Since winning the Cello First Prize and Gold Medal at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2011 at the age of 22, Narek Hakhnazaryan has performed with major orchestras across the globe and has established himself internationally as one of the finest cellists of his generation. Hakhnazaryan has earned critical acclaim worldwide, with The Strad describing him as “dazzlingly brilliant” and the San Francisco Chronicle hailing his performing as “nothing short of magnificent”. In 2014 he was named a BBC New Generation Artist and in August 2016 he made his highly distinguished and critically acclaimed BBC Proms debut.
The cellist’s 2018-2019 season begins with a robust series of North American music festivals, with his debut at the Colorado Music Festival with Peter Oundjian as well as performances at Music in the Mountains, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Bellingham Festival of Music, and Brevard Music Festival, as well as performances with the Z.E.N Trio at the Aspen Music Festival and Ottawa Chamberfest. Later in the season, Hakhnazaryan makes his much-anticipated return to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with four performances of Elgar’s beloved Cello Concerto, and he performs the Saint-Saëns Cello Concert with the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay. Overseas, Hakhnazaryan takes part in a Wigmore Hall residency, which includes three recital programs over the course of the season, with pianists Pavel Kolesnikov and Oxana Shevchenko, bringing fascinating programs of classic and lesser-known solo repertoire. He also performs a wide range of solo, concerto, and chamber works, including Mozart, Khachaturian, Dvorak, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, and others, with distinguished international ensembles such as the Vienna Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Helsinki Symphony, NHK Symphony, Taiwan Philharmonic, Western Australia Symphony and Munich Chamber orchestras with solo and trio recitals in London, Brussels, Geneva, Amsterdam, Milan and elsewhere, including Vienna where he performs at the Musikverein in a trio concert with Sergei Dogadin and Daniil Trifonov. The cellist also engages audiences at Cello Bienniale Amsterdam in October.
Hakhnazaryan recently made his concert debuts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Norway’s Stavanger Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Berlin Konzerthaus, Netherlands Philharmonic, Teatro Dell’Opera (Rome), Munich Chamber, and Essen Philharmonic orchestras, with returns to the Kansas City and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras, BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre della Toscana, and to the Warsaw Easter Festival. He has performed concertos with the Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, Toronto, London, Sydney, and NHK Symphony Orchestras, Moscow State Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, the Rotterdam, Czech, and Seoul Philharmonics, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, and l’Orchestre de Paris, among others, and he has appeared with acclaimed conductors such as Gergiev, Guerrero, Hrůša, Koopman, Pavel Kogen, Neemi Järvi, Pletnev, Slatkin, Sokhiev, Robertson, and Bělohlávek. Last season, Hakhnazaryan also gave several recitals with pianist Noreen Polera, performing lush, vibrant programs of Albeniz, Brahms, Cassado, Ligeti, Massenet, Schedrin, and Tsintsadze among others with San Francisco Performances, the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts series in New York. The cellist is Artist-in-Residence with the Malta Philharmonic and recently toured the UK, China, and Hong Kong with the Z.E.N. Piano Trio with colleagues Zhou Zhang and Esther Yoo; the Trio also released their debut recording on Deutsche Grammophon in 2017 with trios of Brahms and Dvořák.
An eager chamber musician and recitalist, Hakhnazaryan has performed in New York’s Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory, Chicago’s Harris Theatre, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Salle Pleyel Paris, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, Vienna Konzerthaus, Oji Hall Tokyo, Shanghai Concert Hall, and esteemed festivals such as Ravinia, Aspen, Piatigorsky, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Kissinger Sommer, Robeco Summer concerts, Beethovenfest Bonn, Mikkeli, Pau Casals, Lucerne, and Verbier, amongst many others.
Hakhnazaryan has received scholarships from the Rostropovich Foundation and the Russian Performing Arts Fund, and awards including First Prize in the 2006 Aram Khachaturian International Competition in Armenia and First Place in the 2006 Johansen International Competition for Young String Players. As First Prize winner in the 2008 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Hakhnazaryan made his debuts at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and in Washington, DC.
Narek Hakhnazaryan was born in Yerevan, Armenia, into a family of musicians: his father is a violinist and his mother a pianist. Mentored by the late Rostropovich, Hakhnazaryan received an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory of Music in 2011 where he studied with Lawrence Lesser. Prior to this he studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexey Seleznyov and at the Sayat-Nova School of Music in Yerevan with Zareh Sarkisyan. Hakhnazaryan plays the 1707 Joseph Guarneri cello and F.X. Tourte and Benoit Rolland bows.