Well, I haven’t updated in over a year, so a few pieces of news:
1) I spent about five months in China teaching musical theater performance, devised theater, and instrumental ensemble playing throughout China. While there I collaborated with the amazing Viola NoOne to found Urban Nomad, Shanghai’s very first (to our knowledge!) improvisational a cappella ensemble. Our work together culminated in multiple public performances throughout the city. The humans I met there were wonderful and I am so excited to go back soon to see the work they have continued in my absence.
2) While I was in China, my friend and favorite violinist Ally Jenkins came through town with the Manhattan Four String Quartet, who were in need of an arrangement of the Chinese Folk Song “Mo Li Hua” for the second encore. I dashed off a version of it written in the American Nationalist style (a la Elmer Bernstein and Aaron Copland, except I’m not them and never will be…but I’m working that out with my therapist) and it premiered the following week at the Jasmine Theater in Fuzhou. The whole quartet was amazing, but I have to give a special shout-out to their translator Alice, who graciously put up with a whole bunch of American musicians (we bring much more drama than a Chinese student is used to) and then served as my tour guide in Chongqing. Chongqing is amazing. It should be on everybody’s bucket list. Tucked away in the mountains of China is a city of 9 million people who are expressive, artistic, outspoken, and wild.
3) I orchestrated a workshop of the musical Virtuoso, which is having a special concert this fall in Poland AND NYC for backers and producers. Fingers crossed. This is a really, really fun show that I can tell you absolutely nothing about.
4) The minute I returned from China I had about two and a half weeks’ time to orchestrate about 100 minutes of music for Starkid: Homecoming, the 10th anniversary celebration of A Very Potter Musical (and everything that followed it). AJ Holmes and I formed a base camp on the Upper West Side where neither of us slept or really went outside for about two weeks, and at the end of it I lived out every musician’s dream of having Vulfpeck’s Jack Stratton play my drum charts.
5) Having spent three summers (and the two years in between) nurturing and raising Nvak Foundation, in July of 2018 I parted ways with my co-founder and waved goodbye to one of the most wonderful projects I’ve ever been a part of. I am so proud of what we accomplished together and can’t wait to find an excuse to go back to Yerevan under other circumstances so I can see my amazing students (and, let’s be real, eat a ton of lahmajun).