Soghomon Soghomonyan, was born in 1869 in Anatolia, Turkey, in the town of Koutina (Ketaia). He lost his mother when he was less than one year old, and then at the age of ten he lost his father.“He was a frail, weak, pale boy, always thoughtful and kind. He was dressed poorly,” one of his classmates recalled about Komitas.
Twelve-year old Soghomon was selected out of the other 20 orphans to study at the Seminary. As it was forbidden to speak Armenian at that time the boy spoke Turkish and when being greeted by the Catholicos Gevorg IV, he replied, “I don’t speak Armenian, if you wish I will sing”. Then with his fine soprano voice he sang an Armenian sharakan (a church hymn) without understanding the words. Soghomon overcame all the obstacles in a very short time and perfectly learned Armenian.
He travelled all over the country, villages to search for various folk songs and dances. So he collected some 3,000 songs.The majority of his manuscripts were destroyed or lost all over the world…
He moved to Paris, where he died in 1935. The following year, his body was moved to Yerevan. The manuscripts of Komitas were also transferred from Paris to Yerevan in the 1950s. Today the Yerevan Music Conservatory is named after Komitas.
“The Armenian people found and recognized its soul, its spiritual nature” in Komitas’ songs. Komitas Vardapet is a beginning having no end. He will live through the Armenian people, and they must live through him, now and forever”. (Vazgen I, the Catholicos of all Armenians)
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