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Monday, March 18,2013

Following a family tradition

MSU's Marta Bagratuni plays Carnegie Hall Friday

by Robert Sancrainte

Tuesday. March 27 — The Armenian Prelacy has sponsored the “Musical Armenia Concert” for 29 seasons, choosing the best among Armenian musicians. The winners go through an application process for the opportunity to play at New York’s Carnegie Hall. This year, the Prelacy chose Marta Bagratuni, a graduate of Okemos High School and a graduate student at Michigan State University.

Bagratuni started playing cello when she was 4 years old and has been playing for almost 20 years. Both her parents are also cellists: Her father played at “Musical Armenia” 15 years agoand her mother has also played at Carnegie Hall.

“I guess it’s my turn,” Bagratuni said.

“It’s a really good start,” to play at Carnegie Hall, she added, even though she is anything but a beginner. In addition to MSU performances, she has performed in concerts throughout the United States and abroad. She also sings opera (that runs in the family, too) and manages to juggle both passions.

Bagratuni has even been to Carnegie Hall before: In November, she traveled there to play with the New York Women’s Ensemble.

She says that it’s a different experience playing solo, though, and the concert, which will be held at 8 p.m. Friday at the Weill Theater will be her first solo performance at Carnegie Hall.  Her accompaniment will be provided by pianist and fellow MSU student Zhao Zhao Yang. They will perform selections by Adam Khudoyan, Robert Schumann, Sulkhan Tsintsadze and Vache Sharafyan.

Bagratuni would like to move to New York eventually. “Once you get into the scene, there are so many opportunities for musicians,” she said, as well as greater opportunity to be part of the classical music elite.

After her Carnegie performance, Bagratuni plans to get right back to work. “You can’t just get comfortable,” she said. “I have to come back and prepare for my graduate recital and send in a couple of competition tapes. You have to keep finding more things to do and more opportunities.”
She would like to record a cello album at some point and hopes that she can raise enough money to produce and distribute a record as widely as possible. “When I have concerts, it’s important to be able to give out my CD,” she said.

She welcomes the challenge that the Carnegie performance provides, but Bagratuni is also looking toward the future.

“It’s going to feel great, and then it’s going to be over,” she said of her Friday concert. “And then — what now?  I need to do more.”

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