Christian Composer and Coductor Loris Tjeknavorian – one of the most celebrated cultural figures in Iran

Loris Tjeknavorian (also spelled Cheknavarian, Armenian: Լորիս Ճգնավորյան; Persian: لوریس چکناواریان‎, born 13 October 1937) is an Iranian Armenian composer and conductor. He is one of the most celebrated cultural figures in Armenia and Iran.

As a composer Tjeknavorian has written 6 operas, 5 symphonies, choral works (among them God is love, The Life of Christ, the oratorio Book of Revelation, and a requiem), chamber music, ballet music, piano and vocal works, concerti for piano, violin, guitar, cello and pipa (Chinese lute), as well as music for documentary and feature films.

Born in Borujerd, Iran in 1937 to immigrant Armenian parents, …
Following this fruitful period of education, Tjeknavorian went back to Iran in 1961, where he taught music theory at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. At the same time, he was appointed director of Tehran’s Music Archives and put in charge of collecting and researching traditional and modern Iranian folk music and instruments.

In 1970, the Cultural Ministry of Iran offered Tjeknavorian the positions of composer-in-residence and principal conductor at the Rudaki Opera House in Tehran. While there he conducted a number of major operas, including his own Pardis and Parisa. Tjeknavorian’s extensive study of the technical aspects of traditional Iranian instruments culminated with the composition of the dance-drama Simorgh, the first polyphonic composition scored entirely for Iranian instruments and based on themes from Zoroastrian myth and Persian mystical poetry. Following sold-out performances of the ballet in Tehran, the suite from Simorgh was recorded and released as an LP in London by Unicorn in 1975 to great critical acclaim.

In Tehran Tjeknavorian’s talents found huge demand, and he soon became the leading composer of film music in Iran, scoring some 30 scores for documentaries and short and popular feature films,…
Tjeknavorian’s recent performances include benefit concerts in Tehran and Los Angeles for the organization MAHAK on behalf of children with cancer, a series of concerts with the Armenian Chamber Orchestra at the Talar Vahdat Hall in Tehran, a performance of his Ararat Suite with the Sacramento Symphony, and the world premiere of his King Cyrus symphonic suite with the San Francisco Philharmonic Orchestra in August 2013. In 2011 the Iranian BARBAD recording company issued a 20-CD box set of Tjerknavorian’s major works (symphonies, choral works, ballet, chamber music, operas, etc.) plus 2 DVDs of his opera Rostam & Sohrab.


he has received the First Class Artistic Degree (Honorary Doctorate) from the Iranian Islamic Ministry of Culture for his lifelong cultural contributions, and the Austrian Presidential Gold Medal for his artistic achievements.

  • L. Tjeknavorian Awarded Top Art Medal (Jun, 20, 2002)
  • In a ceremony held in Vahdat Hall, Minister of culture A. Masjedjamei awarded Loris Ttjeknavorian Iran’s highest medal for performing arts.
  • Recipient of two “Golden Harp Awards” for the Highest Artistic Achievement in the 15th and 16th “FAJR” Music Festival in Teheran.
  • Honorary Professor, Komitas Conservatory, Yerevan
  • For services to Church music first recipient of the Cultural Order of “St. Mesrop Mashtotz” conferred by His Holines Vazken I. Supreme Chatholicos of all Armenians.
  • Received the Government Order for services to the Earthquake from Mr. Oskanian the Prime Minister of Armenia USSR .
  • The Government of the Republic of Armenia awards “Khorenatsi” Medal for cultural services to Armenia.
  • Awarded Golden Cross of the Rumanian Church.
  • BBC Music Magazine Top 1000 CDs Guide
  • Receives Gold Medal from University of Armenia.
  • Macedonian Silver Orb conferred by Bishop Bartolomeus I of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
  • EMG Art of Record Buying Recommendation
  • EMG Golden Art of Record Buying Recommendation
  • Gramophone Classical Good CD Guide
  • Gramophone Critics’ Choice
  • Gramophone Editor’s Choice
  • Gramophone Recommended Recording
  • Hi-Fi World Record of the Month
  • High Fidelity Critics’ Choice
  • Penguin Guide to Compact Discs *** Outstanding performance and recording
  • Records & Recording Pick of the Month, Pick of the Year
  • Receives Homayoon Order and Medal for the composition of “Son et Lumiere Persepolis 2500”
  • Recipient of the “Golden Conducting Baton” from the Armenian Philharmonic Choir for Artistic Achievement.
  • Golden Cultural Medal from the Armenian Ministry of Culture

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3 Responses to Christian Composer and Coductor Loris Tjeknavorian – one of the most celebrated cultural figures in Iran

  1. Pingback: She was born in Vienna, but she’s Iran’s first female conductor | Remarkable people with Iranian roots

  2. Pingback: Iran hosts retrospective on Christian Iranian composer Loris Tjeknavorian’s music arts | The other Iran

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