Tigran Tchouhadjian (also known as Dikran Chouhajian) was an Armenian composer, conductor, public activist and the founder of the first opera institution in the Ottoman Empire. He is considered the first opera composer in Turkish history.
Tchouhadjian was born in Constantinople. He studied at composer Gabriel Yeranian's class, then had classes in Milan. Along with other Armenian intellectuals of that period he fought for the development of the national culture, organized Armenian musical societies, theatres, schools, papers and free concerts.
In his works, Tchouhadjian used the elements of European musical techniques and Armenian folk melodies. He is an author of pieces for piano, songs and romances, chamber and symphonic works, operas (Zemire, 1890; Leblebiji, 1875) etc.
Tchouhadjian created the first Armenian opera, Arshak II (1868, partially staged in 1873), based on a historical fact about King Arsaces II (Arshak II). It is the first “Armenian grand opera” with choruses and ballets, and was assembled on November 29, 1945 at the Armenian Opera Theater opera theater in Yerevan. Arshak II is a "gem" of Armenian musical culture and it has continued to grace the repertoire of the Yerevan Opera Theater. In 2001, it was staged at the San Francisco Opera.
As Dikran Çuhacıyan he is also remembered as the composer of what may have been the first original opera in Turkish, Arif'in Hilesi (Arif's Deception), though Donizetti's Belisario had been staged in Turkish translation in 1840.
He died in Smyrna (now İzmir) on 11 March 1898. Tchouhadjian is buried in Armenian cemetery of Smyrna.