Ottawa composer John Sarkissian, is the author of symphonic, chamber, stage, choral, vocal and solo instrumental music. He has studied composition and piano at “Conservatorio Giuseppe Nicolini” in Piacenza, Italy, and in the United States, at UCLA, and New England Conservatory of Boston, where he received his graduate degrees. His teachers include the legendary Canadian pianist, Ottawa-born Johana Harris, and composer John Corigliano.
John Sarkissian’s music has been heard in Canada, the United States, Germany, Austria, Italy, Iceland, Poland, Armenia, Paraguay and the Middle East, and on NPR and Icelandic radio channels performed by such artists and ensembles as Hasmik Papian, Keith Lockhart, Doriot Anthony Dwyer, Anna Maria Pammer, Yeghishe Manucharian, Gottlieb Wallisch, Michel Brousseau, David This-Thompson, Maria Knapik, the Boston Pops Orchestra, National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, Orquesta Sinfónica de la Ciudad de Asunción, the Icelandic Youth Orchestra, the Arden String Quartet, Brass Domain, etc., and at venues such as Boston Symphony Hall, the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Yerevan “Komitas” Chamber Music Hall, Siglufjord Music Festival, Dominion-Chalmers, and others.
Sarkissian’s choral song-cycle “the Birds” on medieval Armenian poetry for soloists, mixed chorus and two pianos, and his “Theme and Variations for Solo Piano” have received 1st prize at the AAAA annual competitions in California. Most recently he received first prize at the 2010-11 International “Garden Music” Competition in Poland for his piece “The Lovers’ Garden” for soprano and chamber orchestra. This piece was given its North-American premiere on January 14, 2012 in Ottawa by the soprano Maria Knapik and the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra headed by the conductor David Thies-Thompson.
His music has been heard on PBS radio channels in USA, Rogers TV in Canada, as well as on Icelandic and Armenian radios. He has been a frequent guest of various TV and radio channels in Canada, United States and Armenia. Sarkissian became a founder-member of “Just in Time Composers and Players” in 1995 in Boston. He is a co-founder and co-director of the Austro-Armenian Music Festival (AAF)(2009). He has served as president of the board of Ottawa New Musi Creators in 2011.
His song cycle “Cypriot Songs for Maria Jane”, based on Cypriot folk songs has been published by and is available at Classical Vocal Repertoire. His recent CD “Just in Time Now and Then” contains his “Theme and Variations for Solo Piano” performed by Gottlieb Wallisch on Living Artist Recordings label. His next CD containing his song cycle “Songs of Ecstasy” on original Persian poetry by Mowlana Jalalledin Balkhi aka Rumi, and some new arrangements by Sarkissian of songs by Rakhmaninoff, Lutoslawski, et., is due to be released in 2017. This recording features soprano Maria Knapik, pianist Michel Broussau, and violinist/violist David Thies-Thompson.