Obituary: Anahid Ajemian, violinist and new-music proponent, 92

Posted on: July 5, 2016

“Anahid Ajemian, a violinist known as an ardent champion of new music, died on June 13 at her home in Manhattan. She was 92,” writes Margalit Fox in Thursday’s (6/30) New York Times. “A founding member of the Composers String Quartet, Ms. Ajemian also had an active career as a soloist. Praised by critics for the sensitivity, lyricism and tonal control of her playing, she was known for bringing to a wide listenership music by composers including John Cage, Kurt Weill, Carlos Surinach and her fellow Armenian-American Alan Hovhaness. Ms. Ajemian recorded extensively and gave the United States or world premieres of many new works, a number of which—among them Ben Weber’s Sonata da Camera and Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Violin With Percussion Orchestra—were written expressly for her. She also performed frequently with her elder sister, the pianist Maro Ajemian.… With the violinist Matthew Raimondi, the violist Bernard Zaslav and the cellist Seymour Barab, Ms. Ajemian founded the Composers String Quartet in the mid-1960s.… The ensemble, which continued performing worldwide through the 1990s, was in residence at the New England Conservatory and later at Columbia University; Ms. Ajemian was a longtime member of the Columbia faculty.” Survivors include her husband, George Avakian, two daughters, and a son.

Posted July 5, 2016