Sergey Smbatyan: "Culture is a strong power, and through it one can tell a lot to the world"

The artistic director and chief conductor of the Youth Orchestra of Armenia about the peculiarities of Armenian cultural and creative industries.

I think that the most successful projects are yet to come. In general, the public and art connoisseurs should talk about the success of the artist. The fact that 10 years ago the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia was established, providing jobs for many young musicians, that the Armenian music and performing arts have been presented abroad, receiving full halls and applause from the most demanding viewers, is the great success of our team.

I should highlight the performance of the World Orchestra "24.04" on April 24th, 2015. In the formation of this exceptional orchestra and occurrence of the concert itself, a significant contribution of the team of the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia was made. The concert was truly exceptional and served its purpose. Culture is a strong power, and say through it one can many things to the world. We tried to talk to the world with this strong power, presenting them our sorrow, our revival and our demands and at the same time speaking out against the wars, taking place in different parts of the world.

For the success two principles should be adopted

For a successful project, I would like to mention two secrets: honesty in work and human relations; devotion to the idea and work as far as possible. In my opinion, the rest is derived from these two important principles.

In order for people to be interested in your activities, you should simply love your job. If you do it with love and love people you work with, it's all mutual: the same love, emotions, repeatedly return to you. People perfectly feel what is done sincerely and with dedication. We try to present interesting ideas. In the 21st century, people want to see new, original projects, and we also try to be interesting.

All of us are trying to get the best results at the lowest cost

Quite a lot is done for the development of cultural and artistic life in Armenia. There are state orchestras, theatres, a variety of ensembles. The cultural life of Yerevan is quite saturated: musical, theatrical, literary festivals, contests, exhibitions, etc. We have no lack of cultural events (they also are of high quality). But they are mainly concentrated in the capital. Despite the fact that steps are being taken to enhance the cultural life in the regions, I believe that the policy should further contribute to this. By the way, only in 2015 the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia performed concerts in 7 regions of Armenia. I would like to highlight one more thing: the lack of funding. In Armenia, we all try to get the best result at minimal cost. There are, of course, benefactors, sponsors, people who understand the need for culture in the education of generations, emphasise the importance of preserving our cultural heritage, development and presentation of it to the world and, together with the state provide great support to the arts. I wish that these people and organisations were many.

All understand the language of culture, both in the West and in the East

Cooperation and cultural relations always enrich and give new shades to your art. Culture really knows no boundaries: all understand the language of culture, both in the West and in the East. During 10 years of its activities, Youth Orchestra performed both in eastern and western countries. Over the past few months I have led different orchestras in Russia, the United States, Europe and elsewhere. For me and my orchestra any forms of cooperation are valuable and important.


Sergey Smbatyan is the artistic director and chief conductor of the Youth Orchestra of Armenia. He founded the orchestra in 2005, when he was 18 years old. A year later, the collective became the official orchestra of Aram Khachaturian International Competition, and in 2008 by the decision of the government, it was granted the status of State Orchestra for high professionalism and deep understanding of modern musical trends. Young Orchestra has performed at a number of prestigious venues, including the Konzerthaus in Berlin, Opera Garnier in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, etc.

As a conductor Sergey Smbatyan’s London debut took place in spring 2010 at Windsor Castle with the Philharmonic Orchestra (London), in the framework of the charity concert, organised by His Excellency Prince Charles. In 2011 S. Smbatyan again led the same orchestra. The same year he was selected to participate in master classes for young talented conductors in the scope of “LSO Discovery” project of London Symphony Orchestra.

Sergey Smbatyan is the co-founder of the Armenian Composers’ Art Festival. He is also actively involved in charity projects, performing in nursing homes, orphanages and universities.

In 2009 he founded UNICEF Children's Chamber Orchestra, which has had concerts in Armenia and Europe.

In 2009 S. Smbatyan received degree of PhD in Art History from Institute of Arts of National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. In May 2012 he graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London.

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