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Raffi Armenian

In 1962, twenty year old Raffi Armenian graduated from the piano performances class of Bruno Seidlhofer at the Academy of Music, Vienna, Austria. In 1965, he graduated from Imperial College, University of London, England in Metallurgy. Going back to music and Vienna, he completed studies at the Vienna Academy of Music in Orchestral Conducting (Hans Swarowsky 1968), Choral Conducting (Rheinhold Schmid 1969) and Composition (Alfred Uhl 1969). Further he took private voice lessons with Ferdinand Grossmann. 

In 1969 he emigrated to Canada, where he became Artistic Director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (1971-1993). The Raffi Armenian Theatre in Kitchener, which he helped to design, is considered one of the best performance spaces in North America, both for its acoustics and its design features. In 1974, as Music director of the Stratford Festival, he founded the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, which achieved international recognition with tours in North and South America, and Europe. 

Raffi Armenian has guest conducted all of the major orchestras in Canada, as well as in Belgium, Italy, the USA, and the Jeunesses Musicales World Youth Orchestra. Equally at home on the operatic podium, he has performances in Toronto, Montreal, Detroit, Columbus (Ohio) and Indiana, in a vast repertoire, including several works of the Twentieth Century such as Berg's Wozzeck for the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto, and Stravinsky's Rake¹s Progress. From 1982 to 1985 he was Artistic Director of the Opera Studio of Opera de Montreal. In 1989, he conducted the final public appearance of the great Canadian tenor Jon Vickers, in a concert performance of Wagner¹s Parsifal. 

Mr. Armenian¹s work has received countless honors including the Canadian Grand Prix du Disque for Serenades, one of twenty-eight CD¹s he has recorded, and an Emmy Award Nomination (New York) for the TV Performance of Menotti¹s Medium starring Maureen Forrester. Woody Allen used his CD Music from Berlin in the 1920s as background music for his film Shadows and Fog. In 1985 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada), in 1989 he was honored with Membership to the Order of Canada, and in 1991 he received an Honorary Doctorate from Wilfred Laurier University. 

Mr. Armenian has long been active as a pedagogue. In 1982 he became a Professor of the Orchestral Conducting Class at the Conservatoire de Musique (Montreal), a position he continues to hold. In 1997 he accepted a two-year post as Visiting Guest Professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, in Graz Austria, and since September 1999 Maestro Armenian has been Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Toronto.