Armenian conductor Sergey Smbatyan was born in 1987 in Yerevan into a family of musicians. At the age of four he started to learn the violin and was first taught by his grandmother before later studying with Bagrat Vardanyan and Zakar Bron. He begun his career as a violinist at the age of 13 and has received a number of awards at international violin competitions in Japan, Romania and Italy. As a soloist, Mr. Smbatyan has performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Moscow Academic State Symphony Orchestra, to name a few.
While becoming an accomplished concert violinist, Mr. Smbatyan showed great interest in conducting and started his studies at the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, where he attended conducting lessons of Yuri Davtyan, and the legendary Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. He graduated from both schools in 2009.
In 2005, when only 18 years old, Mr. Smbatyan founded the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia, which consists of young talented students and postgraduate students of the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, and became the Orchestra's Artistic Director and Music Director. A year later, SYOA was named the official orchestra of the Aram Khachaturian International Competition and in 2008 the President of the Republic of Armenia granted the Orchestra the prestigious status of a "State Orchestra" for their high professionalism and deep understanding of contemporary music.
Under Mr. Smbatyan's leadership, SYOA received invitations to renowned festivals such as Young Euro Classics, Crescendo and the Moscow Easter Festival, and performed at major venues including the Konzerthaus in Berlin, Opera Garnier in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and the Tchaikovsky concert Hall in Moscow. The Orchestra continues to perform regularly, giving 35-40 concerts each season. It has appeared at leading international festivals in collaborations with Vladimir Spivakov, Vadim Repin, Krysztof Penderecki, Maxim Vengerov, Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Simonyan and Denis Matsuev among others.
Mr. Smbatyan made his London conducting debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in spring 2010 as part of HRH Prince Charles' charity concert at the Windsor Castle. He conducted the orchestra again in 2011. The same year, he was selected to take part in the London Symphony Orchestra's public master classes as part of the "LSO Discovery" program for young conducting talents. Within this program, Mr. Smbatyan worked with the LSO under the direction of Valery Gergiev and Sir Colin Davis. In addition, he has taken conducting lessons with Riccardo Muti.
Highlights of his 2012/2013 season are performances with the Dresdner Philharmonie in the Frauenkirche Dresden and at the Dvořák Prague Festival with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.
A champion of Armenian contemporary music, Mr. Smbatyan is the co-founder of ACAF, the Armenian Composing Arts Festival. He also seeks active participation in charity projects, conducting at nursing houses, orphanages and universities throughout Armenia. In 2009 he founded the UNICEF Children Orchestra which gave numerous performances in Armenia and in Europe.
Sergey Smbatyan received his PhD in Fine Arts from the Institute of Arts of National Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 2009. In May 2012 he graduated from Royal Academy in London. He makes his home in London and the Yerevan.