Endowed with an uncanny ability to generate musical phrases at will, Tigran Martikyan’s improvised arrangements are often mistaken for planned and inscribed compositions, even encompassing multiple genres. It is with this sort of originality and edge that Martikyan displays his virtuosity in performing jazz and classical music alike. Pianist, composer, and educator, Martikyan writes and performs jazz pieces in a wide range, from solos and duos to works for larger ensembles. After years playing various instruments since the age of five, Tigran today extends his repertory beyond his beloved jazz, composing classical pieces as well as music for motion pictures and choreographies.
Often experimenting with fusions involving ethnic motives, including from his native Armenia, and the playful spirit of modern Jazz, Tigran stands apart in the Jazz world as “a pianist to be reckoned with.” His music has won awards and praises, including from the legendary Chick Korea who calls his interpretations “intellectual.” In 1990 Tigran won second place at the LAIC Cultural Community Center’s song writing competition, and in 1998 he was the first-prize recipient of the Hilton Head Jazz Society Scholarship Competition. In 2000 New York Post presented Tigran as one of “New York’s most promising young jazz musicians,” at a time when his music was being aired on the “Bet on Jazz” program of the Jazz Discovery Showcase, with audiences in Europe and the Middle East. Tigran’s compact disc recordings incorporate interpretations of earlier composers and recordings of his own compositions. His album “Why” that was featured in the Regis & Kelly show in 2003, represents the creation of a jazz quartet with Loren Stillman, Daniel Weiss, and Thomas Morgan, culminating in the merging of older international folk traditions with the hyper eclectic sounds and strains of contemporary New York.
Tigran’s formal musical education was between the ages of 7 and 16 at the Tigran Chukhajian Music School of Armenia in his hometown Yerevan. At this early age Tigran was a multi-instrumentalist, effortlessly playing the cello, the accordion, and the piano. After immigrating to the United States Tigran studied Jazz at the University of Southern California, graduating in 1998, and subsequently enrolling at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in New York. Since completing his master’s degree in Jazz Studies, Tigran has given a number of concerts across the United States and Europe, including his world premiere of “Piano Sextet” at the celebrated Carnegie Hall in New York City in 2008, and at Monte Carlo (Monaco) in 2002. From 2001 to 2009, Tigran was the New York resident accompanist to “Wee Dance,” a children’s ballet institute founded and directed by Susannah Harris.
Today in Los Angeles Tigran juggles his time composing, providing private lessons to professionals and recreational beginners, performing concerts in the US and aboard. He is an adjunct instructor of music theory and music appreciation courses at LA Academy of Figurative Art and serves as organist/choir director at New Haven Missionary Baptist Church.