Skip to main content

Vagram Saradjian (1948-2019)

Professor of Cello

Vagram Saradjian (1948-2019) (Cello) gave his first public recital at age 9 and won his first prize at the Russian National Competition at age 18, which put him in the country's national spotlight. International recognition of his prodigious talent came when he won awards at several major contests, including the Tchaikovsky International Competition in 1970 and the Geneva International Cello Competition in 1975. By the time he was twenty, Mr. Saradjian was being compared with such masters as Mstislav Rostropovich, his teacher of eight years at the Moscow Conservatory. As a recitalist, Mr. Saradjian performed around the world in such concert halls as the Barbican Centre in London, the Gaveau in Paris, La Scala in Milan, Victoria Hall in Geneva, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and Leningrad Philharmonic Hall.

In 2002, Mr. Saradjian founded the Schlern International Music Festival in the town of Voels am Schlern in South Tyrol, Italy. In 2015, the festival was renamed to Semper International Music Festival, of which Mr. Saradjian is the general director. The festival takes place each summer and welcomes distinguished guest artists and faculty each summer. His orchestral debut coincided with the conducting debut of his mentor, Mstislav Rostropovich, when in 1969, under the Maestro's baton, young Saradjian triumphantly performed Dvorak's Cello Concerto with the Kiev Philharmonic. He toured internationally with leading orchestras and played with distinguished conductors, including Gergiev, Khachaturian, Kondrashin, Svetlanov, Rostropovich, Shostakovich, and Temirkanov.

Contemporary music was for many years an important part of Mr. Saradjian's repertoire. He premiered major works by internationally acclaimed composers, such as Alexander Tchaikovsky, Gia Kancheli, Karen Khachaturian, Arno Babadjanian, and Myroslav Skoryk. Mr. Saradjian's extensive discography may be found on the Melodya and Art & Electronics labels and includes the Schumann and Honegger Cello Concertos with the Moscow Philharmonic (Valery Gergiev, Conductor), the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto no. 1 and Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations with the Moscow RTV Orchestra (Vladimir Fedoseev, Conductor), the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Moscow Philharmonic (Fuat Mansurov, Conductor). Among his recent releases is the world premiere recording of Ilya Zelenka's Cello Concerto with the Moscow Philharmonic (Yuri Bashmet, Conductor).