Garbis Aprikian

Garbis Aprikian (born 1926) is a musician from the Armenian Diaspora. He composed many vocal and instrumental works in which Western musical technique (counterpoint, fugue...) marries Armenian melodies. As a performer, Garbis Aprikian has directed for about fifty years the Armenian mixed chorus of Paris Sipan-Komitas. His contribution in the European knowledge of the works of Komitas, Ganatchian or Alemshah is crucial.


Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1926, Garbis Aprikian took part in the cultural and artistic life of this cosmopolitan city when he was very young. He studied at primary school "Armenian National Boghossian," then the American College. From the age of ten he began a serious musical learning with a student of Pietro Mascagni, the maestro Frapicini who took care of his artistic education: piano, then harmony, counterpoint and fugue.

In 1948, Garbis Aprikian founded the mixed chorus Hamazkaine with which he gave, in Alexandria and in Cairo, a series of concerts. The success encouraged members of the association Houssaper to assign him a scholarship to complete his training in Europe. Garbis Aprikian arrived in Paris where he studied composition and conducting of orchestra at the Ecole Normale of Music with Simone Plé-Caussade, Tony Aubin and Jean Fournet and took a course of musical aesthetics by Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatoire national. The Armenian mixed chorus then sought him to replace Kourkène Alemshah, conductor and composer of talent gone to middle age.

Since then, his life and work are inseparable from activities of the choir he directs. For the chorus, Garbis Aprikian composes and harmonizes popular melodies and old patriotic songs, more than two hundred religious, profane or folk works.

For the first time in 1991, he was invited by the Armenian authorities to go to Yerevan, where he performed in a concert his own works and those of the composers of the Armenian Diaspora.

The works of Garbis Aprikian

List of works of Garbis Aprikian


  • Kovk—praises and wishes—for chorus
  • Hymn—blessings—for chorus
  • Scherzo—rejoicing—for chorus
  • Little Nuptial Suite—in 4 movements for mezzo, harp and cello
  • Oror—Lullaby for mezzo, harp and cello (and a chorus version)
  • Sweet is the night—melody with piano
  • Ledjag—melody with piano
  • Lamento—complaint of an orphan
  • Nocturne—Fugue
  • Es Kechir—dance for solo, chorus and orchestra
  • Ninam—Niman—dance for solo, chorus and orchestra
  • Dark Sky—for chorus and orchestra
  • Nocturne—on a theme by Komitas for solo, chorus and orchestra
  • Tchellar—Tchellar—Divertimento for soli, chorus and orchestra
  • Orchestral Prelude—on a poem of Gh. Aghayan for orchestra
  • The birth of David of Sassoon—profane oratorio

Works of Ganatchian entirely revised enhanced and orchestrated

  • Nanor—Description of a pilgrimage – for soli, chorus and orchestra
  • Aphegha'n—Holy Legend—Lyric drama in one act—Harmonization—Orchestration and arrangements
  • Hay Yeghpaïne—for chorus and orchestra
  • Togh Gorentchin—for chorus and orchestra
  • Iprev Ardziv—for chorus and orchestra
  • Lamentation of Vaspourakan—for chorus and orchestra
  • Karahissar—for solo, chorus and orchestra

From Komitas

  • "Braves of Sipan'—for chorus and orchestra
  • Gali Yerk—for soli, chorus and orchestra

From Patmagrian

  • Haralé—for soli, chorus and orchestra
  • Yar Gula—for chorus and orchestra
  • Yalali—for chorus and orchestra
  • Six Armenian songs for piano to young pianists

From Ganatchian

  • The willow—melody with orchestra
  • The dream of Alvarte—melody with orchestra
  • Choucho—for chorus with orchestra
  • With the Roses—for chorus and orchestra


  • 1989 Medal of Saint Nerces Chenorali by Vasken I, Catholicos of all Armenians
  • 1993 Medal of Saint Mesrop Machtots by Garéguine II Nersissian of the Great House Of Cilicie
  • 1994 Medal of Sahak-Mesrop by Vasken I
  • 1994"Vermeil" Medal of the City of Paris awarded by Jacques Chirac
  • 2004 Knight of Arts and Letters
  • 2007 Medal of the City of Marseille


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