(…) This is a unique children’s orchestra having a highly professional performing art (…)”
Maxim Vengerov, 2011
The world’s one and only UNICEF Children’s Chamber Orchestra was founded by conductor Sergey Smbatyan in September, 2009 within the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This unique orchestra is comprised of young musicians (aged 10 to 15), the real devotees of classic music, united around one fundamental idea – focusing through music the attention of the international community on the issue of children’s human rights.
Headed by Mr. Smbatyan the pupils of Yerevan Tchaikovsky Specialized Secondary Music School (which is considered the pledge for traditional performing art in Armenia) took their first steps to success: exactly like a first-grader is getting acquainted with the alphabet, bit by bit they comprehended all the nuances of high performing skills. The hard work yielded results in a relatively short time: UNICEF Orchestra presented series of concerts both in Armenia and abroad.
In October, 2010 the orchestra participated in the “Autumn Fairy-Tale” International Competition-Festival held in Prague, Czech Republic. The festival hosted 600 participants in 7 nominations. Together with another 7 orchestras the UNICEF Children’s Orchestra competed for the nomination “Instrumental Classic Music”. The performance of the orchestra had a huge success and was accompanied by warm greetings of the audience. According to jury’s unanimous decision the UNICEF Orchestra was recognized as the Grand-Prix winner of the festival and was awarded the 1st prize in the nomination “Instrumental Classic Music”. This was an unprecedented victory for the young musicians.
Today the orchestra’s repertoire is diverse both in style and content; it includes Armenian, Western European and Russian composers.
An important milestone in the history of the orchestra was the meeting with world-renowned violinist and conductor Maxim Vengerov in February 2011, Yerevan. Maestro’s master-classes to the orchestra were invaluable; S. Smbatyan received the warmest congratulations for the great work.