Keepers Of tradition
  Introduction        Folk Arts & Heritage Program        Search Archives        Blog
Browse themes:
  passing it on: apprenticeships PreviousNext
Armenian oud playing
Berberian^John, Armenian oud playing, ; Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Berberian^John, Armenian oud playing,

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
John Berberian playing the oud; Apprenticeship - Armenian oud playing; 2001: Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
John Berberian's press photo from the 1970s; Apprenticeship - Armenian oud playing; ca 1970s:
Berberian Family Picnic (detail).jpg; Apprenticeship - Armenian oud playing: ; Franklin, Massachusetts; Collection of the artist
verticle bar Artist
John Berberian
Shrewsbury, MA
Web Site
verticle bar apprentice
Andre Markarian
Sutton, MA
"As a younger member of the longstanding Armenian community of Massachusetts, I sadly watch some of the most beautiful parts of my Armenian culture fade into history. Among these is our traditional musical heritage. With the ever-decreasing number of Armenian instrumental masters, 2000 years of musical richness slips through the fingers of this present generation of Armenian youth" -Andre Markarian

Massachusetts resident John Berberian is a master of the oud, an ancient stringed instrument that belongs to the lute family. His intimate knowledge of this instrument spans over forty years, and began with a passion for Armenian folk music that he inherited from his parents. Because the oud is found in many music traditions around the world, Berberian learned from Armenian, Turkish, Arabic, and Greek musicians as a young boy in his father's instrument repair shop. However, it was Armenian folk music that Berberian was always drawn to. Along with studying violin, he began learning oud in 1951, when he was only ten years old. Today, Berberian is well known for his mastery of "taksim", a unique musical style characterized by improvisation. "Taksim" requires knowledge of traditional modal systems, proper form, and technique; and is deeply rooted in traditional Middle Eastern folk music.

Andre Markarian has been an active member of the Armenian community in Massachusetts for all of his life. As a musician and dancer, he especially values the role that traditional music plays in this community and seeks to stimulate the next generation of future Armenian musicians. In 2003, John Berberian and Andre Markarian were awarded a Mass Cultural Council Traditional Arts Apprenticeship.
verticle bar Purchase Exhibition Catalogue