A First Visit to Armenia

BY PETER MARCK

The Israel Philharmonic made its first visit to the Armenian Capital of Yerevan.  The city, dominated by Mount Ararat, a snow capped peak rising to 5500 meters, is an interesting mix of Oriental design and Soviet city planning. The Opera house and Republic Square, connected by a modern walking street, are surrounded by wide avenues and monumental buildings. In Republic Square, the fountains are illuminated and classical music plays while crowds cool off with ice cream cones. Behind the Opera house and facing Mt. Ararat is The Cascade, a sculpture garden of waterfalls and gardens. 

The ancient connection between the Holy land, Jerusalem, and the Armenian people and the modern connection between 2 small countries surviving in hostile surroundings is apparent when visiting this peaceful country. Maestro Mehta and the IPO received a warm welcome from the Armenian public.

Only a million people hang on to this dry rocky land. It’s been battered by both its neighbors, Turkey and Azerbaijan, for no reason other than religious heritage. It’s hard to believe that the same kind, generous and harmless people were victims of a terrible holocaust by the Turks and Kurds exactly 100 years ago and that the atrocities of 1915-17 continue to be overlooked by many countries.  

Due to a 24 hour virus, 4 horn players, 2 bass players, the bass clarinet player and the second trumpet player didn’t make the concert. At the last minute, we received reinforcements from the local orchestra and hope to see everyone healthy very soon. 

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Peter Marck joined the IPO in 1976 and since 1979 has been Principal Double Bass.