Joseph Bohigian is a composer whose music is characterized by the obsessive pursuit of singular ideas and a gradual unfolding of sustained tension. His interest in loud, aggressive sounds stems from his background as a percussionist and is reflected in the jagged rhythmic quality common to his work. His music, described as “delightfully accessible and inventive” (SoundWordSight), has been heard around the world at such venues as the Oregon Bach Festival, June in Buffalo, Walt Disney Concert Hall, New Music on the Point Festival, Australian Percussion Gathering, and Aram Khachaturian Museum Hall. Recently, his Stone Dreams was performed by Decibel New Music at the TENOR Conference in Melbourne, Australia and his Subnatural Delights was premiered at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles by the the Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy. He has also worked with performers including Mivos Quartet, Great Noise Ensemble, Argus Quartet, and members of Yarn/Wire. Currently, Bohigian is composing a new work incorporating his studies of Armenian music at the Komitas Museum-Institute in Yerevan, Armenia.
Photo by Kassandra Hishida
In addition to composing, Bohigian performs as a percussionist, pianist, and laptop musician. An avid supporter of new music, he has premiered many new works and curated concerts of contemporary music for the Composer's Voice Concert Series in New York City for which he was called a “triple-threat” by Time Out New York for his role as curator, composer, and performer. During undergraduate studies at California State University Fresno, Joseph founded the Fresno State New Music Ensemble, a group dedicated to the promotion and performance of contemporary music, and performed as the ensemble’s percussionist and pianist. Recent projects include performances with SynthBeats (Stony Brook Laptop Orchestra), the American Creators Ensemble (Oregon Bach Festival), the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, and for a production of Anne Washburn’s play Apparition.
Having grown up in the large Armenian community of Fresno, California, Joseph’s Armenian heritage influences his work in many ways. In 2012, he traveled to Yerevan, Armenia where he studied composition with Artur Avanesov and traditional Armenian music at the Komitas State Conservatory. While in Yerevan, Joseph wrote and premiered Dzirani Dzar, a work based on the Armenian folk song of the same name, at the Aram Khachaturian Museum Hall. 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 at concerts Bohigian organized in Fresno and Los Angeles and was featured on NPR’s Here and Now and The California Report. In addition to his current research at the Komitas Museum-Institute, Bohigian will teach workshops at the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan in 2019-2020.
Bohigian is currently a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University, where he holds a Graduate Council Fellowship and teaches undergraduate music theory and musicianship. He has studied composition with Nirmali Fenn, Matthew Barnson, Dan Weymouth, Margaret Schedel, Perry Goldstein, Kenneth Froelich, and Benjamin Boone and percussion with Matthew Darling.
Joseph Bohigian’s music is characterized by the obsessive pursuit of singular ideas and a gradual unfolding of sustained tension. His interest in loud, aggressive sounds stems from his background as a percussionist and is reflected in the jagged rhythmic quality common to his work. Joseph’s works have been heard around the world at the Oregon Bach Festival, June in Buffalo, Walt Disney Concert Hall, TENOR Conference, New Music on the Point Festival, Australian Percussion Gathering, Aram Khachaturian Museum Hall, and more. His music has been performed by the Mivos Quartet, Great Noise Ensemble, Argus Quartet, Decibel New Music, Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy, members of Yarn/Wire, and flutist Robert Dick and featured on NPR’s “Here and Now” and “The California Report.” Bohigian is currently a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University and has studied at California State University Fresno and in Yerevan, Armenia with Artur Avanesov.