PT conductor honored on statewide, nationwide levels

By Kirk Boxleitner
Posted 1/10/24



Dr. Tigran Arakelyan, artistic director of the Port Townsend Symphony, was recently named among the “Top 30 Professionals of the Year” by Musical America …

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PT conductor honored on statewide, nationwide levels




Dr. Tigran Arakelyan, artistic director of the Port Townsend Symphony, was recently named among the “Top 30 Professionals of the Year” by Musical America Worldwide, after already being named among the “40 Under 40” for Washington state by 425 Business magazine earlier in 2023.

Musical America Worldwide is the oldest classical music magazine in America, and it described its “Top 30 Professionals” for 2023 as “the entrepreneurs, the worker bees, the creative minds that ensure the health of the art form and its essential value in our lives,” nominated by 30,000 industry professionals who were asked to name “thoughtful, creative and often innovative” hard-workers, "who persistently and relentlessly strive to keep the performing arts vital.”

Arakelyan credits his mentors for much of his success, from his first music teacher in Armenia, to Ludovic Morlot, former music director of the Seattle Symphony, as well as his family, including his music teacher grandmother and his parents, whose pursuit of music was mostly limited to their middle and high school years.

The Armenian-American conductor, podcaster and radio host has held conducting positions with the California Philharmonic and Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, in addition to his Walt Disney Concert Hall conducting debut in 2019.

Arakelyan has conducted numerous regional orchestras in Washington and California, taking the Federal Way Youth Symphony on three tours to South Korea in 2014, 2017 and 2019, while on his podcast, “Let’s Talk Off the Podium,” he’s interviewed industry notables including George Walker, Vijay Iyer, Evelyn Glennie, JoAnn Falletta, Sharon Isbin and Christopher Theofanidis.

Arakelyan has played alongside Sir James Galway and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, during Galway's induction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, and has been recognized by the American Prize and Global Music Awards.

And yet, he remains the music director of both the Northwest Mahler Festival and the Port Townsend Symphony, and has conducted regional premieres by composers Paul Hindemith, Keith Jarrett, Brenno Blauth and James Cohn, in addition to founding multiple orchestras, music festivals, competitions, and scholarship grant funding initiatives since 2009.

For all the other places his career has taken him, Arakelyan told The Leader that the Port Townsend community has afforded him a wealth of opportunities unlike anywhere else.

“Certain institutions can be set in their ways, but everyone I’ve worked with here has been so amazingly supportive and fantastically receptive to new and different ideas,” Arakelyan said. “Suggestions that might not have worked as well elsewhere have been so welcomed and appreciated here, so I can’t help but feel very fortunate.”

Arakelyan expressed pride in being able to bolster local orchestras and young musical talent, as he touted the Port Townsend community as a place where the musical arts thrive through public encouragement, from the Port Townsend Summer Band to all the music programs hosted by Centrum, as he cited the critical and commercial success of writer-director Ward Serrill’s 2020 documentary “The Bowmakers” as but one example of the local community’s engagement with such subjects.

“Port Townsend is known throughout the Pacific Northwest for what it has to offer artistically,” Arakelyan said. “I'm always excited by what’s coming up in this community, and I’m looking forward to whatever I’ll be able to do next here.”

Arakelyan’s website can be found at online.