Vahram Sarkissian (Sargsyan) is a composer, conductor and experimental vocalist based in Montreal, Canada. His chamber, choral and vocal works have been widely performed in Europe, Asia and North America. His style represents a palette of multicultural creative initiatives influenced by numerous traditions and practices spanning from V century Armenian medieval chant to previously unreported endogenous vocal extended techniques. As an experimental vocalist he developed a distinct vocal identity with a rich assortment of techniques, a vocal range of 7 octaves and several signature sound production methods.
Vahram Sarkissian was born in Yerevan in 1981. After completing the Music Theory Faculty of the Yerevan P. Tchaikovsky Musical College, he began to study composition with Ashot Zohrabyan at the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory (1998-2003), where he also studied conducting with Tigran Hekekyan (2000-06). He also studied music composition at the Schulich School of Music (McGill University) with French composer Philippe Leroux.
Sarkissian is an author of more than 40 original compositions and arrangements that have been performed in Armenia, UK, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Latvia, Belgium, Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Greece, Poland, Italy, Canada, as well as in the USA. His composition ‘Luys Zvart’ was performed around 60 times worldwide, including once at the 6th World Symposium on Choral Music (Minneapolis, Minnesota 2002). His arrangement of a V century Armenian chant ‘Khorurd Metz’ (Great Mystery) is included in the Oxford University Press anthology “World Carols for Choirs” (2005) and has been recorded by BBC Singers. It has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3. In 2012 Sarkissian conducted his own composition ‘Hunting the Hunter’ for 7 instruments at Carnegie Hall.
Vahram Sarkissian has had commissions from Oxford University Press (UK), Boston Choral Ensemble (USA), Norddeutscher Rundfunk (Germany), Lark Musical Society (USA) and others. Among the performers of his music are BBC Singers, Little Singers of Armenia, Alan Hovhaness Chamber Orchestra, Armenian State Chamber Choir, Boston Choral Ensemble, Vocal Ensemble EST, Speghani Choir, Ensemble Transmission, St. Geghard Monastery Choir, CME and many others.
His honors include the third prize in the Godfrey Ridout Awards from the Socan Foundation (Canada 2012, for Tribulationes); the winner award in the Third BCE Commission Competition (Boston, USA 2010 for Tribulationes), 1st prize in the International Contest for New Choral Compositions in Petrinja, Croatia (2009, for Anegh Bnutiun); an award from the World Armenian Congress “For creative achievements” (2009, for Mythis) and a co-winner award at the European Seminar for Young Composers (Aosta, Italy 2008, for Laudate Dominum).
Vahram Sarkissian is a member of Union of Composers and Musicologists of Armenia as well as of Canadian League of Composers. He served as a music consultant for the European Choral Association (2010-2012). He was the founder and conductor of Armenian Chamber Voices: a 16-member mixed vocal ensemble noticeably consisting of young composers and musicologists, which was advocating music of XX century in Armenia.