Musician Raffi Rachdouni, a teacher at the Siamanto Academy, was interviewed by St. Stephens Saturday School student Hagop Ketchedjian, who follows the courses of second year at the Academy, and discussed his artistic beginnings and what drives his career.

When did you first become a musician and what was the reason that you became a musician?

I first started taking piano lessons at age 6 and continued throughout high school. I also enjoyed playing clarinet in band and singing in choir throughout high school. I always loved listening to Armenian music and played many pieces such as Toccata, by Khachaturian; Kakachner, by Spendiaryan, and Enzeli, by Avetisyan. I also danced in Armenian school and Hamazkayin ensembles.

How did you become a teacher for Armenian music? Why did you want to become a teacher?

When I began teaching private lessons as a young adult, I knew I enjoyed being in education. In college, I developed my talent, performed regularly, and fully immersed myself in the world of musicianship. I accepted the role as the music teacher at my Armenian school after college and have been serving the church in a variety of musical ways ever since, for example, one of the organists and Bible Camp music instructors. It has very much been my pleasure to be a music educator for most of my life, especially when celebrating the music of our wonderful Armenian culture.

Who is your favorite Armenian musician/composer and why?

 I would say my favorite Armenian musicians are members of the Shoghaken Ensemble and Nayirian Ensemble of Armenia due to their beautiful and rich interpretation of the music. I love the works of the aforementioned composers, as well as Arno Babajanyan and Levon Minassian.