Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe


Jacques Kodjian

Bektob Ismak

Bent El Shalabiya

Prior to the Civil War in 1975, Lebanon enjoyed a period of relative calm and prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, and banking. At that time, it was considered one of the banking capitals of Western Asia, which some even referred to as the “Switzerland of the East“. The country also attracted large numbers of tourists, so much to the point that the capital city of Beirut became known as the “self-proclaimed Paris of the East.”

From the late Sixties up until the Civil War, Lebanon was the center of music for most of the region. Musicians from Egypt, Syria and even Armenia came to Lebanon to record and perform there. A handful of record labels sprung up, and even for a short while the country had it’s own pressing plant – Société Libanaise du Disque. During this time, there were concerts and festivals featuring artists from all over the world, including Charles Aznavour, Joan Baez, Gilbert Bécaud, Dalida, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Julio Iglesias, Mireille Mathieu and many more

I do know that this record is from Lebanon. But as for Jacques Kodjian, I am not so sure. I do know he was of Armenian descent, but whether or not he was born in Armenia or Lebanon is unclear. Besides being a pianist, composer and conductor, he also ran his own record label “JK” and worked with other Armenians in Lebanon. When the Lebanese Civil War started, he left for America. There, he worked with Adiss Harmandyan. In 1996, Jacques Kodjian performed in New York City accompanying the Shushi Armenian Dance Ensemble.

Many thanks to Hany Zaki for the information.

Catalog number GVDL34 on Voix de l’Orient series for A. Chahine & Fils in Lebanon, manufactured and distributed by EMI of Greece, 1972.

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13 Comments so far
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Jacques Kojian is my father and he was born in Beirut. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife Rita.

Comment by Houri Kojian

God Bless your father for his unparalleled contribution to our culture Houri. I have met Jacques numerous times and seen him play. I love his music.

Comment by Bedros

Hi Houri,

Oh my God, I cannot believe this. I was searching for piano music for my daughter and I came across your father’s music and your name came up. We went to Ferahian High School for a short period of time. You were sitting next to me in my math class with Mr. Ananian. Wow. I hope you get to read this and I am speachless. Your father’s music music brought many memories back. hope to hear from you. Take care Houri.

Comment by Artak Ter-Oganesian

Artak,
Thanks for your email. Your name is familiar and when you mentioned Ananian I even got a visual. I hope you found the music you were looking for. I just had a baby girl and as soon as she holds her head up I’d love to teach her the piano. It’s too bad my dad is in Vegas and I’m in Florida or I would have asked him to teach her :) Good to hear from you. Houri

Comment by Houri

Dear Houri, I’m a pianist from Egypt and since my childhood I was taken by the way Jacques played the piano, he is the best pianist to ever deal with oriental music and also technically unparalleled.
Deepest regard and respect.

Comment by Hisham Niaz

HI HOURI,
BEING A FAN OF YOUR FATHER AND HIS MUSIC, AND MYSELF BEING A PIANIST , I AM LOOKING FOR THE MUSIC SHEET OF THE SONG “ARAJIN SER” COMPOSED BY YOUR FATHER AND THE LYRICS IS BY BAOUYR SEVAK. I HAVE FOUND THE LYRICS IN THE OLD MAGAZINES ONCE PUBLISHED IN BEIRUT 40 YEAR AGO, BUT WE NEED TO PERFORM THIS SONG AT A CULTURAL EVENT ORGANIZED BY THE ARMENIAN ASSOCIATION OF TORONTO IN CANADA. COULD YOUR BE ABLE TO HELP US FINDING THE MUSIC SHEET. THANKS AND GOD BLESS.

