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Instytut im. Jerzego Grotowskiego
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Rynek-RatuszBrzezinkaNa Grobli
Modal Singing: A Journey Within Sounds


Workshop with Aram and Virginia Kerovpyan


Fri–Sun 22–24 April 2016, 10:00–13:00

Na Grobli Studio, ZARzone

The workshop will be conducted in English


Contact and application
Please email your completed application form by 3 April 2016 to Ewelina Sochacka at Please include in the subject of the email ‘VoicEncounters workshops’ followed by the name of the chosen workshop. We will get back to you by 5 April 2016. The number of places is limited.


Fee: 50 EUR


The main purpose of the workshop is to cultivate the awareness of modal chant. The progressive work starts by singing a drone and intervals of unequal temperament, leading the participant to learn Armenian liturgical chants by means of listening and memorisation. The workshop is intended for those interested in being initiated to the world of musical modes, whether they are Armenian speakers or not, and whether they are amateur or professional musicians.


The proposed work has two aspects: 1) proper vocal work which allows the participant to discover a natural voice involving the whole body, and

2) modal work which begins by discovering natural intervals that are not heard anymore in contemporary urban life. The participant learns to consider a melody within the framework of a mode, i.e. a sound environment, and not as a succession of notes or motifs. Thus, he/she is encouraged to discover the diverse interval genres and species, and then the modes they constitute on the basis of natural tetrachords. Chants with limited lyrics are taught in this perspective.



Aram Kerovpyan was born in Istanbul, Turkey, where, as a boy, he sang in the Armenian church. He learned to play the kanoun and studied the Middle-Eastern music system with master musician Saadeddin Öktenay. After moving to Paris in 1977, he devoted himself entirely to music, playing with various Near Eastern musicians. In 1980, Aram Kerovpyan joined Kotchnak, an ensemble performing Armenian folk and ashoug (troubadour) music. In 1985, he established the Akn ensemble specialising in Armenian liturgical chant. In 1990, he was appointed master singer of the Armenian Cathedral in Paris and started a training programme for the singing of modal liturgical chant, which evolved to become, in 1998, the Centre d’études du chant liturgique arménien. Parallel to his musical activities, Aram Kerovpyan participates in seminars and runs workshops in Europe and North America. He has a PhD in musicology and has published articles and books about the modal theory of Armenian liturgical music. Over the same period, he has been active in the world of theatre as a musician, teacher and composer, working with Arby Ovanessian, Simon Abgarian and Bruno Abraham-Kremer.


Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan was born in Washington, DC. She moved to Paris where she continued her music training. She has performed and recorded with various early, Baroque and contemporary music ensembles. She teaches singing, particularly in the theatre world. A soloist with the Kotchnak and Akn ensembles, Virginia Kerovpyan has been working with the modal system and vocal technique of Armenian song since 1980. Through this experience she has developed a voice production and ornamentation particular to the modality of Armenian music, which expresses the intrinsic musicality of the language, both for the classical language of liturgical chant, and for the dialects of folk and ashoug (troubadour) songs. Her interpretation brings to the forefront the essence of this music, making its discovery and transmission more accessible. She has sung in theatre productions directed by Arby Ovannessian, Simon Abgarian and Bruno Abraham-Kremer, and taught at the Charles Dullin School of Dramatic Art. She is the programme director of the Péniche Anako, a world cultural barge in central Paris, which features 15 to 20 events per month, ranging from lectures to world music concerts and jam sessions.


More information:,

As part of VoicEncounters, practical seminar