Hailed by the Chopin Magazine of Japan as a "true heir of the mainstream of Russian pianism, like Horowitz", Raffi Besalyan has established an international reputation of a magnetic and passionate performer. Active as a recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician, Besalyan appears in many important music venues worldwide. Critics on both sides of the Atlantic have praised his performances for its virility, poetry and extraordinary technical command.
Armenian-born Besalyan made his formal New York debut in Carnegie Hall after winning the Artists International Competition, and was subsequently invited to perform at Merkin Concert Hall on the Artists International "Outstanding Alumni-Winners" series. New York Concert Review described him as "Technically brilliant... Besalyan played with a great deal of temperament, speed and power... audacious spirit and poetic substance, deeply felt tenderness..."
Among his other competition awards are top prizes in the Josef Hofmann International Piano Competition, the New York Frinna Awerbuch International Competition, and the MTNA National Piano Competition.
In the recent years Besalyan dazzled his audiences in North and South America, Europe, Russia and Asia, appearing as a soloist with the Osaka Symphony Orchestra (Japan), Orchestra Sinfonica Del Festival Di Chioggia in Venice (Italy), Yerevan Symphony Orchestra (Armenia), Belgorod, Symphony (Russia), Kharkov Symphony (Ukraine), New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Owensboro Symphony (KY), Tulare Symphony (CA) and Moscow Chamber Orchestra among others. The Armenian Reporter Int'l - New York stated that "Standing ovation and cries of "Bravo" and "Encore" went to pianist Raffi Besalyan...mesmerized the audience with his gracious, delicate yet powerful presentation of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No.3."
Since his highly successful tour of Japan in 2001, Besalyan visits the country on a yearly basis for concerts and master classes arranged by Tokyo IMC, MAS management and Yamaha. Articles on Raffi Besalyan appeared in the Chopin magazine, Asahi, Sankei, Kobe, Nikkei and Yomiuri newspapers. After one of the recitals in Osaka, Sotokuan Press wrote that "The entire hall was devoured by Besalyan's glorious touch and crystalline sound...Besalyan was not just playing the piano, he was creating wonderful art, and treated the piano with his love for the music."
Some of the highlights also include recitals for "Keyboard Karma" series in Vancouver and "Overture Concerts" in Nelson, Canada; a concert tour and master classes in Japan, including a performance of Rachmaninoff's 3rd Concerto with Osaka Symphony, solo recitals in Izumi Hall and Phoenix Hall; also, recitals in Rachmaninoff and Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in Russia; appearances with the Jasper Quartet for BFCM in New York and, with Metropolitan Opera tenor Jon Garrison; live broadcasts of solo recitals on WPR/NPR -"Live from the Chazen" and fundraising recital for Madison Symphony Orchestra in Madison (WI); solo/duo recitals for "Yamaha Pianos" presented by Yamaha Corporation of America in New York City.
The CD recording, "The Bach-Busoni Edition" Vol. 1 with Sara Davis Buechner was released on Koch International Classics in September of 2008. Vol.2 is expected for release in the Fall of 2010.
Besalyan received his Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory (class of Prof. Sergey Barseghyan). He also received a Master of Music degree from Rowan University, and studied at the Manhattan School with legendary American pianist Byron Janis and Sara Davis Buechner. His studies at the Moscow State Conservatory included classes with Alexei Nasedkin, Victor Merzhanov and Naum Shtarkman.
Currently Dr. Besalyan is on the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he is Artist/Teacher-Associate Professor of Piano. Former faculty member of Rowan University in New Jersey, he also served on the faculties of Festival Musica in Laguna in Venice, Italy, and the International Summer Music Festival at Rowan. Besalyan has been active as an adjudicator for PTNA and Osaka International Piano Competition in Japan, competitions in Italy, and for various chapters of MTNA.
Raffi Besalyan is a Yamaha Artist. (www.raffibesalyan.com)