Photo by Kassandra Hishida

Joseph Bohigian is a composer whose music is characterized by the obsessive pursuit of singular ideas and a gradual unfolding of sustained tension. His interest in loud, aggressive sounds stems from his background as a percussionist and is reflected in the jagged rhythmic quality common to his work. His music, described as “delightfully accessible and inventive” (SoundWordSight), has been heard around the world. Recently, his String Quartet was performed by the Mivos Quartet at June in Buffalo and his Subnatural Delights was premiered at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles by the the Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy. Bohigian’s upcoming projects include a commission for saxophonists Kyle Baldwin and Corey Dundee of the Kenari Quartet, an open-instrumentation trio for F-PLUS, and a piece for laptop ensemble on Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

In addition to composing, Bohigian is an active percussionist and pianist. An avid supporter of new music, he has premiered many new works and curated concerts of contemporary music for the Composer’s Voice Concert Series in New York City for which he was called a “triple-threat” by Time Out New York for his role as curator, composer, and performer. During undergraduate studies at California State University Fresno, Joseph founded the Fresno State New Music Ensemble, a group dedicated to the promotion and performance of contemporary music, and performed as the ensemble’s percussionist and pianist. Recent and upcoming projects include performances with SynthBeats (Stony Brook Laptop Orchestra), the American Creators Ensemble (Oregon Bach Festival), the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, and for a production of Anne Washburn’s play Apparition.

Having grown up in the large Armenian community of Fresno, California, Joseph’s Armenian heritage influences his work in many ways. In 2012, he traveled to Yerevan, Armenia where he studied composition with Artur Avanesov and traditional Armenian music at the Komitas State Conservatory. While in Yerevan, Joseph wrote and premiered Dzirani Dzar, a work based on the Armenian folk song of the same name, at the Aram Khachaturian Museum Hall. Further studies of Armenian music led him to write In the Shadow of Ararat, a work commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Ararat was premiered alongside other works by living Armenian composers at concerts Bohigian organized in Fresno and Los Angeles and was featured on NPR’s Here and Now and The California Report.

Bohigian is currently a doctoral student at Stony Brook University, where he holds a Graduate Council Fellowship and teaches undergraduate music theory and musicianship. He has studied composition with Margaret Schedel, Perry Goldstein, Matthew Barnson, Kenneth Froelich, and Benjamin Boone and percussion with Matthew Darling.


String Quartet

Performed by the Argus Quartet at the New Music on the Point Festival.