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Armenian World

Master of Studies in Music (Composition)

Master

Kristina Arakelyan

I was born in 1994 in Budapest, Hungary. Between the years 1999 and 2006 I lived in Armenia and studied piano from the age of 7 and composition from the age of 8 in the Spendiaryan Music School.

These years in Armenia were central to my identity as an Armenian musician because I had the privilege to learn to read and write in my mother tongue as well as in Russian. During my studies in Armenia I became a prizewinner in numerous national and international piano competitions (most notably 3rd prize in the “Konzerteum” piano competition in Greece and 2nd prize in “Le Muse” piano competition in Italy). I was awarded special prize for composition in the North London Music School in England at the age of 11 and this is where my journey to England began as I was recommended by a member of the jury to study in the renowned specialist Purcell School of Music.

I studied at the school between the years 2006 and 2012, generously supported by the UK government Music and Dance Scheme, both as a composer and as a pianist. During my time at the Purcell School I won several prestigious prizes most notably the first prize in my age category and the Overall Cup winner of the EPTA Composition Competition (2009) and the first prize in the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition. As a result of these prizes I was overwhelmed with joy to be listening to my own music on BBC Radio 3 on two occasions (performed by the famous BBC Singers). As a 15-year-old I experienced the most surreal event of receiving a commission from Music for Youth to write a choral piece which was performed in the Royal Albert Hall in front of 5000 people!

In my final two years at school I won the Purcell School Wigmore Hall Recital Piano prize (2011) as well as the David Cox composition prize (2012). I graduated with two consecutive years of receiving the Purcell School “First Prize in Academic Music”, and having already obtained a membership in the PRS foundation as a licensed composer.

It was a natural step after the Purcell School to continue my studies in the Royal Academy of Music as a composer, generously supported by a full scholarship by Raffy Manoukian. In my time there I won the first prize in the “Shakespeare 400 Orchestra of the Swan competition” (2015) and as a result was honoured to hear my setting of Shakespeare's Sonnet no. 115 in Shakespeare's home-town Stratford-upon-Avon. Recently I won first prize in the older age-category in the National Centre of Early Music's Composers' award (May 2016). My song Penelope is due to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and be performed in September at the Southbank Centre in London.

During my years at the Royal Academy of Music I also received a very exciting commission by acclaimed pianist Grace Francis to write a piano piece on the theme “sacred” which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on the 8th March 2015. My piece was heard by another radio station in Florida called St. Augustine Flagler's College radio station and was broadcast there in August 2015.

Prominent concert halls where my music has been heard include the Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, The Southbank Centre, Vatroslav Lisinsky Hall (Croatia) and Real Conservatorio Superior de Música Madrid (Spain).

I am due to graduate from the Royal Academy of Music on 12th July 2016, and I balance my time between writing music, preparing for projects as a pianist and teaching (piano, composition and music theory). I have always loved writing both for both singers and symphony orchestra therefore it is my biggest dream to write operas.


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