Vardan Ovsepian’s “Chromaticity” project was initiated in 2012 with the debut album of the group, which includes Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Artyom Manukyan . The repertoire is comprised of vignettes serving as vehicles for extended improvisations, integrating elements of contemporary western classical music and jazz.
Read a review of this concert by Greg Burk here
Vardan Ovsepian – piano
Artyom Manukyan – cello
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – viola
“Vardan brings his own sound and ingredients… I have never heard any musician quite like him in terms of harmonic awareness and melodic power. I suspect that he will prove to be quite a sensation…”Peter Erskine
Vardan Ovsepian is an Armenia-born pianist/composer whose studies include Yerevan State Conservatory, Estonian Music Academy, Helsinki Jazz Conservatory, and Berklee College of Music.
Vardan performs solo as well as with artists such as Mick Goodrick, PeterErskine, Jerry Bergonzi and David Binney.
In addition to teaching at The Musical Suite in Newburyport, MA, performed and taught master classes at Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival(AK), Maine Jazz Camp (ME), Towson University (MD), SusquehannaUniversity (PA), Bucknell University (PA), Wheeler School (RI), EstonianMusic Academy (Tallinn, Estonia), Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (Chennai, India), Sacheon International Jazz Workshop (Sacheon, S.Korea), Beijing Contemporary Music Academy (Beijing, China), CalArts (CA) and Berklee College of Music (MA).
Vardan has released 5 CDs with “Fresh Sound New Talent” label, independent releases of VOCE – Vardan Ovsepian Chamber Ensemble (2006 and 2013), plus several duo/trio albums. Recent awards and publications include First Prize at the Achava Jazz Award (Erfurt, Germany – 2017), Chamber Music America Grant for New Jazz Works program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (New York, NY – 2017), and a release of Peter Erskine New Trio album “In Praise of Shadows”.
Presently Vardan resides in Los Angeles.
Cellist Artyom Manukyan first made his name as a musician to watch in his native Armenia and traveled the world as the youngest member of the BBC World Music Award-winning Armenian Navy Band.
Currently living in Los Angeles, Artyom is equally at home on the stages of jazz clubs, concert halls and rock festivals, performing with major international artists including Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-D.M.C. fame and Grammy-winning Latin alternative rocker Draco Rosa, Natasha Bedingfield, scoring for film and television or leading his electro-jazz quartet.
Artyom’s genre-defying approach to playing the cello like a bass emerged from a combination of his conservatory training and exposure to the music of hallmark jazz bassists including Jaco Pastorius and Marcus Miller.
A native of Yerevan, the Armenian capitol, Artyom was influenced as a child by the music of both his mother, a classical piano teacher, and his father, a part-time DJ known as the biggest collector of jazz vinyl in Armenia.
“We listened to jazz 27 hours a day in our house,” he says. “At the time I didn’t know a cello player who played jazz, so I copied what the bass players were doing.”
Artyom spent five years completing his classical cello education at the State Conservatory, and began playing in jazz bands before joining the 12-piece “avangard folk” Armenian Navy Band in 2006, playing the bass as well as cello.
Since moving to Los Angeles in 2010, Artyom has been in demand as a session musician and soundtrack composer, as well as performing live with diverse players (Peter Erskine, Hadrien Feraud, Charles Altura, MdCL, Tigran Hamasyan, Herb Alpert, Vahagni, VOCE, Gretchen Parlato, Virgil Donati and many more. Currently, Artyom is touring his debut album Citizen.
Starting with violin at age 4, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson is now a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, music director, dj, producer, and educator. He has recorded on over 500 albums, films and TV commercials, working with the likes of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Smokey Robinson, Wayne Shorter, Billy Higgins, Ray Brown, Brad Mehldau, Hubert Laws, Dr. Dre, Flying Lotus, Sly Stone, George Clinton, and many others.
In 2009, to great acclaim, Miguel celebrated the beloved hip-hop producer J Dilla with an orchestral tribute with a 60 piece orchestra. In 2016, Miguel arranged, orchestrated, and conducted the music for the entire season one of the Netflix show, ‘Luke Cage’. 2017 saw Miguel performing the Dilla tribute in Europe, Los Angeles, and New York’s Lincoln Center, orchestrating for Mary J Blige and Anderson .Paak, working on film scores with Flying Lotus, 50 concerts touring in Stephen ‘Thundercat’ Bruner’s band, and arranging and conducting the music for The Dallas Pops Orchestra featuring The Roots, Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan, Bilal, and Robert Glasper.
In 2018, Miguel performed his tribute to J Dilla in South Africa for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and in Tel Aviv, Israel. Miguel also recently put a string orchestra of himself on the song ‘Make It Better’ for Smokey Robinson and Anderson .Paak before just finishing 10 orchestral arrangements for the Questlove curated WorldWide Tour ‘4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince’. 2019 saw Miguel recording and co-writing music on albums for Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Teebs, Seu Jorge, and many others.
Miguel has plans to release his first solo album ‘Les Jardins Mystiques’ on the Brainfeeder record label in 2021.