Djivan Gasparyan

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Djivan Gasparyan
Gasparyan in 2009
Gasparyan in 2009
Background information
Born(1928-10-12)October 12, 1928
Solak, Armenian SSR, Transcaucasian SFSR, Soviet Union
DiedJuly 6, 2021(2021-07-06) (aged 92)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresArmenian folk
Occupation(s)Composer, score composer, musician
Years active1948–2021
LabelsAll Saints Records, SLG Records

Djivan Gasparyan (var. Jivan Gasparyan;[1] Armenian: Ջիվան Գասպարյան, Armenian pronunciation: [dʒiˈvɑn ɡɑspɑɾˈjɑn]; October 12, 1928 – July 6, 2021)[1][2][3] was an Armenian musician and composer. He played the duduk, a double reed woodwind instrument related to the orchestral oboe. Gasparyan is known as the "Master of the duduk".[4][5][6] In 2006 he was nominated for Grammy awards for the Best Traditional World Music Album.[7]


Born in Solak, Armenia, to parents from Mush, Gasparyan started to play duduk when he was six. In 1948, he became a soloist of the Armenian Song and Dance Popular Ensemble and the Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra.[8]

He won four medals at UNESCO worldwide competitions (1959, 1962, 1973, and 1980). In 1973 Gasparyan was awarded the honorary title People's Artist of Armenia.[9] In 2002, he received the WOMEX (World Music Expo) Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Honorary citizen of Yerevan.

A professor at the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory,[8] he instructed and nurtured many performers to professional levels of performance in duduk.

In 1998 he released an album with a unique duduk quartet he formed. Creating arrangements for four musicians with "new duduk tones, alto and bass, was an extremely difficult task" and challenge, but the quartet did become a reality performing and "there is no other like it in the world", he witnessed in the liner notes of Nazeli.

He toured the world several times with a small ensemble playing Armenian folk music. His music has been chosen on the soundtrack of several international films.

He collaborated with many artists, such as Sting, Peter Gabriel, Hossein Alizadeh, Erkan Oğur, Michael Brook, Brian May, Lionel Richie, Derek Sherinian, Roman Miroshnichenko, Ludovico Einaudi, Luigi Cinque, Boris Grebenshchikov, Brian Eno, David Sylvian, Hans Zimmer and Andreas Vollenweider.

He also recorded with the Kronos Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.[10]

Gasparyan played as part of the Armenian entry "Apricot Stone" by Eva Rivas at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo and became the oldest ever person to feature in a Eurovision Song Contest performance,[11] but was not officially listed as a guest artist.

Gasparyan died on July 6, 2021. It was announced by his grandson, Djivan Gasparyan Jr. He said "The world has suffered an unimaginable loss tonight. He was not only a legend, but also a person with a beautiful soul. I write with great sorrow about my huge loss. May God keep your soul in the bright sky."

Legacy and recognition[edit]

Peter Gabriel called Gasparyan "the great master of the instrument." He added, "When he lifted his duduk to his lips he cast a spell over all who listened."[12]

Gasparyan was highly recognized by the Armenian government. On his 90th birthday, Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan congratulated Gasparyan, stating: "Our people and music lovers around the world have already ranked you among the world’s great musicians. As a living legend, you are a credit to all Armenians."[13] Upon his death, President Armen Sarkissian described him as a "legendary duduk player" who was "one of the pillars of our modern culture, whose name is associated with the creative and working activities of musicians, especially a whole generation of duduk players."[14] Pashinyan called him "an exceptional Armenian intellectual and ranked him among the Greats of the world art; we were proud and inspired by him."[15]

Catholicos Karekin II, leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, sent a letter of condolences to his family. "For decades, he performed the gems of the Armenian music on many stages in Armenia and abroad, serving the grateful mission of recognizing and spreading our culture," read the statement.[16]


  • Duduk. Armenian folk songs (Мелодия / Melody, 1983) / I Will Not Be Sad in This World (All Saints Records, 1989)
  • Moon Shines at Night (All Saints Records, 1993)
  • Ask Me No Questions (Traditional Crossroads 4268, 1994)
  • Apricots From Eden (Traditional Crossroads 4276, 1996)
  • Salute (1998)
  • Black Rock, with Michael Brook (Realworld 46230, 1998)
  • Djivan Gasparyan Quartet - Nazeli (Libra Music 1998)
  • Heavenly Duduk (Network 1999)
  • Armenian Fantasies (Network 34801, 2000)
  • Nazani (2001)
  • Fuad, with Erkan Oğur (Traditional Turkish & Armenian songs) (2001)
  • In My World, I Have No Pain (World Records - Parseghian Records, 2002)
  • Endless Vision: Persian And Armenian Songs, with Hossein Alizadeh (World Village, Harmonia Mundi, 2005)
  • Nectar for the Bitter World (2007)
  • The Soul of Armenia (Network Medien's double-CD package 2008)
  • Penumbra, with Michael Brook (Canadian Rational/bigHelium, 2008)

Collaborations as guest artist

Selection of film soundtrack contributions


  1. ^ a b "Biography". Jivan Gasparyan Official Website. Archived from the original on 2013-05-04. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  2. ^ allmusic gives birth year as 1928.
  3. ^ Legendary Armenian duduk player Jivan Gasparayn dies aged 92
  4. ^ On the Track: A Guide to Contemporary Film Scoring - Page 87 by Fred Karlin, Rayburn Wright
  5. ^ World Music: The Rough Guide - Page 334 by Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, Richard Trillo
  6. ^ "Djivan Gasparyan at MSN music". Archived from the original on 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  7. ^ Jivan Gasparyan, Grammy, 2020
  8. ^ a b "An Evening with Djivan Gasparyan and Michael Brook |". Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  9. ^ Biography at AllMusic
  10. ^ Nercessian, Andy (2001-08-28). The Duduk and National Identity in Armenia. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-1-4616-7272-2.
  11. ^ "Armenian apricot stone becomes a tree". 18 May 2010.
  12. ^ "Djivan Gasparyan". 6 July 2021. Archived from the original on 27 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Nikol Pashinyan congratulates Jivan Gasparyan on 90th birthday anniversary". The Office to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia. 12 October 2018. Archived from the original on 27 July 2021.
  14. ^ "The great duduk master was one of the pillars of our modern culture. President Sarkissian expressed condolences on the death of Jivan Gasparyan, the legendary duduk player". The Office to the President of the Republic of Armenia. 6 July 2021. Archived from the original on 20 July 2021.
  15. ^ "Nikol Pashinyan offers condolences on the passing of Jivan Gasparyan". The Office to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia. 6 July 2021. Archived from the original on 24 July 2021.
  16. ^ "Everlasting Prayer and Blessings to the Memory of Jivan Gasparyan". Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. 6 July 2021. Archived from the original on 27 July 2021.

External links[edit]