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The new Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra hopes to have a lasting impression

January 8, 2010 |  5:00 am

In an age of shrinking and closing in the arts world, Glendale has news of a different sort: a new orchestra.

The Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra will make its debut Saturday — a group of 14 under the baton of artistic director and principal conductor, Mikael Avetisyan — at First Baptist Church of Glendale.

At a time when the arts scene is losing funding, many questioned whether the idea was so great after all.

“In these kinds of circumstances, nobody would even think to put together an orchestra,” said Ruslan Biryukov, a cellist who started the orchestra with Avetisyan. “I was no different from them. If someone told me three months ago I would be giving an interview about starting an orchestra, I would have laughed. It’s ridiculous, right? It was a spontaneous thing. But it’s something so needed in the community.”

Saturday’s concert will include works by Bach, Karl Jenkins, Russian composer Andrey Rubstov and Armenian composers Arno Babajanian and Edward Mirzoyan. If things are successful, they hope to add works by Latin American composers, Chinese composers — “anything the people might enjoy,” Avetisyan said. Even pop music.

To read my story about the orchestra, click here.

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra debuts at the First Baptist Church of Glendale, 209 N. Louise St.; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9. $15-$50. (323) 663-3601 or

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Photo: Members of the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra. Credit: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times