Grammy Award-nominated composer, Armen Chakmakian developed his signature style of melding contemporary jazz with world music elements during his five-year stint as the keyboardist with Shadowfax. Since then, he has continued to experiment with various genres leading him to a new body of work composing source music and library music for television. In this area alone he has amassed more than 200 credits since entering the field.
After returning from a nine-month tour of South America as the keyboardist for Cirque du Soleil’s flagship show, Saltimbanco in 2006, Armen found himself in demand from a variety of television programs including Telepictures Productions: Extra, The Tyra Banks Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Judge Mathis, Modern Marvels, TMZ and Beyond Twisted. In addition he has also contributed his original compositions to a variety of other shows such as Oprah, HBO’S Real Sex Series, The Amazing Race, and E-Ring.
Proficient in composing in many styles including rock, electronic, jazz, quirky/comedic and ethnic/multi-cultural, Armen says, “What I enjoy most about this process is the variety of genres in which I’m asked to write. Also, the turn-around times can be very quick. I was once asked to deliver a cue in 45 minutes. The music was composed, recorded and uploaded to the music supervisor in 40 minutes. I refer to myself, in situations like this, as ‘the short order composer’.
” In 2007, Armen scored his first film, a short entitled Cup Half Empty, which was written and directed by Jeff Bergman. He also scored two animation projects for JPL’s NASA laboratories. Additionally, he has contributed an original song, “Long Way Down” to the Tumbleweeds’ film and soundtrack, a production that was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, the Filmmaker’s Trophy at Sundance; the tune, “Done Nothing for Me” to an episode of E-Ring, and the song, Enchantress” to Malcolm in the Middle.
“I love the collaborative process of working with a director to put music to moving pictures. There is something magical that happens when you create a piece of music that takes the scene to the next level. After spending years recording albums and touring with bands and productions, I was ready for something that was bigger than just the music itself, and I find this process extremely gratifying,” reflects Armen.
A native of Glendale, California where he still resides, Armen attended the Berklee College of Music, UCLA and USC. His television and film composing credits can be accessed at IMDB.com.