December 2015 Meeting: João Kouyoumdjian

Fingerings in the Unaccompanied Music by Bach: An approach in Step-wise Motion
Through the performance of examples and fingered scores, this lecture will analyze how it is possible for guitar fingerings to reflect an insightful theoretical notion of polyphony. One of the foundations of the presentation will be to challenge the idea of leaps in polyphonic textures by Bach, redefining them as rather being a multi-voice activity, which directly impacts fingering options and has implications for interpretation and technique.

The presentation will be followed by our Open Mic. Sign up in advance to play — see the Member Events page for details. NYCCGS Member Events are free and open to all members and first-time guests, and are supported by a generous grant from the D’Addario Foundation.

Thursday, December 3, 7:00 PM

Manhattan Theatre Club Creative Center
311 West 43rd Street, 8th floor, between 8th and 9th Ave. (map)
New York City

João Kouyoumdjian is a Brazilian-born classical guitarist of mixed Brazilian and Armenian ethnic heritage. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School and the University of São Paulo where he studied under Sharon Isbin and Edelton Gloeden, respectively. He has also studied with Preto Moreno and is a mentee of Paulo Martelli.

Since winning the XXI Souza Lima National Guitar Competition in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2010, Kouyoumdjian has been building a steady international performance career that has spanned the United States, Brazil, Europe and Africa. Among his concert engagements, noted stops have included Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Museum. He has also performed as a guest soloist with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Yerevan, Armenia.

A native of São José do Rio Preto, Brazil, João Kouyoumdjian has been featured on numerous nationally televised concert series in his homeland, including the acclaimed Movimento Violão. In 2011, he premiered new works by Brazilian composers Ricardo Calderoni and Raimundo Penaforte at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall at the behest of the Consulate General of Brazil in New York in a program entitled “Brazilian Guitar: Traditional and Tendencies.” This program inspired his first album Surfboard: Solo Guitar Works from Brazil (Pomegranate Music) in 2013 in a webcasted concert at Trinity Wall Street in New York City. In 2015, he released his second album, entitled Kouyoumdjian Plays Bach: New Transcriptions for Guitar (Pomegranate Music), featuring his transcriptions of unaccompanied cello and violin works by J.S. Bach. This album was recently a CD pick of the week in Brazil’s most popular weekly magazine, Veja, describing João as an artist who “overcomes virtuoso challenges.” Additionally, João’s interest in and dedication towards teaching was highlighted in the press in 2010 with his interactive performance/on-stage teaching model called “Guitar Horizons,” which focused on educating youth in underdeveloped areas of São Paulo, Brazil.

João Kouyoumdjian currently resides in the greater New York City area where he enjoys an active performance, teaching, and recording schedule. He is currently faculty at the Newark School of the Arts, in Newark, New Jersey, where he teaches guitar and music theory. For more information, please visit