Dr. Tigran Arakelyan, Music Director Joined: April 2014
Tigran Arakelyan is the Music Director of the Federal Way Youth Symphony Orchestra.He has expanded the group from one small youth orchestra to two orchestras and a new home at the PAEC. During his tenure Dr. Arakelyan and the FWYSO have traveled to Korea three times. Alongside his position with the FWYSO, he is the Music Director of Northwest Mahler Festival, the Port Townsend Symphony and Assistant Conductor of California Philharmonic. As the Music Director of Federal Way Youth Symphony and the Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestras, he has grown both organizations to the highest youth enrollment in history. Recently, he made his Walt Disney Concert Hall conducting debut and has played alongside Sir James Galway during his induction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Tigran is a prize winner in The American Prize—V. Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming and at the Global Music Awards. He has programmed diverse concerts with works by William Grant Still, Amy Beach, Alma Mahler, Fanny Mendelssohn, Vasily Kalinnikov and conducted regional premieres by renowned composers Paul Hindemith, Keith Jarrett and James Cohn, among others. Since 2009, Tigran has taken his orchestras to many unconventional venues from bars and cideries to cafes and homeless shelters.
An active podcaster since 2012, he is currently the host of Let’s Talk Off The Podium Music Podcast (120+ episodes) and has interviewed winners of Grammy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Fellow, Rome Prize & the Polar Music Prize. Past guests include: Evelyn Glennie, George Walker, Mark O'Connor, Christian McBride, David Harrington (Kronos Quartet), Richard Stoltzman, Ludovic Morlot, Sharon Isbin, Vijay Iyer, Christopher Theofanidis, Yolanda Kondonassis, Roger Bobo, Diane Schuur, Jaime Martín, Øystein Baadsvik, Martin Kuuskmann, Robert Aldridge, Eugene Izotov, and a long list of others. Arakelyan is also the host and producer of a new show on KPTZ (91.9FM) called Exploring Music, he shares an eclectic mix of music and interviews.
He has initiated and is a founder of the Port Townsend Chamber Orchestra, Cadence Chamber Orchestra (WA), Bainbridge Island String Orchestra Festival, PTSO Young Artist Competition, Whidbey Competition for Young Composers, the Youth Orchestra at the Lark Musical Society (CA) and numerous scholarship/grant and funding initiatives. Tigran led the Port Townsend Symphony to unprecedented financial and audience growth in the first two years of his tenure. He has been instrumental in initiating innovative collaborations with composers, soloists, visual artists, dancers, and choirs.
Previously, he held assistant/associate conductor positions with the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, Bellingham Symphony, Northridge Youth Philharmonic and the Rainier Symphony. Tigran's recent conducting engagements were with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Olympia Chamber Orchestra, Armenian Pops Orchestra, Sungji, Gujwa, Centum youth orchestras in South Korea, Juneau Symphony, Ballard Civic Orchestra, Bainbridge Symphony, Inverted Space Ensemble, Lark Orchestra (CA), Yakima Symphony Chamber Orchestra and innovative collaborations with the Olympic Performance Group and Olympic Youth Choir. Tigran has taken the Federal Way Youth Symphony on three tours of South Korea (2014, 2017, 2019), conducting in Seoul, Busan, Jeju, Daejeon, Gwangju, among other cities. Previously, he was the Music Director of Whidbey Island Orchestra (WA), University of Washington Campus Philharmonia, U.W. Summer Orchestra and the Bremerton Youth Symphony.
Tigran is a three time recipient of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Performing Arts Fellowship, Edward Hosharian Award, and the Armenian Allied Arts Competition (1st place). He participated in the Conductors Guild Workshop, Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, Idyllwild Music Festival and Dilijan Chamber Music Series, among others. Tigran conducted in masterclasses with notable conductors David Loebel, Frank Battisti, Donald Thulean, Ennio Nicotra, David Effron and Michael Jinbo. He has worked with numerous composers and has premiered works by Iosif Andriasov, Eleanor Aversa, Michael Austin Miller, Yiğit Kolat and many others.
Invited by Maestro Morlot, Tigran earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from the University of Washington where he was the first student in the inaugural class of Ludovic Morlot and David A. Rahbee. His mentors are Victor Vener, John Barcellona, Paul Taub, and Laura Osborn. In his youth he played in the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic Orchestra.