One might not expect a classical musician to be able to assemble and disassemble an AK-47 in under a minute. But Armenian-born violinist Henrik Karapetyan said this is one difference between the culture he was born into and the one he lives in now.
“It was part of our high school education in a country that only recently had to fight for its existence,” he said. “In the U.S., I had to learn how to not run late for rehearsals. It was still customary for a 3 p.m. rehearsal in Armenia to start at 3:15 and nobody was too tight about it.”
Henrik began playing the violin at age 6. He moved to the United States in 2002, eventually earning his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan. He began performing with the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra in 2004. He said his favorite memory performing with MOT was when Denyce Graves was singing “Deep River” at David DiChiera’s Grand Salute concert in 2017.
“I had to stop playing for a few seconds, my whole body was in shock, all in goosebumps, and my muscles just didn’t want to obey,” he said. “I was completely transfixed! It was one of the two or three best musical experiences in my life.”
Outside of MOT, Henrik plays in two to three local bands with music encompassing a variety of styles including classical, folk, jazz, Balkan, Klezmer, Celtic, Gypsy jazz and original compositions. In addition to music, he enjoys writing, drawing, painting, soccer, European films and good coffee.