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Ajemian, Anahid (26th January 1924-Present)

Violinist who was already winning awards while attending Juilliard Graduate School of Music, including the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation Award and Mademoiselle’s Distinguished Achievement Medal.

She made the first of her many radio appearances on the Bell Telephone Hour and has appeared on countless broadcasts since. In tandem with her sister Maro, a pianist, she specialized in performing new works by American composers like John Cage, Henry Cowell, and Alan Hovhaness. For their efforts, they won the American Composers Alliance’s Laurel Leaf Award. They went on to co-found the Friends of Armenian Music Committee and Anahid, along with Matthew Raimondi , co-founded the Composers String Quartet, which has toured Africa, Australia, Bulgaria, China, India, the Middle East, Romania, the former Soviet Union, and Western Europe.  She also passed her knowledge along to a new generation of violinists at Columbia University.

You can hear her violin stylings on a variety of recordings, including Music of Morton Feldman and The 25-Year Retrospective Concert of the Music of John Cage. She also worked on the soundtracks of Alan & Naomi, Everyone Says I Love You, Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew, and Naqoyqatsi.

Anahid, fittingly, went on to become a judge for the Naumburg Foundation Awards, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation International Music Competition.

She passed away on 13th June 2016 and left behind her husband George Avakian, a founder of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and their three children.

Frank Sinatra recordings
That’s What God Looks Like To Me
(Stan Irvin/Lan O’Kun) Reprise RPS 49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)
Theme from “New York, New York” (Fred Ebb/John Kander) Reprise RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)

Sources:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anahid_Ajemian
  2. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Anahid+Ajemian
  3. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0014986/
  4. http://www.music.columbia.edu/mpp/biographies.html