SHANKAR PLAYS SHANKAR
Admired for his artistry and sense of humor, Armen Ksajikian joined LACO as associate principal cello in the 2001-02 season. He started out his professional career at age 12 with the Abkhazian State Philharmonic in the former Soviet Union.
Since 1976, Armen has been very active in LA’s musical life, working with such notables as Heifetz, Rostropovich, Van Cliburn, Pavarotti, Rosza, Giulini, Baryshnikov, Cage, Mancini, Corea, Dudamel, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Randy Newman, Zubin Mehta and James Cameron, and with groups such as the Eagles, Incubus, System Of Down, and with the Duke Ellington, Dancing with the Stars and Academy Awards orchestras.
Armen has appeared as a soloist with the Nacional Orchestre du Brazil, Pacific Symphony, and Hollywood Bowl and Los Angeles Chamber orchestras, and regularly subs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is a member of several ensembles including The Catgut trio, The Rio Trio, California String Quartet and the award-winning Armadillo String Quartet, with whom he performed Haydn’s complete string quartets in a 34 ½ hour marathon. He made his Carnegie Hall debut premiering a quartet by PDQ Bach in 1999 and has appeared in the Cabrillo, Colorado, Banff, Sitka Summer, Oregon Bach, High Desert, Park City and Venice Film festivals; the Rio International Cello Encounter and Jasper Festival of Music and Wine.
In 1993, Armen made his ‘limousine-driving” debut in James Cameron’s True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. Also a busy recording musician – he has over 1,100 movies to his credit – Armen played his own “death scene” in the movie.
Armen’s performances in “less conventional” venues include 16-day whitewater tours down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, “concerts for grizzlies” inside a clarifier tank of an old pulp in Sitka, Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro and at Neverland Ranch. He is particularly proud to have soloed with the Hiland Mountain Women’s String Orchestra at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center.