbey Island Orchestra (WA), University of Washington Campus Philharmonia, UW Summer Orchestra, Bremerton Youth Symphony and Echo Youth Orchestra at the Lark Musical Society (CA). He has been instrumental in initiating innovative collaborations with composers, soloists, visual artists, dancers, and choirs.
Arakelyan helped in creating youth scholarship programs, festivals, young composer competitions and led orchestral performances at unconventional venues. He conducted the Pacific Northwest premiere of Paul Hindemith Kammermuzik Nr. 1. Arakelyan has also conducted the Yakima Symphony Chamber Orchestra, University of California Los Angeles Philharmonia, Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts, Korean Music Association Choir (WA), Inverted Space Modern Ensemble, U.W. Symphony, California State University Northridge Symphony, CSU Northridge Discovery Players, and the Nimbus Ensemble (CA). He premiered works by Keith Jarrett, James Cohn, Iosif Andriasov, Eleanor Aversa, Michael Austin Miller, Yiğit Kolat, Jeff Bowen, Jon Brenner, Arshak Andriasov, and Felipe Rossi.
Arakelyan played alongside Sir James Galway during his induction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is a three-time recipient of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Performing Arts Fellowship, Edward Hosharian Award, and the Armenian Allied Arts Competition (1st place), among others. Arakelyan participated in the Conductors Guild Workshop, Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, Idyllwild Music Festival, Dilijan Chamber Music Series, Seasons Festival Academy, and Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. He conducted in masterclasses with notable conductors David Loebel, Frank Battisti, Donald Thulean, Ennio Nicotra, David Effron, Neal Stulberg and Michael Jinbo.
He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from the University of Washington. His primary conducting studies are with Ludovic Morlot, David Alexander Rahbee and flute studies with John Barcellona, Paul Taub, and Laura Osborn.
Arakelyan played in flute masterclasses with Stephen Preston and Shigenori Kudo. In his youth, he played in the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. Outside of conducting, he is the founder and host of Off the Podium Music Podcast where his guests are renowned musicians and artists. (updated June 2019)
“I have always found Tigran to be that rare individual, possessing both the passion and work ethic required to achieve goals that others might shy away from. What’s more, Tigran is a responsible and genial individual, a person who contributes openly, free of any agenda, in discussions with his colleagues. I am confident that his unmatched passion and enthusiasm will translate very successfully into any position that he feels qualified to pursue. In summary, I recommend Tigran without reservation.”
– Kent Devereaux
President, New Hampshire Institute of Art
“Knowing Tigran from my work with him in the Rainier Symphony, I sought him out to lead the Mahler Festival. We needed a leader who could understand the long term and short term needs of the program we are building and could command the respect of the highly skilled musicians who play with us every year.
Tigran’s musicianship and ability to command the respect of the orchestra has been all I expected of him. He has an uncanny ability to see what is needed from those around him in a way that was lacking in many conductors we have had in the past. Last summer we performed Mahler’s demanding Symphony #5 with universally positive feedback from both the orchestra and the audience. His reputation in the Northwest has, in a very short time, put him at the helm of both adult and youth programs that have flourished under his leadership.”
Board President, Northwest Mahler Festival
“Indeed, Tigran is an extraordinarily multi-talented young musician, fluent in and passionate about modern music and ensemble work. He is kind, courteous, and sensitive to the needs of his students and associates, with whom he seeks to share his technical and theoretical knowledge, expertise, and experience.”
– Vatsche Barsoumian
Director of Lark Musical Society
“Tigran worked with us for 3 summers, excelling at every component of the program. He has an uncanny ability to grasp complex ideas and develop creative solutions for difficult problems. He charts his own course in his endeavors, which allows him to not only prove his talent and ability, but to stand out from the crowd. As you are aware, in the competitive nature of the arts, this unique gift of his is something to be both treasured and nurtured. He was able to expertly prepare himself for the job, and was able to coach the orchestra like a seasoned professional.”
– Victor Vener
Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, California Philharmonic
“I have had the opportunity to see and hear Tigran’s rehearsing and leading an orchestra in performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 1st Symphony, as well as in premiere of “Torch #1″ by young contemporary composer Arshak Andriasov. In both works Mr. Arakelyan demonstrated confidence, ability to easily communicate with orchestra both verbally and with the baton, and instrumental knowledge. It is also quite a joy to hear Tigran Arakelyan play the flute – he is an accomplished and imaginative instrumentalist”
– Victor Romasevich
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, 1st violinist
California Chamber Players, violinist, founding member
Tigran’s knowledge of music and good technique were matched by his organizational skills, charismatic manner on the podium and clear passion for the music. His combination of talent, skills, and interests has made him into a musician with curiosity, responsibility and a growing artistry.
– Paul Taub
Executive Director, Seattle Chamber Players
Professor of Music, Cornish College of the Arts