Bio

Ara Sarkissian began studying violin at the age of four and continues to perform and teach both domestically and abroad. As a performer and advocate of contemporary music, he has collaborated with esteemed composers including Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Helmut Lachenmann, Wolfgang Rihm, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, George Benjamin, and Kaija Saariaho. Special highlights of his career include performing under the direction of Pierre Boulez at the Lucerne Festival held in Switzerland.


Previously, he has performed in ensembles including the Callithumpian Consort, New England String Ensemble, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Spokane Symphony Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra, and Guerrilla Opera among many others.


Having started teaching private violin lessons at an early age, Ara has nearly 20 years of experience. Additionally, he has coached numerous chamber ensembles in preparatory programs including the Pre-College Division at Stony Brook University, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. Additionally, he has coached violin sectionals for the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also served on the faculty of The Community Music Center of Boston where he was a violin and viola instructor as well as an assistant conductor for their chamber orchestra. Additionally, he taught violin and chamber music during a one-year sabbatical replacement at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis. While there, he performed as a member of the Ceruti String Quartet.


Ara currently teaches violin and conducts the Interlochen Arts Academy (IAA) Orchestra at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. Ara began teaching violin at Interlochen during the summer of 2008 and in the summer of 2009, he and his colleagues were featured on NPR's "Performance Today" for their performance of Bohuslav Martinu’s La Revue de Cuisine. He has been teaching year-round at Interlochen since 2014 and regularly graduates students into prestigious conservatories across the country. As a conductor, he prepared the IAA Orchestra for the internationally recognized 2016 NYPHIL BIENNIAL- a festival for modern music hosted by the New York Philharmonic. His work with the students received critical acclaim from Alex Ross of The New Yorker.


Ara received his Bachelors and Masters of Music degrees in Violin Performance with academic honors from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. His principal teachers were Marylou Speaker Churchill and James Oliver Buswell IV. Other important mentors throughout Ara’s career include Mary LaMonaca, Lynn Chang, Paul Biss, Carol Ou, Paul Katz, and Roger Tapping.


He lives in Traverse City with his wife, Amy, and their black lab, Sadie. He enjoys fly fishing during the summertime - a passion of his that was nurtured in synchrony with music by his father.


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