A recipient of a commission from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University to compose a concerto for flute and orchestra to be premiered by the Salt Lake Symphony, Jeff Manookian has garnered numerous accolades for his original works. The Frederick Delius Competition conferred its Grand Prize on Manookian's Fantasy and Toccata for Violin and Piano and the chamber music first prize for his Sonata for Flute and Piano. His compositions have figured numerous times on the Frederick Delius Music Festival in Jacksonville, Florida. Other top prizes have been awarded to Manookian's works, including the Grand Prize and multiple first places in the Composers Guild International Composition Competition.
Several of Manookian's compositions are in print with Warner Brothers Publications, Inc. Among the pieces published by Warner Brothers is Manookian's Twelve Etudes for the Intermediate Pianist-a commission from the Utah Music Teachers Association. Additional Manookian works have been published by Feature Films for Families and Windsor Editions.
Subsequent composition commissions have come from the Abramyan String Quartet, Utah Flute Association, Utah Centennial Commission, Episcopal Diocese of Utah, Cathedral of the Madeline, Utah Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, Westminster College, and Sandy City, Utah for the grand opening of its new amphitheatre.
Manookian's music has been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and broadcast live over the internet. Ensembles such as the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra (in Boston's Symphony Hall and in Prague), Pasadena Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony, University Musical Society of Las Vegas, the America West Symphony, Salt Lake Symphony, Westminster Chamber Orchestra, Intermountain Classical Orchestra, Gloriana Choir, Contemporary Music Consortium, Monticello Medici Chamber Ensemble (in Pasadena, California) and numerous choirs and instrumental soloists have included Manookian's works on their concert rosters.
Manookian's Symphony of Tears for the mezzo-soprano, boy soprano, choir and orchestra, a commemorative oratorio of the 1915 American Genocide, received its premiere by the Oratorio Society of Utah as the opening concert of the 2000 Madeline Festival for the Arts and Humanities.
As a pianist, Manookian has performed on national television in the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Peru', and Bolivia. In the United States, his credits include guest appearances on the Liberace Show, Mike Douglas Show, Joe Franklin Show and the Ted Mack Amateur Hour.
Manookian has appeared as concerto soloist with the Philippines Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfo'nica de Bolivia, South Coast Symphony (California), Peninsula Symphony (California), Oakland Youth Symphony (California), Northridge Academy Orchestra (California), Butte Symphony (Montana), Utah Symphony, Salt Lake Philharmonic, Utah Youth Symphony, American West Symphony, and the Westminster Chamber Orchestra.
Manookian was the soloist in Salt Lake City's Abravanel Hall with the International Classical Orchestra performing the complete works for piano and orchestra by George Gershwin. This concert was rebroadcast on National Public Radio.
Other major performances include: New York's Merkin Hall as winner of the Aram Kahachaturian International Piano Competition, Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center, Primeira Semana de Mu'sica das Ame'ricas in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Arts on the Green in Costa Mesa, California; and the Park City International Music Festival.
Manookian made his conducting debut at 16. He has since served as music director of the Utah Youth Symphony, Westminster Chamber Orchestra, and International Classical Orchestra. He has guest conducted the Pasadena Symphony, University Musical Society of Las Vegas, the University of Utah SummerArts Orchestra, the Salt Lake Symphony, the America West Symphony, Murray Symphony and the Oratorio Society of Utah. Jeff Manookian is the classical music critic for the Salt Lake Tribune.