Kansas City, Here He Comes—to Conduct

by Gabrielle Lochard

A few weeks ago, Aram Demirjian '08 received some exciting news: He had been selected as the new assistant conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. Demirjian, who jointly concentrated in Music and Government, conducted the Bach Society Orchestra and the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert & Sullivan Players as an undergraduate, andwent on to complete masters studies at the New England Conservatory.Demirjian will take up his post in the fall, diving in with the first concert in the season's Family Series. In this program, he will pair up with another Harvard alum, John Lithgow ’67, who will be delivering his own narration to Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals, and will also be narrating an accompanied version of his children’s book about musical genius The Remarkable Farkle McBride.

Conducting the Family Series is just one of the many responsibilities Demirjian will take on in his move to Kansas City. In addition to family concerts, these will include conducting the KCS Pops Series and covering for the orchestra's Classical Series. The move to Kansas City will also afford Demirjian the opportunity to work with the KCS music director Michael Stern ’81.

"I couldn’t ask to be with a better organization than the Kansas City Symphony," says Demirjian. "The orchestra is really emerging on the American orchestral landscape, and there’s such vitality surrounding the organization. I will get to consistently be around and work with phenomenal professional musicians, with wonderful conductors who will be mentors and with a top-notch administrative staff. And it is a place where I feel I can contribute to the blossoming of the organization itself but it will also contribute to my growth with the orchestra, which is a rising star among orchestras in this country."

The appointment marks a major milestone for Demirjian as a young conductor, but he did not necessarily plan on a conducting career before arriving at Harvard.

"I was not planning on going into conducting professionally, but because of the opportunities I had to conduct, I caught the conducting bug," he says. "As an undergrad, it became clear to me that conducting was what I wanted to do. Harvard has been the constant for me as I’ve pursued my career in conducting – my teachers and mentors are people I can call on still, and it was the place where I first was really surrounded by consistent musical excellence."

[Caption: PHOTO: Jesse Weiner ]

[Caption: Demirjian conducting the Boston Pops. PHOTO COURTESY: www.aram-demirjian.com]