Berj Zamkochian

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A Love for Sacred Music

Berj Zamkochian was appointed as Organist of the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras when he was 26 years old. That year he signed his first recording contract with RCA Victor Records, and the Gregorian Institute of America Records. Mr. Zamkochian's recordings and concerts throughout the United States, Canada and Europe have earned for him international acclaim. From the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Gallup, New Mexico, he has played dedicatory organ recitals of the foremost organs in the country.

At the 3rd World Congress of Sacred Music, in Paris, Zamkochian was chosen to represent the Organists of the United States. The Gregorian Institute of America has presented Berj Zamkochian in Sacred Music Workshops and Lectures throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 1965 he was given the title of Titular Organist of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy by Pope Paul VI himself.

In September of 1969 he was appointed University Organist in Residence at Boston College, where he inaugurated a series of Organ Recitals at the famed Jesuit School which became a very important part of the Boston Musical Scene.

At the personal invitation of His Holiness, Catholicos Vasken I on December 16, 1970 Berj Zamkochian arrived in Armenia to tour the country and perform concerts. He played 6 concerts in 10 days on the newly installed organs of Yerevan and Etchmiadzin. On December 21st and 26th he played to standing room only audiences at the Yerevan Philharmonia. The newly installed organ was the personal gift of Vasken I to the people of Yerevan. On the evenings of December 27th and 30th Zamkochian appeared as soloist with the Yerevan Philharmonia in the Poulenc Organ Concerto. At the Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, Berj Zamkochian served as Organist of the newly installed Cathedral Organ, for the Celebration of the Divine Liturgy. He offered an Organ Recital at the completion of Holy Mass.

The Gomidas Organ Fund

The Gomidas Organ Fund is a project initiated by Berj Zamkochian during the year that marked the 100th Anniversary of the birth of the famed Priest-Composer Gomidas. Its purpose was to supply the Gomidas Conservatory in Yerevan, Armenia, with five practice pipe organs. Donors who purchased one instrument would be entitled to a commemorative memorial practice studio in the Gomidas Conservatory.

Interesting Facts

Former United States President George H. W. Bush and Mr. Zamkochian lived next-door to each other in Kennebunkport, Maine. Berj often recalled that he and the President had long 'over-the-fence' discussions about Armenia, and two issues of importance at the time: The 1988 Earthquake, and the Liberation of Artsakh.

Mr. Zamkochian was sometimes called "The Ambassador of all Armenians".

Notable Requiem Services performed by Mr. Zamkochian include U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Philanthropist Aram Abgarian.

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