Lullaby for Stepanakert
performed by Ensemble Decipher, KaiChen Cheng, and Ford Fourqurean
photo: Artsakh, October 2019 by Gariné Kevranian
Instrumentation: Four Treble Instruments, Drones, and Electronics
Premiere: December 8, 2020 - Ensemble Decipher, KaiChen Cheng, and Ford Fourqurean - Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Stepanakert is the capital of Artsakh, an unrecognized republic between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Formerly an autonomous region of Soviet Azerbaijan, the native Armenian inhabitants fought a war for their independence in the early 1990s. Since the ceasefire established in 1994, the region has been governed by Armenians, with occasional fighting on the border. However, on September 27, 2020, Azerbaijan, with the aid of Turkey, launched an attack on the entire line of contact, leading to full-scale war. For weeks, the civilians of Stepanakert faced daily shelling from Azerbaijan, causing over half the population to flee and the rest to shelter in bunkers. By the end of the war, tens of thousands of Armenians were displaced. Lullaby for Stepanakert begins with a siren warning of incoming bombs and cluster munitions falling on a street in Stepanakert on the morning of October 4, 2020. From the explosions emerges a reinterpretation of an oror (lullaby) transcribed by Komitas. The piece is dedicated to the people of Artsakh and all people who have lost sleep because of this war.