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Noted clarinetist visits pair of Albany schools

Clarinetist Narek Arutyuian performs for students on Thursday at Lamar Reese Magnet School. Arutyuian, who took questions and later performed at Radium Springs Middle School, is in town for The Albany Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-13 season finale on Saturday.

Clarinetist Narek Arutyuian performs for students on Thursday at Lamar Reese Magnet School. Arutyuian, who took questions and later performed at Radium Springs Middle School, is in town for The Albany Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-13 season finale on Saturday.

ALBANY, Ga. — At 20, noted clarinetist Narek Arutyuian is just a few years older than the group of elementary students sitting cross-legged in front of him on the gym floor at Lamar Reese Magnet School.

In town for the The Albany Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-13 season finale on Saturday, Arutyuian performed and answered questions Thursday at Lamar Reese and Radium Springs Middle schools.

“I do this all the time and I really enjoy it,” Arutyuian said. Times like this are important to inspire the children and show them how amazing classical music can be.

“It catches their attention and that’s always interesting.”

Born in 1992 in Gyumri, Armenia, Arutyunian’s family moved to Moscow when he was three. He picked up his first clarinet at age 10.

Arutyunian graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory before moving to New York City, where he works with Charles Neidich at The Julliard School.

According to the web site classicalconnect.com, “As a soloist Narek has appeared with the Boston Pops, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio, Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of New Russia, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, Kaliningrad Philharmonic, Meridian Symphony in Mississippi, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Musica Viva and Queens College Chamber Orchestra.

In recital he has performed at such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, Merkin Hall in New York, Palazzo del Principe in Genoa, Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, The Museum of Grenoble, Kaliningrad Philharmonic Hall, Teatro Savio in Messina.

But Arutyuian says his encounters with the children are meant to go beyond the music.

“I want to show them the importance of loving something and sticking with it,” he said. “It’s the idea of loving something so completely that usually gets to them.”

ASO Music Director Claire Fox Hillard said visits like Arutyunian’s have educational value.

“The goal is to teach the children they should not be intimidated by classical music,” Hilliard said. “The experience of having someone like Narek stand in front of them and perform is worth 1,000 words.”