Tigran Aleksanyan was born in the Ararat Mountains of Armenia. Music has been an important part of his life from early childhood, and his father enrolled him at music school at age nine. He started learning the shvi wooden flute, then moved on to the duduk.
It’s an instrument unique to the Caucasus and is generally considered Armenia’s most important and characteristic instrument. Usually made of apricot-wood, with a fat double reed, it's distinctive, seductively plaintive timbre has gained worldwide appeal.
Tigran studied with, among others, two of Armenia’s greatest duduk masters, absorbing their secrets and different techniques and developing his own musical style and voice. He also graduated from the Armenian Conservatory in 1992.
At this time, aged seventeen and having won a pan-national competition, he was already a member of the Armenian State Dance Ensemble's orchestra, and later also joined Akhtamar Dance Group, touring widely through Iraq, Switzerland, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and the UK.
Following a number of concerts in London he moved there in 2001, and since then has established himself as a huge asset to the UK music scene in general and world and folk music in particular, with excursions into film music and world jazz. The mastery of his instruments - duduk, zurna (strident shawm), clarinet, shvi and pku (small single-reed horn-pipe) - is formidable, he is a capable and inventive improviser. and his musicianship, while deeply rooted in Armenian traditions, isn’t confined to any one genre.
Tigran has been a member of bands including those of Yasmin Levy and Daphna Sadeh, and the multinational big band La Banda Europa is a session musician on records and film and TV soundtracks, and an orchestral guest soloist. He teaches duduk, including at Ross Daly’s Labyrinth workshop in Crete. He travels frequently back to Armenia, and there recently co-founded the National Duduk Ensemble of Armenia, whose debut CD has been released on the US label Traditional Crossroads.
Since 2005 he has recorded and performed with British zither-player and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Cronshaw in concerts, major festivals and national radio in Australia, Belgium, Finland, Estonia, Norway, Poland, Croatia, and the UK, including several times at WOMAD, and with Cronshaw, Finnish singer Sanna Kurki-Suonio and Anglo-Australian reeds player Ian Blake is a member of the quartet SANS, formed in 2011, whose debut CD “SANS Live” was released in 2014.
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