Jivan Gasparyan, one of the Armenia's greatest musicians, is the foremost master of duduk.
He is recognized as the most accomplished and influential musician in the history of duduk.
But more than a musician, Jivan Gasparyan is an icon, a living embodiment of the history of Armenian traditional and folk music. He has become a true cultural hero of his culture. Despite his talent and commitment to world music, Jivan Gasparyan has changed the parameters of the duduk placing it with new musical connections, thus sounding out all its possibilities and making it a universal instrument.
Jivan Gasparyan was six years old, when he started to play the instrument intuitively, without knowing any notes. His first instrument was the gift from the well-known musician Margar Margaryan.
Jivan was attracted by the sounds of duduk performed by the maestros of that time accompanying the silent movies with sad or cheerful music depending on the scenes. Duduk was looked upon as a poor people's musical instrument, primarily played by shepherds, at weddings and funerals. Many years later, Jivan's duduk began to appear in many soundtracks such as "Dead Man Walking'',“''Storm and Sorrow'',“''Onegin'',” "Calendar'',” ''The Crow'', Jerry Goldsmith's "Russia House'',” "Blood Diamond'',”''Syriana'',”''The Gladiator'',” ''Siege'',” "Doctor Zhivago'',”''Frescos'',“''Druzba Isusova''”and many others. Jivan himself could have never imagined, that the instrument he got as a little boy would make him so famous.
Many years ago, a Russian journalist asked Jivan, if he had made the duduk famous or the duduk had made him famous...
He still doesn't have the answer...
Unforgetable was Jivan's meeting with the famous composer Hans Zimmer for the soundtrack "The Gladiator". The Oscar nominated score was composed by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard. Jivan co-wrote with Zimmer the piece called "To Zucchabar".
In 2002 Jivan won the WOMEX Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors”quality, creativity and success in the name of this world's music. On June 11, 2005, Jivan participated in the 46664 Arctic concert which was held in Tromso, Norway. This was a totally unique event from the Norwegian perspective.
Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Tribute was held in Hyde Park, London on 27 June 2008 to commemorate Nelson Mandela's ninetieth birthday, which was on July 18. The concert was another part of the 46664 concert series to promote awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In May 25 2009, the Russian Armenian Union (RAU) and World Armenian Congress (WAC) gave Jivan Gasparyan and the Head of the Russian-Armenian State Choir Hovhannes Chekidgyan bejeweled gold crosses for their inestimable contribution into Armenian culture. Jivan also received with“Mashtots award for his contribution to Armenian culture.
The compositions performed by Jivan Gasparyan cannot be called just“national music, as his contribution to the popularization of Armenia's national music has no historical analogy. Among his numerous titles is“''Musical Heritage Guardian of his people''.
Jivan's powerful music sounds like freedom with groove, it has the message of joy, which achieves harmony through conflicts. His music possesses tremendous emotional and intellectual depth.Its impact on the listener is so immediate and direct that no prior knowledge of the instrument is needed to appreciate its power.
Despite his advanced age, the master is full of life and in good shape.