Gabriel Lipuš, baritone
Karen Asatrian, piano
From jazz to operetta, a series of humorous, ironic and romantic songs
Music and arranging: Gabriel Lipuš, Karen Asatrian, Robert Stolz, Franz Lehar
Lyrics: Gabriel Lipuš, Erich Fried, Milan Dekleva, Andrej Rozman-Roza
The singer Gabriel Lipuš and the pianist Karen Asatrian have been friends for more than fifteen years and they have collaborated on various musical projects. This year (2022), they have released the album Das Land des Hechelns│Dežela vzdihljajev (Land of Sighs), for which Lipuš composed most of the music, with Asatrian contributing three instrumental compositions. The common thread of the album is a jazzy approach to the French chanson with a mildly ironic treatment of dead-serious wounds of the heart. Lipuš wrote lyrics for seven songs, two of which are in Slovenian, while two were contributed by Milan Dekleva and Andrej Rozman-Roza, and two by the Austrian poet Erich Fried. Jung san ma! Fesch san ma! was created by the German author of operetta librettos, Robert Gilbert. The subtitle of the album is From jazz to operetta, and in addition to the aforementioned song by Gilbert, it also features Lehar’s composition Dein ist mein ganzes Herz. It is an aria from Franz Lehar’s opera entitled Das Land des Lächelns, inspiring the title of the album. Most of Lipuš’s texts portray different types of people as slight caricatures, for example, those who like to chew the fat (Der Damppflauderer) or are greedy to distinction (Der Ehrgeizige).
Born in Carinthia, the baritone Gabriel Lipuš studied solo singing and jazz piano at the Land Conservatory in Klagenfurt, singing with Jay Clayton at the Academy of Jazz in Graz and solo singing with oratorio with chamber singer Kurt Equiluz at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. He graduated in 1996. Since 1993, he has performed as baritone and since 2007, he has performed as a tenor in Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. From 2001 to 2018, he was professor of solo singing at the conservatory in Klagenfurt. He is a freelance musician, working as the manager for the radio AGORA 105.5 in Klagenfurt since 2022.
As a soloist, he frequently collaborates with the RTV Slovenia Symphonic Orchestra and RTV Slovenia Big Band, the Chamber String Orchestra of the Slovenian Philharmonic, the Academia Ars Musicae, the Celje string orchestra, Euro Symphony Orchestra and the Carinthia Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with renowned composers (Aldo Kumar, Milko Lazar, Guido Mancusi …), conductors (Gudni A. Emilsson, Nenad Firšt, Ernest Hoetzl, Alexej Kornienko, Anton Nanut, Amos Talmon …), musicians (Karen Asatrian, Bernarda Fink, Bojan Gorišek, Mirjam Kalin, Annely Peebo, Wolfgang Puschnig, Primus Sitter, Tünde Szabóki, Marco Tamayo …), directors and choreographers, writers and actors (Wolfram Berger, Polde Bibič, Manfred Lukas-Luderer, Jožef Ropoša, Bernarda Oman, Judita Zidar …) from the entire Alpine-Adriatic region. As composer of incidental music, he has worked with almost every single Slovenian theatre. He has also written music for film, radio and television. He has recorded many CDs both as singer and composer. In 2004, he received the Support Music Award from the land of Carinthia.
Born in 1972 in Yerevan, Armenia, Karen Asatrian received his first education in classical violin and piano at the Tchaikovsky Music School in Yerevan. He then continued his studies of both instruments as well as composition at the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan. In 1999, he moved to Carinthia, Austria, where he finished his jazz piano studies under the direction of Dr. Harry Neuwirth with distinction. In 2001, Karen successfully graduated with a bachelor’s of fine arts in instrumental vocal pedagogy, receiving the state teaching certification for jazz piano.
Significant highlights of his musical career include the foundation of the Brahms Project (a jazz trio with a chamber orchestra) and the presentation of his original compositions with the Norbert Artner Chamber Choir. His success was marked with collaborations with The Bruckner Symphony Orchestra, Samul-Nori, Dee Dee Bridgewater, George Garzone and Jamaaladeen Tacuma. To name a few of his international and multifaceted activities, he has given performances at the Three Nights of Jazz Festival in Saalfelden in Austria, at the Jazz Festival Wiesn in Vienna and Sziget Festival in Budapest; he has rearranged and performed Brahms’s compositions; had numerous studio productions, given live, radio and TV performances with several jazz formations in Austria, Korea, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Armenia. In 2007, Asatrian received the Armenian Music Award in the category of Best Jazz Album for his CD Pathway. Asatrian is passionately attached to his roots and the Armenian musical tradition–in 2013, he founded an avant-garde folk jazz group Armenian Spirit. In the spirit of Western musical tradition, built on early Christian liturgy, Karen Asatrian has composed Prayer Wheel–a mass for choir, vocalist and jazz ensemble. The brilliant and much-noticed premiere of the 80-minute composition at the Concert Hall of Carinthia in January 2015 was followed by further performances throughout Austria, most notably at the Salzburg Festival 2016 in cooperation with the Philharmonic Choir Vienna. The latter performance was recorded and released in 2017 as a CD by Skylark Production, distributed by Universal Music Austria.
In addition to his artistic activities and performances, Karen Asatrian is a respected jazz piano professor at the Carinthian State Conservatory as well as the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.
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