Aram Demirjian, Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, received the 2019 Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., the foremost organization in the United States dedicated to assisting outstanding young conductors to further develop their talent and careers. Demirjian was one of just ten recipients.
The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards.
The Solti Foundation released its 2019 Career Assistance Awards on April 19, 2019, raising the number of Career Assistance Awards the organization has granted since turning its focus to exclusively assisting young American conductors in 2004 to 78. The young conductors work throughout the United States, and abroad, and hold posts in California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and abroad in Brazil and Canada. Read about them here.
“The energy Demirjian brings to Knoxville is evident,” said Russ Watkins, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Board President. “Earlier this year, during Aram’s third season with the KSO, the KSO Board of Directors announced the extension of his contract as music director for an additional three years, extending it through the 2021-2022 season. The past two seasons have been filled to the brim with exciting musical programming and performances, and thoughtful engagement in the community. Demirjian has a presence on and off stage that welcomes audience members, friends, and patrons alike to engage with him and the Orchestra. We are proud that his talent and that his successes are being recognized outside Knoxville and by the greater musical community.”
Under Demirjian’s galvanizing leadership, KSO audiences have continued to grow, and the orchestra has routinely found itself in the regional and national spotlight. Demirjian is deeply involved in a substantial breadth of education and community outreach initiatives with the goal of ensuring that East Tennesseans of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances have access to great symphonic music. Highlights of his three-year tenure include a landmark collaboration with Clarence Brown Theatre, presenting Bernstein’s Candide as part of the Bernstein Centenary celebration, the founding of KSO UnStaged, a new series of multi-sensory, music-centric events taking place in
unconventional venues, plus two appearances on the Big Ears Festival. In 2020, the KSO will be one of four North American orchestras to be featured in SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.
Demirjian is the recipient of 2019 and 2017 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, and the 2011 Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, where he was a three-time Conducting Fellow in the Aspen Conducting Academy. In 2018, he served as a Solti Fellow with the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Massenet’s Cendrillon under Sir Andrew Davis. Demirjian holds a joint Bachelor of Arts in Music and Government from Harvard University and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from New England Conservatory.
On renewing his contract through 2022 with the KSO, Demirjian said:
Aram Demirjian said, “I am honored, humbled, and excited to continue the journey we are on at the Knoxville Symphony. My utmost gratitude is with the Knoxville Symphony Society for extending my tenure as Music Director, my incredible musician colleagues for their collaboration and passion, and our administration for their devotion behind the scenes to music. I am eager to work with our whole team to build on the progress of the last two seasons and to advance the KSO to new heights for Knoxville’s audiences, students and community at large. As a beloved teacher of mine would often delight in saying: Onward!”