After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ashtarak 93 International Choral Festival was founded and held its first event in the summer of 1993 in Armenia. A report of this event was published in the ICB . The festival did not continue its activities because of financial restraints. Since then no international choral festival has been held in Armenia.
After a concert dedicated to the 145th anniversary of Komitas Vardapet, participated by the Little Singers of Armenia and the Handbell choirs, the idea of founding a new festival was launched in 2014. The concert took place on Komitas’s birthday (October 8, Old Calendar) in Harichavank, where he also had lived and composed. The second concert took place in 2016, on September 26 (the birthday of Komitas according to the New calendar).
In 2017 with much persistent work and the help of the “Armenian Little Singers” International Association, the new “Komitas Festival” was founded. The festival planned to be an annual event, taking place on various dates during the year.
Komitas Festival includes various events that are regularly held under the high patronage and financial support of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch of and Catholicos of All Armenians.
The festival involves different genres of music and is held in different formats. It may be held not only in large and small towns, villages in Armenia, but also abroad.
The participants include various choirs, orchestras, ensembles, theatrical groups, reciters, painters and others whose works deal with the topic of Komitas, which will be organized within the framework of the festival.
The aim of the festival is to spread Komitas’s music, poetry, cultural heritage throughout the world, and to encourage cultural life in various regions of Armenia.
During 2018 the festival already widened its scope of participants, inviting two French choirs: Le Choeur Voyageur from Bordeaux, France, under direction of Maestro Alexi Dufor and Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine Choir from Paris, under direction of Gaël Darchen, as well as Galan Trio from Greece, who performed as part of the festival program.
Last spring Le Choeur Voyageur performed in Vanadzor, Gosh, Dilijan and Yerevan. In Vanadzor the choir performed together with the Chamber choir of Vanadzor and in Yerevan together with the Little Singers of Armenia choir. Everywhere they received enthusiastic appreciation of audiences.
In the summer of 2018, Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine Choir, which is undoubtedly the most prominent choir in France, had concerts in the larger cities, such as Yerevan and Gyumri, performing in the 2000 year old temple of Garni, Harichavank (XIII century) and Geghard Monasteries (VII century).
Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine Choir’s gala concert with the Little Singers of Armenia choir took place in Aram Khachaturian concert hall, in Yerevan.
In the autumn Galan Trio from Greece performed in Vanadzor and Yerevan. In Yerevan they performed Komitas’s pieces as well as newly composed works, entitled “Six Sights to Ararat”, composed by six world reknowned composers from six countries: Thomas Bramel (USA), David Haladjian (Armenia, Switzerland), Vincent Kennedy (Ireland), Vasco Pereira (Portugal), Harland Weiss (Germany/Spain) and Nikos Xanthoulis (Greece).
In 2019, within the framework of Komitas Festival Little Singers of Armenia choir had concerts in world-renown concert halls such as the Gewandhaus in Leipzig and also different cities of Lithuania (Vilnius, Kaunas, Trakai, Moletai),
In 2020 within the framework of Komitas Festival 3 well known choirs from Europe Hamburg Girls Choir (March 5-9), Ungele children choir from Vilnius (April 10-17) and Gewandhaus children choir from Leipzig (September 21-28) will have concert tour in Armenia .