Vicken Tarpinian was born in Lebanon. He grew up with the Armenian Communities of the Middle East and studied Art at the American University of Beirut. Music and theater attracted him from childhood. His university years were marked by various musical and theatrical productions. Between 1972 and 1975 Vicken took part in Theatre 67, a theater company created and directed by Varoujan Hadeshian, which produced works by William Shakespeare, Oscar Wild, Harold Pinter, Eugène Labiche, Hagop Baronyan and others… He was awarded first prize for the “Toute La Ville Chante” singing contest organized in 1975 for Lebanese Television by the French Radio and Television Organization ORTF ( RadioFrance ) . That ame year Vicken also earned a contract as a musical performer on a summer cruise where he met Harout Bezdjian, an acoustic guitar player. Vicken and Harout introduced the genre of folk music as played by Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, Bob Dylan and others. These happy days were overshadowed by the events of the War in Lebanon, which continues today and caused family and friends to be dispersed around the world.
Vicken went to Paris in 1975 and forgot the return of the two way ticket, he had won in the singing contest, in his pocket. He left behind all his projects, which were soon erased by the bombing of a city that never believed in its future after 25 years of destruction. He had to survive the surprises and adventures of his French life and over time was well accepted into the artistic milieu in Paris. His love for the stage and his youthful irresponsibility were the sole assets, he possessed to meet the daily challenges he was facing. He worked with a great number of musicians and while taking part in several shows and festivals, a plan emerged to work on a cycle of songs derived from Armenian Folklore. His objective became clear: to dedicate himself to the expression of traditional Armenian music in a new and exciting way, full of gracious harmonies, keeping the pure Armenian perfume.
In 1978 full of enthusiasm and supported by his public, he produced his first recording, an LP called “HARTAR” Ornament, a titled inspired by two names:
HARout Bezdjian and Vicken TARpinian. While his new songs remained true to the Armenian spirit, from which they evolved, he adapted them to an occidental taste, infused with creative arrangements and mixing techniques using classical and contemporary instruments. Vicken travelled France and beyond giving concerts in Brussels, Amsterdam, Athens, West Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York,
Lebanon and Egypt... In September 1980, he appeared in “Le Grand Echiquier”, a program orchestrated by Jacques Chancel and dedicated to Charles Aznavour. Aznavour later commented that he met,
“…for the first time, two young artists who sang Armenian songs with the authenticity and purity of traditional melodies while adding a western pinch, for a result, which is pleasant to all ears.”
“The road goes on…
We needed an encounter and it happened.
But we remained on the train station’s platform and couldn’t leave
together. We have simply not chosen the same destination.
So I went on with my journey… All encounters I marvel at as they
give me new dreams make me feel good.
One has to live them with conviction…
From Beirut, this is always the way I travelled in the world of songs.
Beings, faces, events, scenes, concert halls, clubs, churches, schools…
I found souls in them and found whatever
I needed to nourish my adventure.
Only one direction:
To remain faithful to my ideas, even when I had to climb mountains
to reach the light, as far as it may be.
A nourishing light I have enjoyed since early childhood,
one I would really love to spread around me...”
In Paris, Vicken met Patrice Peyriéras, pianist, arranger, conductor and sound engineer. A fluid and harmonious collaboration that transcended language barriers developed between them.
“YERAZ” The Dream, the second album, with new musical achievements was produced.
On January 24, 1983, Vicken gave a gala concert at the Olympia Theater in Paris. In March he went on a concert tour in Lebanon and continued to perform in festivals throughout Europe. Influenced by Patrice Peyriéras and inspired by Poets: Barouyr Sevag, Vahan Tekeyan, William Saroyan, Hovanness Chiraz and Parsegh Ganatchian…
Vicken’s new repertoire of songs emerged.
Since this early time, Vicken has produced more than ten albums*, all imparting messages of friendship and love.
“The road goes on…