Father Gomidas (1869-1935)
He was born in 1869, in the town of Kutina in Asia Minor. His mother died when he was only a year old, followed in 1880 by the death of his father, Kevork Soghomonian. In 1880, Father Gomidas went to the Gevorgian Seminary of Ejmiadzin, and graduated in 1893. In 1895, he was ordained a priest. In 1896 he went to Berlin, to specialize in music. For three years he studied with musician Richard Schmidt, simultaneously taking courses in philosophy at the university. In 1899, after returning to Ejmiadzin, he was appointed musician of the Holly See and the choir master. For years Father Gomidas recorded, studied, and analyzed Armenian folk and clerical songs with the flair of an expert. He toured in the Caucasus and the great centers of Europe, where he gave concerts, as well as lectures about Armenian music and songs. In 1909, he went to Constantinople, where he lived until 1915. The Armenian Genocide ended Gomidas’ creative life. The agony of witnessing the massacre of the Armenian people left a deep trace upon his soul and his mind. From 1919 until his death, he lived in a mental hospital in Paris. He died in 1935. In 1936, his remains were transported to Yerevan and with exceptional ceremony were buried in the open air pantheon of the Gomidas Park.