Hampartzoum Berberian (Armenian: Համբարձում Պէրպէրեան; Adana, May 25, 1905 - Worcester, Massachusetts, March 13, 1999) was an Armenian composer, conductor and a political activist.
Hampartzoum Berberian was one of the foremost contemporary composers of Armenian choral and orchestral music. This musical language is expressed though Western compositional disciplines but preserves Eastern idiom.
Berberian was born in Adana, Turkey in 1905, and in his childhood become witness and subject to the 1915 holocaust of persecution, deportation and genocide which befell the Armenians in their historic homeland in Asia Minor.
In 1930, he graduated from the prestigious Athens National Conservatory of Music, whereupon he was designated rector of the Hellenic Conservatory in Cyprus. Following his education in Greece, he traveled to Paris for advanced work.
In addition to the indisputable gifts as a composer, Berberian was talented as a violinist, conductor and teacher. In 1931, he was appointed Associate Dean to the Hellenic Conservatory in Cyprus, where he built a reputation as a successful composer and conductor.
In 1945, Catholicos Karekin I of Cilicia invited him to Lebanon to serve as music teacher at the Antelias Theological Seminary, as well as in the schools of the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the Beirut State Conservatory. During this time, Berberian composed many works and conducted numerous concerts. He traveled to various cities in the Middle East, Europe, North and South America, disseminating Armenian music generally and his own work particularly. From then on, he also became the musical operative of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party.
Berberian moved to the United States in 1962 and became a naturalised citizen in 1968. He lived near Boston and was the director of music ministry at the local Armenian Church. Berberian was honoured by many religious leaders and secular organisations for his contributions in music, culture and education.
Maestro Berberian's background includes an extensive chronology of administrative, academic and research activities in the field of music. He has completed numerous concert tours throughout the Middle East, Europe, North and South America, the British Isles and the Soviet Union. Among his foremost operas are "Titter," and opera-ballet; "Shoghik" and "Areknazan." His orchestral works include "Yegeghetsin Haigagan," Khorhourt Vartanantz," "Aghotk Vaghva Semin Archev," "Requiem Aeternum," "Kovk Haiastani," Khosk im Vortvoon," "Loosavortchi Ganteghuh," "Saint Mesrob Cantata"and over two hundred choral and symphonic pieces. Berberian has produced innumerable choral works, art songs, troubadour songs and children's music. The composer has been honoured with medals and awards from numerous cultural, educational and national organisations and institutions throughout the world.
Berberian was a prolific composer who wrote for all genres. The underlying common denominator of Berberian’s stylistic mold is the Armenian heritage. Yet, in his compositions the Western and the Middle Eastern trends are conjoined, reaching beyond national boundaries.
Berberian died in Massachusetts on March 13, 1999.