Biography

Joseph Bohigian is a composer and performer whose cross-cultural experience as an Armenian-American is a defining message in his music. His work explores the expression of exile, cultural reunification, and identity maintenance in diaspora. His music, described as “delightfully accessible and inventive” (SoundWordSight), has been heard around the world at the Oregon Bach Festival, June in Buffalo, Walt Disney Concert Hall, New Music on the Point Festival, TENOR Conference (Melbourne), and Aram Khachaturian Museum Hall. His recent piece Khazeri Yerazhshtutyun focuses on the gesturality of the ancient Armenian musical script called khaz and was written for the Festival Mixtur Composition and Sound Experimentation Workshop in Barcelona. He has also worked with performers including Mivos Quartet, Decibel New Music, Great Noise Ensemble, Argus Quartet, Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy, and Playground Ensemble. Currently, Bohigian is composing a work on the resettlement of Syrian-Armenians in the Republic of Armenia in collaboration with the Rerooted Archive.

Joseph Bohigian sits at the piano

Photo by Raffi Paul

In addition to composing, Bohigian performs as a percussionist, pianist, and laptop musician. He has premiered many new works and curated concerts of contemporary music for the Composer’s Voice Concert Series in New York, for which he was called a “triple-threat” by Time Out New York for his role as curator, composer, and performer. He founded the Fresno State New Music Ensemble and is a member of Ensemble Decipher, a group dedicated to the performance of live electronic music, with whom he has recently performed at the International Computer Music Conference, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Society of Electro-Acoustic Music Conference, and Network Music Festival.

 

Having grown up in the large Armenian community of Fresno, California, the themes of displacement, dispersion, and reclamation in Armenian culture are important influences on his work. In 2012, he traveled to Yerevan, Armenia where he wrote his piece Dzirani Dzar, based on the folk song of the same name, while studying with composer Artur Avanesov. In 2015, he wrote In the Shadow of Ararat, a work commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Ararat was premiered alongside other works by living Armenian composers and featured on NPR’s Here and Now and The California Report. He recently spent nine months in Armenia, where he composed The Water Has Found its Crack based on his archival research at the Komitas Museum-Institute and taught a laptop orchestra workshop at the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan.

 

Bohigian is a graduate of Stony Brook University, where he held a Graduate Council Fellowship, and California State University Fresno. He has studied with Nirmali Fenn, Matthew Barnson, Margaret Schedel, Perry Goldstein, Dan Weymouth, Kenneth Froelich, and Benjamin Boone.

Short Biography

Joseph Bohigian is a composer and performer whose cross-cultural experience as an Armenian-American is a defining message in his music. His work explores the expression of exile, cultural reunification, and identity maintenance in diaspora. Joseph’s works have been heard at the Oregon Bach Festival, June in Buffalo, Walt Disney Concert Hall, New Music on the Point Festival, TENOR Conference (Melbourne), and Aram Khachaturian Museum Hall performed by the Mivos Quartet, Decibel New Music, Great Noise Ensemble, Argus Quartet, Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy, and Playground Ensemble and featured on NPR’s Here and Now and The California Report. He is also a founding member of Ensemble Decipher, a group dedicated to the performance of live electronic music. Bohigian has studied at Stony Brook University, California State University Fresno, and in Yerevan, Armenia with Artur Avanesov.