Armenian-American composer (1911-2000)
Alan Hovhaness (March 8, 1911 – June 21, 2000) was an American composer of Armenian and Scottish ancestry.
- My purpose is to create music not for snobs, but for all people, music which is beautiful and healing. To attempt what old Chinese painters called 'spirit resonance' in melody and sound.
- Alan Hovhaness, Hovhaness.com biography
- I propose to create an heroic, monumental style of composition simple enough to inspire all people, completely free from fads, artificial mannerisms and false sophistications, direct, forceful, sincere, always original but never unnatural. Music must be freed from decadence and stagnation. There has been too much emphasis on small things while the great truths have been overlooked. The superficial must be dispensed with. Music must become virile to express big things. It is not my purpose to supply a few pseudo intellectual musicians and critics with more food for brilliant argumentation, but rather to inspire all mankind with new heroism and spiritual nobility. This may appear to be sentimental and impossible to some, but it must be remembered that Palestrina, Handel, and Beethoven would not consider it either sentimental or impossible. In fact, the worthiest creative art has been motivated consciously or unconsciously by the desire for the regeneration of mankind.
- Alan Hovhaness, 1940 Guggenheim Application
- The greater the emotional intensity, the greater the simplicity.
- Alan Hovhaness program notes to “Avak The Healer” (1946).
- We are in a very dangerous period. We are in danger of destroying ourselves, and I have a great fear about this…The older generation is ruling ruthlessly. I feel that this is a terrible threat to our civilization. It's the greed of huge companies and huge organizations which control life in a kind of a brutal way…It's gotten worse and worse, somehow, because physical science has given us more and more terrible deadly weapons, and the human spirit has been destroyed in so many cases, so what's the use of having the most powerful country in the world if we have killed the soul. It's of no use.
- Alan Hovhaness, Interview with Ararat Magazine, 1971.
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