Armenian guitarist Pardy Minassian, a graduate certificate student in the USC Thornton Classical Guitar program, was awarded a project grant from the Calouste Gyukbenkian Foundation for her multimedia series based on forgotten, unpublished Armenian folk songs, which she’s gathered from her father’s collection of interviews with Armenian genocide survivors. Minassian began working on this project when she was studying with Thornton composition faculty member Ted Hearne.
“Before moving to Armenia, my father usually collected information from the survivors of the Armenian genocide who lived in Syria. He interviewed almost 500 elderly people and wrote down their stories. Among the gathered materials there were even folk songs,” said Minassian. “These songs had never been published or arranged before, and many of them are not widely known. So, I chose a part from one of these interviews that included a forgotten Armenian song called ‘I Want to Be a Rose,’ composed a new piece based on this song and combined it with video art.”
The first video of this series, “From Past to Present,” was released earlier this year. For this piece, Minassian recorded all instrumentals on guitar and added production elements using digital audio software. The visuals feature open sections of pomegranate and their seeds, which symbolizes the spread of the Armenian diaspora throughout the world.