Concertos as Sounds of Spring
Narek Arutyunian, an Armenian-born clarinetist currently studying at the Juilliard School, opened the program with an alluring, stylish account of Copland’s compact, two-movement Clarinet Concerto, a 1948 work commissioned by Benny Goodman. Mr. Arutyunian brought a rich, reedy sound to the beguiling first movement, marked “slowly and expressively,” which has the quality of a mellow, almost lazy waltz. He brought out pensive, subtle depths in the music while shaping the winding melodic line in arching phrases. And he excelled in the jazzy, playful second movement, which is like a 1940s American version of Stravinsky’s Neo-Classicism, impishly dispatching riffs and bopping lines while incisively executing the music’s rhythmic gyrations and irregularities.
The New York Times
The Clarinet Mastered
"Arutyunian’s playing reaches passionate depths with seemingly effortless technical prowess, beguiling sensitivity and an energetic stage presence. [His] deepest notes were at once vibrant and enveloping. His highest range had the clarity of a vibrant coloratura."

- Cecelia Porter
The Washington Post
Review: Huntington Estate Festival 2012
"The robust, exotic wine would have to be Armenian clarinetist Narek Arutyunian. Alone onstage, with compact build, he packed an unexpected punch in short bursts of startling virtuosity, yanking audiences out of Beehovenian gentility with a six-minute Spanish Caprice by Ivan Olenchik that proved a crowd favorie."

"In the Weber clarinet quintet, Narek's beautifully rounded tone blended well with the burnished, penetrating sound of the Australian String Quartet's four Guadagninis. And still this young firebrand's personality came surging the scales, every gesture poised yet charged with dramatic flair."

- Melissa Lesnie
Limelight Magazine
Narek Arutyunian Shines in New York
"The young clarinetist is a consummate musician. There was an undeniable energy in the air the moment Arutyunian walked on stage. From the first phrase, it was clear that Arutyunian performs with charm, flair and sensitivity. Every gesture was expressive and poised; every note was rich and smooth."
The Armenian Mirror Spectator
Wealth of Color from Arutyunian, Gordon
"A challenge of any clarinet recital is to transcend the familiar sound of the instrument... Narek Arutyunian presented a wealth of colors, voices, articulations. We heard dazzling technique in the service of coherent and considered chamber music."

- Cashman Kerr Prince
The Boston Musical Intelligencer
<December 2020>

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