Comment by RAYMOND SARKISSIAN

i now Varoujan and his brother Jacque the Kodjian Brothers:i’m from Lebanon and studie piano with profesor Gelalian and mezzo soprano with Mrs. Perazzi.and there sister graduate or did at the Hripsimiantz Varjaran.Varouj and i we use to go to the concerts together ,and he was a great violinist,our last seen each other was 1959 in Lebanon and i ask him to sign my autographe with a picture of him playing the violin,since weall lost connections with each other including with all my friends and collegues from school and the conservatory: Meanwhile i’m always in my voluntary work with artist’s include the Opera House of S.F. and the Symphony,Ballets and concert’s,so as i always help students as i’m married to a S.F. teacher include his family .
The Kodjian’s are born in Beirut,Lebanon not in Armenia,
sincerely yours.
Marie(tchakerian) Johnson

Comment by Marei Johnson( Tchakerian)

Hi Houri, I am glad you remembered me, Congratulations on your new baby girl. Piano is my favorite and both of my daughters are learning, 11 & 12 years old. I became an aerospace engineer, but I now own a manufacturing company making LED light bulbs and other products. What have you been up to all these years? I don’t know if you remember Arlene Yepremyan, but I see her in Glendale once in a while. She is an optometrist. Anyway, good to hear from you and good luck in Florida. Are there any Armenians there?

Comment by Artak Ter-Oganesian

Artak,
I looked for you on linkedin but found a law student instead. I worked for a company that bought out an LED company in Wiesbaden followed by a company in Chicago… they used to be called PerkinElmer but were recently bought out by Excelitas. Anywhoo, I’m in trade compliance with focus on defense licensing…. so if you import components or export LEDs or modify commercially made ones for military use, you would need a compliance manager on staff (hopefully you have one;)). I work with the legal team establishing policy and procedures, conduct audits and trainings, yada yada…. I’ve been lucky to travel all over and love what I do but at the moment I’m consulting here and there just to keep my mind fresh but mostly being a stay at home mom. We don’t have nearly as many Armenians as LA…but we do have a church and the derhayr and his wife are pretty hip and cool and throw parties which are fun. Here is my email address for future… j_koja@hotmail.com …. and sign up to linkedin :)

Comment by houri kojian

Dear All,
I love Jacques Kodjian and have as many records as I can find. I went to hear him with Adiss Harmandian back in 1970′s in Boston. I am transferring the records to CD so I can listen in my car. It’s wonderful to read that he is well and wish he could teach piano to Houri’s child.
Seroun Wang

Comment by Mei Mei

Hello Seroun,
It is a great task that you have undertaken to transfer his music from old records onto Cd . How can I get a copy of his CD. I have searched a lot. Many yers ago I used to have a cassette from him but that was decades ago. Is it ppossible that you make a copy of the Cd for me. Please contact to make arrangements. I myself am a pianist and love Jacque’s works.
Thank you

Comment by Raymond Sarkissian

Hello, my name is Raffie Avakian (my name is pronounced Raffi), and I live in Tujunga, California. Ever since I was 3 years old (this was around 1980), I have been a big fan of Mr. Jacques Kodjian’s music and arrangements. I have a few albums from that time, when he worked with Adiss Harmandian and Paul Baghdadlian. I have two cassette tapes when he worked with Hovig Krikorian and Mardo Mardirossian (all these were distributed by Arka Records). I have even had one album where he worked with Manuel, where the theme song “Yerevan” was played here on the “Armenian Teletime” (with host and producer Sarky Mouradian). Mr. Kodjian is truly a legend. I wanted to know in Paul Baghdadlian’s albums he introduced an Armenian musician (at that time) who played violin & tar. If I remember, the musician’s name was Raffi Hagopian. I was kind of wondering of how Mr. Kodjian brought folkloric instruments into songs like this? Last time I saw Mr. Kodjian was in 2000, when he and Manuel performed at Beshgeteurian Hall in Pasadena, for a dinner-dance party that honored an Armenian-American radio program here in Los Angeles (“Happy” Harry Hadigian was the host of the radio program; he passed away in 2001). I would like to learn more (if possible). I wish I can get a chance to speak or write to him (if possible).

Comment by Raffie Avakian

did anybody know somethink about the actress sosie kodjian from the film…tears of happiness 1974

Comment by joseph




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