Contemporary jazz with world beat overtones aptly describes the music of Canadian/Armenian multi-instrumentalist/composer Levon Ichkhanian. A third generation musician and artist of great versatility, Levon is proficient on the fretted and fretless guitars,oud, bouzouki and banjitar. Levon's musical odyssey first took shape in Lebanon.
This is how he describes it: "I had several monumental experiences growing up which had a rich influence on me culturally and musically. My Dad exposed me to jazz and continental music letting me sit in during his band rehearsal, and as the musical director for shows, the family would travel with him to places like Yemen, Jordan and Cyprus.
Classical and flamenco guitar music were introduced to me by my Uncles Joseph and Jaques. Joseph would often host gatherings filled with musicians, dancers and painters celebrating their art.
I also have vivid memories of spending summer trips with my family to the Northern part of Lebanon. At night there would be parties filled with traditional Armenian and popular Arabic music (Adiss and Fairuz were the favorites), dancing and lots of food that went on until the small hours of the night.
These experiences have influenced me profoundly in my music and in my person, as I continue to further explore the future"
He studied classical guitar under the direction of his uncle, Professor Joseph Ichkhanian. At the age of twelve, his family immigrated to Canada. One year later, he gravitated to the electric guitar and began his professional performing career, playing in a band with his jazz pianist father Edouard. Levon’s first professional gig was at the age of 13 with Adiss, the pioneer modern Armenian singer).
Levon's talent was sufficiently recognized throughout his formative years by various awards, most notably by the Canadian All Star Jazz Award received at the age of sixteen. Private studies with many different teachers followed suit, as did several scholarships, in particular one bestowed by the Ontario Arts Council, granting him the opportunity to attend workshops at the University of Toronto. Later, Levon had the opportunity to study with world renowned musicians Pat Martino, Jim Hall Steve Khan and Simon Shaheen.
Years of study and practical experience behind him, Levon shares his knowledge conducting World / Jazz Improvisation clinics, and has published music articles in Guitar Player and Canadian Musician magazines, to name a few.
Levon has toured throughout Canada, the Middle East, Brazil and the United States where he has played in clubs, concert halls and at international festivals, such as Peter Gabriel's WOMAD, MIDEM (Cannes), Chet Atkins Musicians Days Concerts (Nashville) and the Montreal Jazz Festival. He has performed with Mark Egan, Danny Gottleib and Muriel Anderson, along side Liona Boyd, and was featured in PizzaExpress' (London, England) Guitar Masters Series, which included Birelli Lagrene, Larry Coryell and Martin Taylor. He has toured throughout North America and Europe with Peter Murphy (former frontman of the band Bauhaus). Upon returning from A.R. Rahman's 3-D World Tour (with featured artists Udit Narayan, Siva Mani, Shankar Mahadevan, Alka Yagnic, Daler Mehndi and Hariharan) Levon is playing in the Toronto stage production of The Lord of the Rings orchestra.Read more
April 03, 2009
Master of Multiple Modes Levon Ichkhanian to Perform Intimate Concert...
August 24, 2008
Multi-Instrumentalist Levon Ichkhanian Olympic Tour with Dee Dee...
Travels "is a real tour de force - Levon's most ambitious album yet." --MUZIK ETC
"Travels is a worthwhile listen for any musician out there. Featuring contributions from heavyweights such as Alain Caron and Wilson Laurencin, the album blends many styles seamlessly together for an enjoyable listen." --CANADIAN MUSICIAN MAGAZINE
"Guitarist Levon Ichkhanian's Armenian Heritage makes his melding of jazz and world music seam natural... a fabulous player." --WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
"Levon's workshops were excellent. He inspires creativity and dedication to students and he does so by example. We thoroughly enjoyed it." Mark Spielman Department Head Selkirk College, Nelson BC
Levon brings his wealth of knowledge covering a span of over 25 years of professional experience in performance, touring, producing, recording and composing to his masterclasses. Levon is available for Clinics, Master Classes, Workshops & Residencies - One on One, Small to Large Ensembles. Formats are for the young student to the emerging and professional artists.
Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson
Dirt Farmer Music