Doctor, Professor Thomas Buchholz is a composer and musicologist. After gaining a specialisation of a piano manufacturer and a piano tuner at Blüthner Piano Factory, he studied composition (under G. Neubert’s tutelage), solo singing and musical pedagogy at Leipzig Music School, from which he graduated with a certificate (1988). Then, parallel to teaching at the Martin Luther University in Halle, he attended the course of Professor Ruth Zechlin at the Department of Composition of Berlin Academy of Arts. Later, he also took private lessons of composition with R. Kelterborn, W. Lutoslawski and J. Cage. He has lectured on the art of composing at various higher education institutions (Leipzig, Weimar, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yerevan) and has conducted master classes. He teaches composition to gifted children and teens at the Music Academy of Michaelstein. In 1995 – 2014 he was the director of “Hallische Musiktage” festival on contemporary music. He is the president of the Composers’ Union of Saxony-Anhalt. T. Buchholz is the author of more than 160 published works; his music is performed in many countries around the world. As a musicologist he was trained in Schütz Academy (Thuringia) and Handel House Museum (Halle), where he published studies devoted to Georg Anton Benda, as well as baroque and contemporary music. Later he carried out research on modern music and composers of the XX century of Central Germany. During his teaching career in Yerevan he started studying Armenian traditional music and Komitas’s work. He is the first publisher of some of Komitas’s choral works in Germany.
KOMITAS AS A EUROPEAN: TRACES OF EUROPEAN MUSICAL THINKING AND ART OF COMPOSITION IN HIS SELECTED WORKS
On the verge of the XIX-XX centuries, right before the turning point to the Modernism, European musical thinking was under the influence of Romantic and Late Romantic era composers, with harmony reaching the boundaries of tonality, with freely evolving melody and free counterpoint. All this was a favorable environment for Komitas’s work, who managed to establish a unique connection between traditional Armenian music and European models of composition to a considerable extent. Thus, Komitas’s style has a significance of a school founder for modern Armenian music and, at the same time, is a testimony to Komitas as a European musician.
A number of Armenian musicians living in the last quarter of the XX century were educated in Europe, as among them being the violinist Hovhannes Nalbandyan in Berlin, the singer Sofia Akimova in Leipzig or the singer Armenak Shahmuradyan in Paris, the musicologist Mushegh Aghayan in St. Petersburg, etc. This not only proves that European music was highly valued by Armenians, but also that Komitas was a vivid example of that.
Komitas’s work contains a continuum of prominent amalgams of European musical thinking. In the central place is the use of piano accompaniment for traditional Armenian folk songs. Finally, it is a reference to Johannes Brahms’s style with his folk and children’s folk songs, which are masterfully written with piano accompaniment. During Komitas’s lifetime, Max Reger transformed the folk songs into art songs in his collection Simple Melodies.
Finally, the presentation confirms that the activities of Komitas as an Armenian composer should not be limited to the Armenian framework. Modern musicology should give him a place among the most prominent European musicians, if we consider his work in the context of European musical thinking. Komitas’s work is ultimately an achievement for the diversity of European culture.