Komitas

is known as our greatest modern ethnomusicologist and composer. However, few people know that he has written a small number of exquisite poems.

Komitas (Soghomon Soghomonian) was born in 1869 to a poor family living in K├╝tahya (Turkey), whose members spoke only Turkish. A short while after being orphaned in 1881, he is noticed for his mental vivacity and beautiful voice, and sent to study at Echmiadzin. Very rapidly, he is attracted by the folksongs of neighboring Armenian villagers. He graduates from the Echmiadzin seminary in 1894, becomes a vardapet (doctor in theology) in 1896, continues his musical studies in Berlin (1896-9), then returns to Echmiadzin.

In 1910, he moves to Constantinople where he founds a choir and a music school. There, in 1912, he publishes a tract entitled “Armenians possess their own unique music.” In 1919, broken and mentally ill, was brought to Paris, where he dies, in 1935, without ever fully recovering from his physical as well as spiritual ordeal.