"The sound of Ancient Armenia reinvented for the 21st century."    Tigran Mansurian 

This is a 6 minute film featuring excerpts from The Naghash Ensemble performing in Frankfurt.

Composer/artistic director John Hodian has completed an orchestral version of “Songs of Exile” which allows for collaboration between an orchestra and the musicians of The Naghash Ensemble. The ensemble consists of six of the finest musicians and singers from Armenia; 3 female vocal soloists along with oud, duduk and dhol. The orchestra parts are for any size string orchestra.

“Songs of Exile” combines the earthy spirituality of Armenian folk song, contemporary post-minimalism and the energy of rock and jazz. Based on texts by the medieval Armenian mystic poet and priest, M’krtich Naghash, “Songs from Exile” is a profound meditation on man's relationship to God from the perspective of a monk forced to live in exile for many years. 

Composer's notes on Orchestral Naghash
After writing, recording and touring with The Naghash Ensemble’s “Songs of Exile”, I wanted to find a way for the music to be ideally expressed without the limitations of a touring budget. In rewriting for string orchestra what had been a string quartet part (and then made into a piano part for the sake of the traveling ensemble), I felt liberated to expand upon the many polyrhythms and contrapuntal lines that had been in the original score.

With the members of the ensemble playing indigenous instruments, the music retains its unique Armenian characteristics and the soloists are free to embellish spontaneously. The vocalists each have a deep connection to Armenian folk song as well as extensive conservatory training. From a practical standpoint, the vocal and instrumental soloists already know their parts intimately so rehearsal time is kept to a minimum.

For more information about The Naghash Ensemble visit

For Inquiries contact: Wiebke Zollmann
Tel: + 49 152 04131894
Perusal scores available upon request.

“East meets West and antiquity meets modernity in this collection of ruminations, lamentations and incantations. Intriguing yet accessible.”   — NPR