Heghine Rapyan


Gor Ghazarian

She was born in Armenia, lives in Salzburg, and performs concerts all over the world: pianist Heghine Rapyan. Still closely tied to her home-land, she is a dedicated champion of Armenian music, as her new album containing four piano sonatas by Stéphan Elmas shows.

“My music is dedicated to Armenia and the Armenian nation,“ such was the musical credo of Armenian composer Stéphan Elmas (1862-1937). He grew from a wunderkind to one of the most important composers of his country. Franz Liszt, in front of whom Elmas once performed, was not completely innocent in this trajectory. Liszt urged Elmas to go to Austria. Elmas stayed in touch and often asked for advice from his significantly more famous contemporary.

At age 50, he settled in Geneva, where he continued composing, teaching, and performing. The Armenian Genocide in 1915 pushed Elmas into a deep depression. He was able to bring his family to the safety of Geneva. In his older age, Elmas began to lose his hearing, and increasingly withdrew from the world. Hence, he remained indebted to the sounds and traditions of the Romantic period. After all, he was often coined the Armenian Chopin. His compositions are more similar to the style of long bygone epochs than to the complicated stylistic breaks characteristic of the early 20th century. Elmas left behind a huge musical legacy: waltzes, mazurkas, nocturnes, and six etudes dedicated to Liszt are among his important pieces, as well as the four piano sonatas which Heghine Rapyan chose to record. Many of Elmas‘ pieces are dedicated to illustrious personalities such as Victor Hugo , but also pianist Anton Rubinstein. Despite his heavy fortune, Elmas created impactful compositions. In 1897, he fell sick with typhus, which ultimately resulted in his hearing loss.

Elmas passed away in Geneva on August 11th, 1937, where he is buried at the Cimetière des Rois, the cemetery for prominent citizens of Geneva.

Heghine Rapyan was born in Armenia. From her earliest childhood on, she was so fascinated by the sound of the piano that she took up piano lessons at age three. At first, she was tought at the local music school by Arpine Zagaryan, before beginning her studies with Armen Babakhanian in Yerevan, at the Tchaikovsky Musical School for outstanding talents. At age 15, she was accepted into the piano studies program at Yerevan State Conservatory. After her graduation in 2007, she continued her studies in concert piano at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. There, she studied with, among others, Peter Lang and Rolf Plagge. She was also instructed by many famous artists of our time, such as Alexander Banduryansky, Jerome Rose, Jura Margulis, Robert Levin, and Arnulf von Arnim. A meeting with world-renown pianist Ingrid Haebler was a significant event in her musical career. Her regular participation in Haebler’s master classes had a strong influence on her style, her way of thinking, and her pianistic approach. In 2017, she completed her IGP studies at the University Mozarteaum cum laude and received the academic degree of Master of Arts. Heghine Rapyan has won numerous awards at inter-national piano competitions in Greece, Italy, Moldavia, and Armenia. She always presents her audience with an awe-inspiring program consisting of pieces from her diverse repertoire. She is a brilliant soloist, as seen in her collaboration with the Armenian soloist, Philharmonic Orchestra, Japanese conductor Hisayoshi Inoue, and the Armenian National Chamber Music Orchestra. In addition to her concert performances, she also began teaching at the Musikum Salzburg.

“She led her audience through the various facets of temperament inherent in the music, and thus showed off her exceptional talent and artistry. Strong applause and an encore with J.S. Bach. The many listeners later left the concert in an inspired state.“

Glas & Klassik, 2018