Your Subtitle text

Dowland In Armenia for solo lute

Published with lute tab and guitar notation by:

GSP Guitar Solo San Francisco

At the 1981 Quebec International Guitar Festival lutenist Paul O’Dette heard Chobanian’s composition Songs of Ararat that is based on Armenian folk melodies; he subsequently commissioned the composer to write a similar work with Armenian themes for his Renaissance Lute.


In order to justify writing a composition with Armenian sounding melodies for the English Renaissance lute Chobanian made up the story that supposedly the English Renaissance composer John Dowland traveled to Armenia in1623 and was at the court of King Abkar of Armenia where he must have written this composition.


Lutenist Paul O’Dette premiered Dowland in Armenia at the 1984 Toronto International Guitar Festival. The program notes unintentionally omitted the word “imaginary” form the made-up program. As a result considerable confusion was created with scholars writing the composer to find out about Dowland’s supposed travel to Armenia.


The work has been recorded twice by lutenist Peter Croton, on separate CDs in Switzerland. Guitarist William Kanengiser has also recorded Dowland in Armenia on a CD entitled Echoes of the Old World. Guitar Solo Publications of San Francisco has published the work both as a guitar solo as well as in the original lute tablature. The form of the composition follows that of the Renaissance fancy or the ricercar. None of the melodies used in the piece are traditional folk tunes; they just sound Armenian.

Audio sample: Dowland In Armenia


Peter Croton - lute

from the CD "The Renaissance Lute - yesterday and today"

(Musicaphon M 56810)


Professor of Composition and Guitar as well as Composer-in-Residence at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory, Loris Ohannes Chobanian was born to Armenian parents in the Middle East. He was introduced to serious music at an early age. His father Ohannes Chobanian, an oil engineer and an amateur musician, was a versatile performer on the piano, the flute and the violin and often performed in quartets of Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. Chobanian performed the Classical Guitar regularly on Baghdad TV in the 1950s. And after 1960 he performed on TV in Louisiana and in Michigan. 


Dr. Chobanian was instrumental in establishing the BW Conservatory Guitar and Composition programs as well as the Focus Contemporary Music Festival. He has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Akron. An expert conductor, he often conducts his own compositions as guest composer with university, high school and professional orchestras.  Chobanian’s compositions are published by more than twelve publishers and many of his compositions are recorded on the following labels: New World, Dorian, Albany, GSP, Musicaphon, Blaze of Glory and BIS.


During the 2009-2010 academic year he has scheduled several premieres: Nocturne and Vivo for Cello and Guitar, Capriccio for Violin and Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Avarayr – Fires of Zarathustra for Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concerto for Piano Tuner and Orchestra.