Hailed as “a true heir of the mainstream of Russian pianism, like Horowitz” (Chopin Magazine, Japan), “a keyboard phenomenon” (Fanfare Magazine), “a formidable pianist with a commanding presence and rich interpretive gifts” (American Record Guide), “a master of his art” (The Record Geijutsu Magazine, Japan), Raffi Besalyan has established an international reputation of a magnetic and passionate performer.
Assistant Professor of Piano at Georgia State University, Raffi Besalyan has toured North and South America, Europe, Russia and Asia. His performances have been applauded in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall (New York City), Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), and Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Moscow Conservatory’s Rachmaninoff Hall and Maly Zal (Russia), Izumi Hall and Phoenix Hall (Japan). He dazzled his audiences appearing as a soloist with many prominent orchestras, including Osaka Symphony Orchestra in Japan; Orchestra Sinfonica Del Festival Di Chioggia in Venice, Italy; Yerevan Symphony Orchestra in Armenia; Belgorod Symphony in Russia; Kharkov Symphony in Ukraine; New Jersey Festival Orchestra; and Moscow Chamber Orchestra, among others. Besalyan’s solo recitals have also been broadcast live on National Public Radio. Critics on both sides of the Atlantic have praised his performances for their virility, poetry and extraordinary technical command.
Besalyan visits Japan on a yearly basis for concerts, master classes and adjudication for PTNA, Osaka International Competition and International Chopin Competition in Asia arranged by IMC Music in Tokyo and MAS management.
In 2012 Besalyan established himself as an award-winning recording artist, receiving international accolades for his album “Dance, Drama, Decadence” (IMC Music, Japan). He also recorded for Koch International Classics. Besalyan recently signed with GRAMMY® Award-Winning record label Sono Luminus. His first recording for the label will be released in early 2015.
A native of Yerevan, Armenia, Besalyan studied at the Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children. He received his bachelor’s, master’s, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees (Aspirantura) from the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory as a student of Sergey Barseghyan. He received an additional Master of Music degree from Rowan University under Veda Zuponcic, and studied at the Manhattan School of Music with legendary American pianist Byron Janis and Sara Davis Buechner. His studies at the Moscow State Conservatory included classes with Alexei Nasedkin, Victor Merzhanov and Naum Shtarkman.
Former faculty member of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Rowan University in New Jersey, he has also served on the faculties of Festival Musica in Laguna in Venice, Italy, and the International Music Festival at Rowan.