”Her voice, at once seductively childlike and worldly-wise, Alexa Babakhanian's music delivers with a haunting sense of melody that is uniquely hers." Tim Page, The Washington Post.
Composer, Multi-Disciplinary Artist and award winning pianist and singer, Alexa Babakhanian's music speaks in many genres, languages and settings.
Featured in Film, TV and Radio, Babakhanian has graced Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and countless halls globally and has performed and collaborated with members of The New York Philharmonic and Yoyo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.
An American mix (her father is Armenian from Iran, and her mother is Austro-Hungarian) she has a range of expression, including Improvisational free form, Tonal, Atonal, Classical, Modern, Extended Techniques, Pop and other genres.
Babakhanian came to The Juilliard School on scholarship and received multiple degrees. She was soon offered a nine record contract with RCA which she turned down.
An active performer, composer and educator, she has a prolific and broad output. "Perhaps I have had more artistic freedom of expression and exploration choosing to "fly under the radar" though I strive to move and speak for and to many!"
She's had works commissioned, performed and premiered by Rebecca Young, Associate Principal Viola of The New York Philharmonic, Japanese Gagaku Masters and numerous others both in the US and abroad.
Babakhanian has written hundreds of songs and lyrics in many languages including Spanish, Japanese, French, Armenian, Italian, Portugese, Arabic and English. She also writes for conventional scorings and instrumentation from solo to chamber to orchestral. Babakhanian is open and drawn to interesting sounds and instruments...some ancient, like the Gagaku Instruments of the Imperial court of Japan such as Sho, Hichiriki, Ryuteki. She describes them as "other worldly and timeless." She blends new with old, for example pairing Toy Piano and Sho in her work "Flighty Butterflies" and Viola with Three Gagaku Instruments in her quartet "Four's a Crowd."
She celebrates Old and Young in her Multi- Media work "There was a Child Went Forth" based on Walt Whitman's poem from "Leaves Of Grass" for performers 1-18 and 65-1OO. About the work, Babakhanian reflects "I like to lend voice to and represent the unrepresented."
Her new work "Dear Mr. Sondheim" about her own life is is a multi-genre musical/opera.
She recently finished her Opera"Lady Liberty And Las Damas De Don Quijote" the orchestral score and libretto solely created by her. She presented excerpts of her work in celebration of International Women's Day in Madrid, performing for the US Ambassador to Spain and members of Teatro Real and will also present that and excerpts of her new opera based upon Shakespeare and Amelia Bassano this season at the International Institute. “I am fascinated by Amelia Bassano, a Venetian “Mullato” hidden Jew and a member of the Bassano Family (who were the musicians of The Elizabethan Court.) She was the first woman poet to be published in England and highly regarded. Orphaned at age seven, Bassano was taken in by Lord Willoughby’s sister, Lady Bertie and at 13 became Mistress of Lord Hudson, Queen Elizabeth’s half brother and the illegitimate son of Henry the 8th. Lord Hudson was patron of Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the acting group of the royal court of which Shakespeare was a member. She is widely considered to be Shakepeare’s Dark Lady portrayed in his famous Sonnet.
Some think she may have written some of Shakespeare’s work. The Globe Theater recently commissioned a play “Emilia!” played entirely by women in which her character accuses Shakespeare of stealing her ideas. She was a fascinating figure in her own right.
I look forward to immortalizing her life and work in my Opera!"
Babakhanian's Song Cycle "Las Damas De Don Quijote" inspired by the women from Cervantes' masterpiece was recently performed in Madrid by Mezzo-Sopranos Anna Tonna and Nan Maro Babakhanian and Pianist Isabel Perez Dobarro as part of a cross cultural forum on Women in Music. The Cycle was performed at Lincoln Center's Bruno Walter Auditorium and was sponsored in part by The New York Philharmonic on January 24th, 2O18 and received an enthusiastic audience response and critical acclaim.
Her Multi-Media work with Japanese text based on Hyakunin Isshu and the art of Hokusai was premiered at Columbia University. It is scored for Gagaku Instruments, Piano, Percussion, Electric Guitar and Voice and is a theatrical work with dance and videography.
She has set music to film and vice-versa with multiple videos and in film, performing, producing and improvising the music and performances as well as editing the visuals.
Her performance of her song "In The Garden" most requested song on John Schaefer's program "New Sounds" and regularly aired on WNYC is also featured in her Opera.
Babakhanian is a regularly featured guest and performer on WKCR including the annual Bach Fest.
As a singer, her performance of "Scarlet Rose" featured on CBS has over a million hits on YouTube. She was recently featured on Lynn Crystal's program "Carnival Of Song" on WFDU.
She was recently selected and featured live on WNET's New York Stories.
As a pianist, she was one of seven Americans selected and invited to compete in the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland and has been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships.
Her solo performance of Debussy's "Des Pas Sur La Neige" is featured as well as her collaborations with players of the New York Philharmonic throughout the Commercial Film "Other Voices Other Rooms" based on the novel by Truman Capote.
"BABAKHANIAN" by Sol LeWitt.
A gift from Sol LeWitt to my parents upon the birth of my older brother Raffi.
It is a sculpture made of wood and cement.
Alexa Babakhanian rehearsing her work" Sol LeWitt/Rebecca Young" for Solo Viola and Orchestral Instruments and various combinations of instruments with Rebecca Young, Associate Principal Violist of The New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall.
Snap Shot of my video for my work "Chiaroscuro for Two Moving Toy Pianos and Dancer. Shot at The Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Riverside Drive. Performed by Giovanni Koll and Taka Kigawa on toy Pianos, and Choreographed and Danced by Stephanie Sleeper.
Performance of my Multi-Media work "...so runs my thought" for Gagaku Instruments, Featuring Japanese Masters: Takeshi Sasamoto, Hitomi Nakamura, Mayumi Miyata, Yumi Naroshi,Piano, Alexa Babakhanian,Voice , Mezzo-Soprano Sahoko Sato, Percussion and Electric Guitar. Oren Fader. Conducted by Carl Bettendorf at St. Marks. Choreographed and danced by Stephanie Sleeper. Narration and acting by Melissa Maxwell. Featuring videography of the artwork of Hokusai.
Babakhanian sings and performs her original music with members of Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble at Lincoln Center, January 2019.
"...Thanks again for giving us here at The Public Theater the chance to read LADY LIBERTY! It’s a wonderfully charming piece, and the way you weave your own story into the world of LAS DAMAS was a joy to experience, an ingenious act of fusion. I found your analysis of the professional and artistic tension between men and women to be timely and very well-observed. It was an honor to encounter the piece!"
Some Words from
THE PUBLIC THEATER
about Babakhanian's Opera
"Lady Liberty And Las Damas De Don Quijote"...
Miguel Zaneti (Teresa Berganza) encouraged Babakhanian upon hearing her song cycle "Las Damas De Don Quijote", deeming it worthy of being part of the Spanish Song Repertoire.