Armenian State “Altounian” Folk Ensemble

It was founded on March 5, 1938 by group leader Tatul Altounyan. Composer Alexander Alexandryan and ballet master Edward Manukyan were co-founders. The ensemble was originally called the Folk Song-Dance Ensemble. The ensemble was made up of musicians, singers and dancers representing folk art and was the only one of its kind not only in Armenia, but also in the entire Soviet Union. Collecting folk songs and dances from different regions of Armenia, Tatul Altounyan cleaned them, filtered them from foreign elements, polished them, multi-voiced them, gave them concert and stage life and returned them to the people. During the many creative years, the leadership of the ensemble was taken over by people who committed themselves to the song-dance ensemble’s renewal, reforms, preserving the Altunyan cultural heritage, the ensemble’s national image, including musically theatrical, epic-inspired numbers in the concert program.In 1970, the composer Edgar Hovhannisyan became the artistic director of the ensemble, under whose leadership the ensemble’s repertoire was supplemented with musical in theatrical numbers. 1974 composer Khachatur Avetisyan was appointed as the artistic director of the ensemble, and the ensemble was named after People’s Artist of the USSR Tatul Altounyan. During those years, the ensemble’s program was enriched with many original works written in the spirit of the people.Since 1977 the artistic direction of the ensemble has been taken over by the group leader, an Honored Art Worker of the Republic of Armenia Emma Tsaturyan, who, while maintaining the national image of the ensemble, made new creative steps arising from the demands of modernity. 1987 Tatul Altounyan’s son, composer Ruben Altounyan, was appointed artistic director of the ensemble. The ensemble’s program includes arrangements close to the heart of the Altounyan style, but also original development. In 1991-97 composer Melik Mavisakalyan was the artistic director of the ensemble.In those years, the repertoire of the ensemble included songs and dances dictated by the time, with patriotic, national-liberation themes. 1998 the artistic direction of the ensemble was taken over by the conductor Henry Mangasaryan. Being an artist of original thinking, he authored songs and dances of different regions of Armenia, orchestral works, arrangements. From 2004 to 2020 the artistic director of the ensemble was the other son of Tatul Altounyan, the conductor Jirayr Altounyan, who worked to preserve and perform the best programs created by the previous leaders and present the ensemble’s concert repertoire in a new style. Since 2020 the conductor Grigor Voskanyan has taken over the responsibility of the artistic part of the ensemble, with whose efforts the ensemble has continued to expand its creative activities by including genre-changing numbers in the program.Edward Manukyan, Azat Gharibyan, Vilen Galstyan, Hovhannes Divanyan, Ashot Asatryan, Artyusha Karapetyan, Vardges Rashidyan, Rafael Poghosyan, Paylak Sargsyan were the chief ballet masters of the ensemble in different years. Vanush Khanamiryan, choreographer since 2010, People’s Artist of Armenia, was invited to the ensemble as a dance consultant, who enriched the ensemble’s repertoire with his many performances. In 2008-21 the chief ballet master of the ensemble was Honored Cultural Figure of Armenia Hovhannes Khachikyan, in 2021-23 was Garik Khachikyan.For years the leaders of the instrumental part of the ensemble were RA people’s artists Alexander Alexandryan, Hakob Voskanyan, Honored Art worker of RA Manvel Beglaryan, RA Honored artist Ruben Altunyan, composers Gevorg Manasyan, Hayk Grigoryan, Haykaz Hakobyan. Popular artists such as Lusik Koshyan, Astghik Kamalyan, Varduhi Khachatryan, Angela Shahnabatyan, Pavline Burnazyan, Tovmas Poghosyan, Albert Sargsyan, duduk-player Jivan Gasparyan and others performed in the ensemble.During the history of the ensemble the following folk works were presented: “Yaman yar”, “Kochari”, “A toast song”, “Armenian girls”, “Tamzara”, “Vagharshapat”, “Shone again”, “Gyulum jan”, “Hoy im nazani yar”, “Hoy Nar”, “Mok’s brides”, “Shushan Jan”, “Ghapama”, patriotic song “Zartir Lao”, national song and dance series “Navasard”. “Festive” by G.Manasyan, “Armenia” K.Petrosyan, Sayat-Nova “Yis ku ghimeten chim gidi”, Gusan Ashot “Zov Arek”, “Oh, Holy Mothers”, A.Khachaturian “Dance of the Mountaineers”, “Sabre Dance”, A.Babajanyan “Serenade”, “Elegy”, Kh.Avetisyan “Cranes”, “The Shepherd’s song and the dance of the herdsmen”, “My reed”, H.Badalyan “Let me die to the wind of the mountains”, R.Abrahamyan “A patriotic song”, V.Kotoyan “Sevan’s fishermen dance”, A.Tigranyan “Lori’s sceneries”, A.Smbatyan “Armenia”, T.Altunyan “Hopina”, A.Harutyunyan “Dance of the Sassoons”, G.Yeramyan “Kilikia”, Ashugh Sheram ” The rose bloomed  in the garden” and others.The ensemble is also rich in the variety and originality of its costumes, thanks to the famous painters Martiros Saryan, Minas Avetisyan, Khachatur Yesayan, Robert Elibekyan, Flora Grigoryan, Ashot Hambardzumyan, Rubine Hovhannisyan and others.The ensemble toured in 1944 performed in Iran, 1957 Albania, Hungary, Bulgaria, 1959 and 1964 Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, 1971 Yugoslavia, 1974 Senegal, Liberia, 1978 France, Germany, Belgium, 1984 Canada, 1985 England, Portugal, 1987 Austria, Sweden, 1988 France, Germany, Syria, 2003 Iraq, China, 2014 Holland, Denmark, South Korea, 2016 Italy, 2018 Turkey, Iran, 2022 Georgia.1950 On November 28, the ensemble was awarded the title “Honored Collective of Armenia”, 2011 and 2018 the gold medal of the RA Ministry of Culture and the “Best Folk Ensemble” title of the Armenian National Music Awards. 2022 the ensemble was included in the National Center for Folk Music and Dance. Harutyun Karapetyan was the chief choreographer of the ensemble in 2023-24. From 2023, the musical part of the ensemble is directed by Garegin Arakelyan, from 2024, the chief choreographer is Nune Grigoryan.



Dance Troupe