This Week in Armenian History

Birth of Lusine Zakarian (June 1, 1937) 

“When Lusine sings “Soorp, soorp,” all angels descend upon the Holy See and praise God for her singing and the grace bestowed upon her from above,” said Vazken I, Catholicos of All Armenians.  

He referred to Lusine Zakarian, one of the most celebrates voices of Armenian singing in the twentieth century, who is now most remembered for her splendid renditions of centuries-old Armenian spiritual music.  

She was born Svetlana Zakarian in Akhaltskha (Javakhk) on June 1, 1937, in a family of musicians, and studied at the local Russian school. In 1952, she moved with her family to Yerevan to pursue musical studies. She attended the Romanos Melikian secondary music school from 1953-1957. Then she entered the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory in 1957 and her singing talent soon became apparent. 

From 1959 to 1992 Lusine Zakarian was a soloist of the choir at St. Etchmiadzin Cathedral and soloist of the Armenian Philharmonia from 1965 onwards. She earned important distinctions from a young age; in 1967 she became Emeritus Artist of Armenia and in 1972, Popular Artist. From 1970 to 1983, Zakarian was a soloist with the symphony orchestra of Armenian TV and Radio. She is now most remembered for her splendid renditions of centuries-old Armenian spiritual music. She was also known for singing the international opera repertoire as well as Armenian traditional and church music. She won the State Prize of Armenia in 1979. 

Zakarian had many presentations in Moscow, Leningrad, Paris, and Marseilles as soloist with the Armenian State Academic Choir in the 1960s and 1970s, and also gave concerts in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, the former Soviet Union and various countries of the Near East. 

In 1968, Lusine Zakarian married the former priest Khoren Palian, also a noted singer of church music. She died in Yerevan on December 30, 1992, at the age of 55, and was buried at St. Gayane Church in Etchmiadzin.