(1897 - 1966)
People's Artist of the Armenian SSR, State Prize Laureate Haro Stepanian is one of the most talented and original composers of Soviet Armenia. He made a valuable contribution to the development of Armenian musical culture through his fruitful creative, musical and social activities. Haro Stepanian belongs to the generation of composers whose creative personality was formed, strengthened and reached its maturity in the conditions of Soviet reality.
The author of five operas, three symphonies, many songs, romances, chamber and instrumental works, Haro Stepanian contributed to the expansion of the ideological content, genres, forms, expressive means of Armenian music, updating and enriching its intonation language. Laureate of the Stalin Prize of the second degree (1951). People's Artist of the Armenian SSR (1960). He was born on April 13 (25), 1897 in Elizavetpol (now Ganja, Azerbaijan). In 1923 — 1926 Stepanian studied at the Gnesin Music College in the class of composition under M. Gnesin. In 1930 he graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov LGC in the class of composition under V. Shcherbachev. In 1930 — 1934 he taught at the Yerevan State Conservatory.
In 1937-1948 he was the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Union of Composers of the Armenian SSR. He actively participated in folklore expeditions. He died on January 9, 1966 in Yerevan. He is one of the first Armenian composers who turned in his work to the embodiment of images of the new era, the Soviet reality. The work of Haro Stepanian - a fine artist, musician of excellent taste and high skill - is deeply human, very poetic, marked by the proximity to folk art. Throughout his career Haro Stepanian gave preference to the chamber-vocal genre. Haro Stepanian's lyrical diaries-romances and songs number over 150.
As a student, he wrote two notebooks, including 4 romances (1924-1926). Two more exercise books were published later (1934): 4 songs in the first one, and 5 songs in the second (1935). The combination of declamation with songfulness is remarkable for Stepanian's vocal style. This period of his work is characterized by a lively and poetic style, refined and somewhat naive. In the late 30s, Haro Stepanian created " Songs of Alagyaz" cycle on the poems of A. Isahakian, consisting of two notebooks — op. 16 (1938) and op. 20 (1939). In this period A. Stepanian enters the time of maturity, finding his theme, his artistic world, the world of Isahakian lyrics. In 1945 he wrote "Table" (Astvatsaturan’s lyrics), "Hey, Mountains, Valleys", "Almond", etc., which were based on medieval Armenian poetry. In the same 1945, A. Stepanian wrote musical works for children - "The Wolf and the Cat" (Khnko Aper’s lyrics), and an album consisting of 12 songs — 6 mass wartime songs. All other musical compositions were written by him under the influence of the poetry of A. Isahakian. An artist like Haro Stepanian could not but appreciate the high poetic skill of Isahakian. As a result, one of the masterpieces of Armenian vocal music was born — "Hey, Aragats". The language of the composer, like the poet, is devoid of any artificiality, his music flows easily, simply and inspiringly.
Stepanian’s and Isahakian’s appeal to the theme of social injustice and oppression of the native people is conditioned by the feeling of the highest love and affection for the Motherland. A few years later, the composer created the "Native Waters" cycle. But the peak of Stepanian's creativity is the "Dreams" cycle. Eight pieces of this cycle make up a complete composition of the type of romantic poems, in which the piano accompaniment plays an important role. There are elements of sound intelligence in their rich musical texture.
Enriching Armenian romance with new themes and images, expanding the scope of its intonation sphere with the active introduction of Armenian folk songs (orovelov, epic songs), creating the genre of epic romance, Haro Stepanian opened a new page in the history of the development of Armenian musical romance.