Tigran Hamasyan

Last updated
Tigran Hamasyan
Background information
Born (1987-07-17) July 17, 1987 (age 36)
Leninakan, Armenian SSR,
(now Gyumri, Armenia)
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion, progressive rock, Armenian folk
Occupation(s)Musician, pianist, composer
Instrument(s)Piano, vocals
Years active2001–present
Website www.tigranhamasyan.com

Tigran Hamasyan (Armenian : Տիգրան Համասյան; born July 17, 1987) is an Armenian jazz pianist and composer. He plays mostly original compositions, which are strongly influenced by the Armenian folk tradition, often using its scales and modalities. In addition to this folk influence, Hamasyan is influenced by American jazz traditions and to some extent, as on his album Red Hail, by progressive rock. His solo album A Fable is most strongly influenced by Armenian folk music. Even on his most overt jazz compositions and renditions of well-known jazz pieces, his improvisations often contain embellishments based on scales from Middle Eastern/Southwest Asian traditions. [1]


Early life

Hamasyan was born in Gyumri, Armenia. [2] His ancestors were from the Kars region. [3] His father was a jeweler and his mother designed clothes. [4] At the age of three he began to play melodies on his family's piano, and he went to a music school from the age of six. [4] As a young child, he dreamed of being a thrash metal guitarist. [4]

He studied jazz from the age of nine, then tried to incorporate local folk melodies into jazz-form improvisations when in his teens. [4] At this stage, Hamasyan was influenced by Armenian composers Arno Babajanian and Avet Terterian. [4] Hamasyan, together with his parents and sister, moved to Yerevan when he was around 10, [5] and then to California when he was 16. He currently resides in Yerevan, Armenia. [6]


Hamasyan recorded his first album, World Passion, at the age of 18. [4] He spent a lot of 2013 in Armenia, which helped develop his interest in its folk music. [4] He was the leader of the "Aratta Rebirth", with which he performed Red Hail. On April 29, 2022, Nonesuch Records released Hamasyan's first album of American standards - StandArt. The project was recorded in the spring of 2021 in Los Angeles and includes 9 songs from the 1920s through the 1950s, by Richard Rodgers, Charlie Parker, Jerome Kern, David Raksin, and others. Bassist Matt Brewer, drummer Justin Brown, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, saxophonist and label-mate Joshua Redman, and saxophonist Mark Turner collaborated with the pianist and contributed to the recording. [7]



As leader

YearAlbumRecord labelPeak positions

Jazz Albums
2006World PassionNocturne   
2007New EraPlus Loin   
2009Aratta Rebirth: Red HailPlus Loin   
2011 A Fable Verve  70 
2013 Shadow Theater Verve12763 
2015 Mockroot Nonesuch   11
2015 Luys i Luso ECM    
2017 An Ancient Observer Nonesuch 191
2019They Say Nothing Stays the SameSEEBEDON   
2020 The Call Within Nonesuch   
2022 StandArt Nonesuch   


As sideman

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A Fable is the fourth album by Tigran Hamasyan released in February 2011. Tigran uses traditional Armenian hymns, Armenian poetry and Armenian folk music as the basis for the tracks on the album. The album also draws influences from Jazz, Rock and Pop. Tigran in an interview said that he chose the name of the album "... because each composition tells a story ... [and] people can relate to fables because they are both simple, yet deep." He only used his first name on this album's release, but has used his full name in subsequent albums.

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An Ancient Observer is the 8th album by Tigran Hamasyan released 31 March 2017. Two of the tracks on the album are developments of traditional Armenian melodies and all tracks have influences from Armenian folk music. Tigran also draws inspiration from Jazz and Rock music, as well as the natural landscape of Mount Ararat. This was Tigran's second album on Nonesuch Records. The album is mostly solo piano, however, there is sparing use of electronics and vocals. Tigran considers his next release, the EP For Gyumri, to be a companion work to this album.

<i>For Gyumri</i> 2018 EP by Tigran Hamasyan

For Gyumri is the 3rd extended play by Tigran Hamasyan and was released 16 February 2018. Tigran considers this EP a companion work to his 8th album An Ancient Observer, which was released the year before. Similarly to An Ancient Observer, this work is mostly solo piano with use of sparing vocals. The album is named after the city Gyumri and is where Tigran was born. This was his 3rd release on Nonesuch Records, with the two previous releases being An Ancient Observer and Mockroot. Tigran said that this album "... is an ode to my birthplace, the town that nourished my childhood world with great experiences and made me who I am". He performed this EP in Royce Hall at University of California, Los Angeles, and part of the proceeds went to the Children of Armenia Fund.

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  1. "Tigran Hamasyan". Armenian Pulse Radio & Entertainment. April 13, 2012.
  2. True, Chris. "Tigran Hamasyan: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  3. "Mockroot Track by Track from Tigran Hamasyan". Nonesuch Records. Archived from the original on 4 December 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2021. "Kars 1" and "Kars 2 (Wounds of the Centuries)" are written about the town of Kars, the ancestral home of Tigran's maternal grandparents, a place that became part of Turkey in the years that followed the infamous Ottoman genocide of Armenians during the First World War.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lewis, John (October 24, 2013) "Tigran Hamasyan, the Pianist Giving Jazz an Armenian Twist". The Guardian.
  5. "Tigran Hamasyan Trio". Monterey Jazz Festival. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  6. "Tigran Hamasyan – Official website".
  7. "StandArt by Tigran Hamasyan". Bandcamp. Retrieved 2022-04-29.
  8. Jazz, All About. "All About Jazz". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008.
  9. "Jazz Articles: Pianist Tigran Awarded Vilcek Prize - By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles". jazztimes.com. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  10. "Winner Paul Acket Award Tigran - Mockroot | NN North Sea Jazz Festival". www.northseajazz.com.
  11. "Tigran Hamasyan wins ECHO Jazz Award 2016". Public Radio of Armenia. April 19, 2016.
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  13. "Tigran discography". lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  14. "Tigran Hamasyan: Chart History". Billboard charts . Retrieved 5 June 2019.[ dead link ]
  15. "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums – SNEP (Week 14, 2017)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique . Retrieved 10 April 2017.