Araïk Bartikian was born in 1962 in Gavar, Armenia. His grandfather, Ousta Haïrik, was a master from the Sevan area, an accomplished player on the duduk, the sering and the clarinet. His father, Serioja, held the drone when his grandfather played. At the age sixteen his grandfather took him to see the grand master Djivan Gasparian, who lived in the same district as them. “You played well”, he said, “but you will have to learn the basics all over again.” In the beginning, in order to make the young man’s lips suppler, he held the instrument whilst Araïk blew into it.
This set the pattern for a long apprenticeship that was to continue over the years, since Araïk remained with this one teacher. In 1982, he won a place in the Komitas Conservatory in Erevan whose principal was Ghazaros Sarian, with Katachadour Avédissian haed of the department for traditional instruments. Araïk Bartikian received a complete classical training there in 1987, won his grand prix with his performance of a piece by Komitas for harp and duduk. This was the time when the Soviet Union was breaking up, as were all the state ensembles which had produced whole generations of traditional musicians.
For the Kiev Festival in 1991, Avet Terterian chose him to play his Symphony N°3 for orchestra, duduk and zurna, first performed with Djivan Gasparian in 1975. Since then, Araïk has performed the work several times at concerts or for recordings, and has also worked with other contemporary composers. He has played under the baton of Mourad Annamamedov John Carewe, Hans Leenders, Diego Masson, Pierre Dominique Ponnelle, Pascal Rophé, Alexander Slatowski, Volodimir Sirenko, and many others. During the last ten years, Ara Bartikian performed a several times with different ensemble as, Musicatreize, The Gorgian Polyphonic Banquet (Ensemble Anchiskhati and G. Mouradian), Trio Chemirani….
High resolution photos available here.