Aram Demirjian

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guest conductor

"Zeal and fresh perspective."

KC Metropolis

Aram Demirjian has conducted orchestras in settings ranging from Symphony Hall in Boston, to a bandshell in New Orleans, to a rock club in Knoxville. He is devoted to mining the intersection of tradition and innovation in classical music and sought after for his dynamic performances, insightful interpretations, and charismatic rapport with audiences. American-born and of Armenian descent, Demirjian is Music Director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and maintains an active guest conducting schedule, including an ongoing relationship with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Recently completing his first season as Music Director Designate with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO), Demirjian is already leaving his mark on the region's musical culture with creative programming, innovative collaborations and energetic community engagement, which has spurred substantial growth in concert attendance. He conducts 14 weeks on the upcoming KSO season, including partnerships with Appalachian Ballet, Knoxville Poet Laureate R.B. Morris and the genre-busting chamber group PROJECT Trio, plus repertoire ranging from Bach to Carmina burana to a world premiere KSO commission by American composer Michael Schachter.

Demirjian also enjoys numerous collaborations with The Philadelphia Orchestra, with which he conducted family and education programs in the 2016-17 season and served as a cover conductor for Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève. In 2017-18, Demirjian's calendar includes two additional programs in Philadelphia, debuts with the Detroit Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónico de Minería, and the New York-based Camerata Notturna, a re-engagement with the Omaha Symphony, and a return to his alma mater to conduct the New England Conservatory Symphony. Past highlights include appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Louis, Indianapolis and San Antonio symphonies, the Louisiana Philharmonic and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. His past performances of Handel's Messiah with the Kansas City Symphony were noted for their "zeal and fresh perspective" (KC Metropolis).

Demirjian is nationally recognized for his commitment to exploring new concert formats. As Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony (KCS), he was instrumental in creating Classics Uncorked, a weeknight series that enhances the concert hall experience with thematic programming, narration, visual effects, musical demonstrations and audience interaction. In 2017, the League of American Orchestras awarded the Knoxville Symphony a distinguished Futures Fund Grant, in part to launch KSO UnStaged, a collaborative, multisensory, music-based event series taking place in unconventional spaces, from craft breweries to airplane hangers.

Demirjian believes passionately the symphonic music should be available, accessible and affordable for all, and he has been deeply involved in the education and community outreach activities of the orchestras he has served. In April 2016, he partnered with the non-profit Arts in Prison to curate and host a Beethoven-themed performance, featuring musicians from the KCS, for inmates at the Lansing Correctional Facility. As an educator, he has created and conducted education and family concerts for orchestras across the country that have reached over 50,000 young people annually. Demirjian has served on the conducting faculty of New England Conservatory Preparatory School, and he also was conductor of the 2014 Massachusetts All State Orchestra. He is a noted public speaker, presenting talks for civic and community organizations in most of the cities in which he has performed.

A champion of new music, Demirjian recently conducted the Southeast premiere and second-ever performance of Matthew Aucoin's Evidence, a highlight of the 2017 Big Ears Festival. Demirjian was a guest conductor at the 2014 Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music and the 2013 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. He also has performed alongside Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble on a Silk Road commission and has collaborated with John Adams in a performance and colloquium on Adams' The Wound Dresser.

Demirjian is the recipient of a 2017 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award and holds the 2011 Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from the 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 the Lucerne Easter Festival and Kurt Masur at Manhattan School of Music. Demirjian holds a Bachelor of Arts in music and government from Harvard University and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from New England Conservatory.