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Interview with conductor Hovhannes Chekijyan.

-Mr. Chekijyan, you were born and brought up in Turkey, far from your fatherland, you have lived in a foreign country for many years but you are so close to the sources of Armenian music as though you have listened to your national music and have been brought up with aesthetics of national art since the day you were born.

-Indeed I was brought up among the Armenians and I have listened to the national song since the day I was born. The Armenian society of Constantinople had an emphasized national description; it was very united and faithful to its Armenian roots and it preserved its national culture. Since childhood I sang the songs I had heard from my father and his friends. Some of them had been the students of Komitas and they sang as Komitas had taught them. The brightest memory of my childhood is connected with Komitas. Komitas has stayed in our house for 15 days and my father didn’t miss the opportunity to tell about those blissful 15 days. He told us that Komitas was a very strong, healthy and hardened man. In winter he slept the window open, my father also told us that there were frozen snowflakes on his blanket in the morning. My father remembered with great pride that on the last day of hospitality they were fortunate enough to listen to the song of Komitas.

-When you came to Armenia you were already a famous conductor, you could live and work in any country. Today many artists leave the country arguing that it’s necessary to work in greater countries to gain national recognition. But the fact that you lived and worked in Armenia didn’t become an obstacle for you to be recognizes all over the world.

-I had great achievements, I was recognized. However, something was missing. I was invited to work in Moscow, but I asked and persisted to work in Armenia. In my fatherland I understood what was missing in a foreign country.

-What value did you find in your fatherland?

-I found my home. A man can live in any country, have a place to live, but a man’s home is in his fatherland, on his land. It’s difficult to put into words. The feeling of being at home completely changes your life, it gives a meaning to your daily life, you feel self – confident and you gain your foothold. I don’t want to blame anybody, but I think that every person must use his talent, his abilities in his own country; for his own country or else everything will be meaningless, useless and futile.

-What’s your formula of loving the fatherland?

-Patriotism means doing work and I know no other way of loving your fatherland. Patriotism is a responsibility for the fate of the fatherland. I often think that the soldiers are standing on the borders of fatherland every moment, one replaces the other but they are always in the rank, they cannot be off their guard, they can’t display unconscientiousness even for a moment and leave the border defenseless. We also must be vigilant every moment, be in the rank and do something for our fatherland for the soldier keeping our border and for each other to the extent of our abilities.

-Which is your main message to your people, your compatriots?

-We must always appraise our values, we must keep it undistorted, we must get rid of foreign influences, and we must preserve our cultural values. The entire world is delighted with Komitas. Komitas is our glory, our honour. We have a powerful culture and we must keep it undistorted, we must get rid of foreign influences, we must preserve our cultural values, our cultural boundaries selflessly like a soldier. We have a powerful potential, but you can’t rely only on national talent and think that we can always overcome ill fate. We must not waste what we have; we must use our potential efficiently and in a right way. We must be united, we must not be afraid of doing courageous undertakings; we must speak with the world as equals. We must keep the feeling of “WE” strong. We are strong together.

-A new section has been formed in the Armenian society-the army. Has its presence changed anything in our reality?

-I don’t come into contact with the army much, but I have a great regard towards that section. The Soldier is the Armenian who has won in Artsakh, who has liberated our lands, who has raised the army and keeps our borders invincible. I can’t but respect and appreciate him; I can’t but be inspired with his victories.


Category: #10 (926) 15.03.2012 – 21.03.2012, Spiritual-Cultural, News, Spotlight