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The third album from Levon Eskenian’s remarkable ensemble is its most adventurous to date. As well as reclaiming the music of esoteric teacher G. I. Gurdjieff for folk instrumentation, Zartir situates Gurdjieff in a tradition of Armenian bards and troubadours including Ashugh Jivani, Baghdasar Tbir and the legendary Sayat-Nova. In parallel, an emphasis on pieces for sacred dance reaches its apex in The Great Prayer, an entrancing collaboration between the Gurdjieff Ensemble and the National Chamber Choir of Armenia, which draws upon ritual music of multiple faiths. Arranger Eskenian says, “I believe The Great Prayer is more than a mere ‘composition’. It is one of the most profound and transformative pieces I have encountered in Gurdjieff’s work.” Zartir was recorded in Yerevan in 2021 and mixed and completed in Munich in November 2022 by Manfred Eicher and Levon Eskenian.


The Gurdjieff Ensemble

Vladimir Papikyan Voice, Santur, Burvar, Tmbuk, Singing Bowls

Emmanuel Hovhannisyan Duduk, Pku

Meri Vardanyan Kanon

Armen Ayvazyan Kamancha, Cymbal

Gagik Hakobyan Duduk

Norayr Gapoyan Duduk, Bass Duduk, Pku

Avag Margaryan Blul

Aram Nikoghosyan Oud

Astghik Snetsunts Kanon

Davit Avagyan Tar

Mesrop Khalatyan Dap, Tmbuk, Bells, Triangle

Orestis Moustidis Tombak

Levon Eskenian Artistic Director

National Chamber Choir of Armenia

Robert Mlkeyan Director



December 2021, Radio Recording Studio Yerevan