The acknowledged master of the Armenian reed instrument known as the duduk, Djivan Gasparayan.
The acknowledged master of the Armenian reed instrument known as the duduk, Djivan Gasparayan was born just outside of the nation's capital city of Yerevan, first picking up the instrument at age six. After joining the Tatool Altounian National Song and Dance Ensemble in 1948, his first professional engagement was as a soloist with the Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra; Gasparayan later went on tour extensively throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States, and in 1973 was the first musician given the honorary title of People's Artist of Armenia by the nation's government. Gasparayan's commercial breakthrough followed in 1989 when he was featured on Peter Gabriel's soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ; he subsequently contributed to the soundtracks of The Russia House, and the cable TV production Storm and Sorrow, additionally performing with the Kronos Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. His debut solo album, I Will Not Be Sad in This World, appeared on the Opal label in 1989; recordings including Ask Me No Questions, Apricots From Eden, and Moon Shines at Night. In 1998, Gasparayan teamed with virtuoso guitarist Michael Brook for Black Rock; Armenian Fantasies followed two years later.