The State Youth Orchestra of Armenia was founded in 2005 by conductor Sergey Smbatyan, who is also its artistic director and principal conductor. Young and talented musicians’ maturity to follow the right path of life, diligence and devotion to the art have smoothed their way for great stages and rapidly increasing international awards. In 2008 on the special decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia the Orchestra was granted the title of “State Orchestra” for their high professionalism and expansion of contemporary music.
The Orchestra has performed with numerous concerts both in Armenia and beyond its borders. It has performed in the most famous concert halls in Germany, France, Russia, Belgium, China, Netherlands, Italy, Lebanon and other countries, such as Opera Garnier (Paris), Konzerthaus (Berlin), Dr. Anton Philipszaal (Hague), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels), P.Tchaikovsky Philharmonic Concert Hall and Conservatory Great Concert Hall (Moscow), etc.
The Orchestra always make an indivisible part of prestigious international festivals, to name a few, “Moscow Easter Festival” (Moscow/Russia), “YOUNG.EURO.CLASSIC’’ (Berlin/Germany), "Kultursommer Nordhessen" (Kassel/Germany), "Young.Classic.Wratislavia" (Wroclaw/Poland), and many others. SYOA has appeared as the official orchestra of such prestigious international musical events as the Aram Khachaturian International Competition (since 2007), the Musica Riva International Festival (2013, Riva del Garda/Italy), the 9th Frederic Chopin International Competition for Young Pianists (2014, Foshan/China), the Al Bustan International Festival (2014, Beirut/Lebanon) and many others.
With close-creative relations with the masters of the world stage Valery Gergiev, Krzysztof Penderecki, Vladimir Spivakov, Maxim Vengerov, Denis Matsuev, Vadim Repin, Vahagn Papyan, Boris Berezovsky and many others the Orchestra has reached new heights in the music industry.
Young musicians are persistent initiators of new musical projects and series of charitable activities both in Armenia and overseas. Thus, since 2010 under the high patronage of the RA President Serzh Sargsyan the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia has been holding the annual Armenian Composers’ Art Festival, and since 2013 with the support of the RA Ministry of Culture the Orchestra has been realizing the annual Aram Khachaturian International Festival. The State Youth Orchestra of Armenia constantly presents new interesting projects, such as concert series entitled “Hollywood Non-Stop”, “Cartoon Non-Stop”, “Tours to...”, “SYOA Meets” and others. Another peculiar project is the regular serie “Master Creates Masters”. Within the framework of the above mentioned project the world famous masters such as Valery Gergiev, Zakhar Bron and many others have already presented master-classes for young generation.
The Youth Orchestra is a member of a number of authoritative international organizations, such as the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras (EFNYO, 2009) and the International Artist Managers’ Association (IAMA, 2013).
The wide repertoire of the Orchestra ranges from classical to contemporary genre. In 2011 the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia, headed by the artistic director and principal conductor Sergey Smbatyan, released its first CD entitled "Music is the answer". Recorded at Sony recording studio the CD includes works by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Dmitri Shostakovich and Eduard Hayrapetyan.
Sergey Smbatyan was born in 1987 in Yerevan in a family of musicians. At the age of four he started studying the violin and was first taught by his grandmother T.Hayrapetyan. Later on he continued studying with Bagrat Vardanyan and Zakhar Bron. He began his career as a violinist at the age of 13 and has received a number of awards at international violin competitions in Japan, Romania and Italy. As a soloist, Mr. Smbatyan has performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Moscow Academic State Symphony Orchestra, to name a few.
While becoming an accomplished concert violinist, Mr. Smbatyan showed great interest in
conducting and started his studies at the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, where he attended conducting lessons of Yuri Davtyan, and the legendary Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow simultaneously. He graduated from both schools in 2009.
In 2005, when only 18 years old, Mr. Smbatyan founded the Youth Orchestra of Armenia and became the Orchestra's Artistic Director and Music Director. In 2008 the President of the Republic of Armenia granted the Orchestra the prestigious status of a “State Orchestra” for their high professionalism and deep understanding of contemporary music.
Mr. Smbatyan made his London conducting debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in spring 2010 as part of HRH Prince Charles' charity concert at the Windsor Castle. The final chord of this project sounded in Armenia when Mr. Smbatyan conducted the concert of the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia held in the frames of project “Yerevan, My Love” in honor of HRH Prince Charles. He conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra again in 2011. The same year, he was selected to take part in the London Symphony Orchestra's public master classes as part of the “LSO Discovery” program for young conducting talents. Within this program, Mr. Smbatyan worked with the LSO under the direction of Valery Gergiev and Sir Colin Davis. In addition, he has taken conducting lessons with Riccardo Muti.
Highlights of his 2012/2013 season are the performances with the Dresdner Philharmonie in the Frauenkirche Dresden, with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Dvořák Prague Festival and with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra.
In May 2014 Mr. Smbatyan performed with the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra at the opening concert of the 19th Musical Olympus International Festival.
Smbatyan is the co-founder of both ACAF, the Armenian Composing Arts Festival as well as the AKHIF, Aram Khachaturian International Festival.
In 2009 he founded the unique UNICEF Children Orchestra which gave numerous performances in Armenia and in Europe.
Sergey Smbatyan received his PhD in Fine Arts from the Institute of Arts of National Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 2009. In May 2012 he graduated from Royal Academy in London.
Sergey Smbatyan is represented worldwide by Tanja Dorn/ IMG Artists.