Loris Ohannes Chobanian
Loris Ohannes Chobanian
Loris Ohannes Chobanian (born April 17, 1933 to Armenian parents in Mosul, Iraq) is an accomplished Armenian-American composer of classical music, expertconductor, and guitar and lute teacher and performer. A naturalized US citizen, he served as Professor of Composition as well as Composer-in-Residence at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory.
Dr. Chobanian was introduced to classical music at an early age. His father Ohannes Chobanian, an oil engineer and an amateur musician, was a versatile performer on the piano, the flute and the violin. When he was five years old the senior Chobanian wrote a one man operetta – “O Loris” which the young Chobanian sang in Kirkuk, Iraq, with his father conducting the orchestra.
In 1951, Chobanian graduated from Baghdad College, a High School administered by American Jesuits from Boston, Mass. For ten years he joined the Komitas Choir in Baghdad that specialized in singing Armenian Folk Music.
Chobanian studied the classical guitar with Jacque Tchakerian and in 1955 began performing classical guitar regularly on Baghdad Television and worked at the Khanaqin Oil Company. During 1958–1960 he was appointed Secretary to the Director General of Distribution of Oil in Iraq.
In 1960, Chobanian moved to the US to study composition at Louisiana State University (1960–1966) where he completed his Bachelors and masters degrees studying with Kenneth Klaus. He performed regularly on WBRZ-TV Baton Rouge, LA, and later in Michigan performing for the National Educational Television. He received the Ph.D. in music composition from Michigan State University (1970) studying with H. Owen Reed.
Chobanian was instrumental in establishing the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music Guitar and Composition programs as well as the Focus Contemporary Music Festival. He has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Akron.
In 1973 Chobanian became the first Guitar Division Chairman of the American String Teachers Association. He organized the first ASTA Guitar Conference in Cleveland, which for the first time brought together the university and college guitar teachers in the US and Canada. The conference became the model that has been emulated by conferences of the Guitar Foundation of America ever since.
Winner of many ASCAP awards and grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Cleveland Arts Council, he also received an award for excellence from the University of Loyola, New Orleans, LA. He was the recipient of the 1981 Cleveland Arts Prize. Chobanian is a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity
Among his many commissions include those from the Cleveland Ballet, the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto International Guitar Festival, the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Groton Central School in New York, the Nebraska Wesleyan University, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Skidmore College Orchestra, Saratoga Springs, NY, and the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN.