Dr. Armen Shaomian has been spending a lot of time preparing at the piano lately.
That is when he isn’t counseling the Miami Civic Music Association as the Vice President, assisting arts foundations with board recruitments, or instructing the future CEOs and moguls of the entertainment industry at the University of South Carolina.
Even with his full schedule, Dr. Shaomian is still making time to focus on his passion for music, particularly piano, by hosting and performing a concert on Nov. 8 to exhibit the works of Chopin, William Bolcom, and Babadjanian and Harutunian.
“I am hoping to give an overall presentation of classical music, both old and new, to my students and others who may not be familiar with classical music aside from what they have heard on movie soundtracks or orchestras while in school,” Dr. Shaomian said. “There is a lot of great music, so I wanted to perform some well-known pieces by Chopin as well as lesser known songs from Bolcom’s collection of Cabaret Songs, which really fusion classical music with Broadway and contemporary jazz.”
Dr. Shaomian, who holds Masters and Doctorate degrees in accompanying and chamber music from the University of Miami (FL), joined the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management (SPTE) at the University of South Carolina in 2012 as an assistant professor of Live Entertainment Management. In the past couple of years, he has gone on to create a unique course on leadership management in the non-profit performing arts, and has focused on broadening the entertainment portion of the department.
“Dr. Shaomian has added a new dimension to the department,” said Dr. Andy Gillentine, Associate Dean of the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport and Entertainment Management. “His expertise and training in music business and entertainment enable us to continue to grow and develop in new areas. I have great expectations that Dr. Shaomian will become a nationally and internationally recognized expert in these areas.”
While Dr. Shaomian spends much of his time working, teaching, and conducting researching in the business aspects of the music industry, keeping involved with the arts and performing portion has remained important to him.
Shaomian’s recent concert has provided him with the opportunity to focus more on his artistic passions, while also providing him with the opportunity to showcase his skills as a performer to members of the University of South Carolina and the Columbia community.
The event also gave five SPTE students the opportunity to practice real world event planning and management skills. The team, cleverly named “Shaomian’s Showmen,” have been working hand-in-hand with Dr. Shaomian, and are taking on many of the responsibilities of executing a successful live event.
“We’re fortunate that Dr. Shaomian is willing to put his reputation in our hands by allowing the students in our Event Planning and Management class to get the actual experience of completely handling an event,” Professor Frank Roach, who instructs the event class, said. “Even the textbook we use emphasizes that real life experience has to be gained in order for an individual to become successful in dealing with events. It’s unrealistic to think that you can sit in a class and expect to be a competent event manager.”
In conjunction with the SPTE course in which “Shaomian’s Showmen” are enrolled, the team is given the task of writing many in-depth documents, including event, operation, and contingency plans that will be beneficial to keeping the concert sailing smoothly from the time doors open until the last guest leaves. The students will also be present throughout the event, instructing volunteers and handling any last minute issues.
“This has been a great experience letting our students produce this event,” Dr. Shaomian said. “It has allowed me to concentrate more on the artistic aspect of the concert while the students have worked behind the scenes, taking care of the logistics. It has been rewarding for all involved.”
Joining Dr. Shaomian on stage were associate professors from the University of South Carolina’s School of Music, opera singer Janet Hopkins and jazz pianist David Cutler.
Professor Hopkins, who has toured in Japan performing with “The Met in May,” sang pieces originally written as short and dark but humorous poems set to music by William Bolcom. To close the performance, Professor Cutler, a well-respected music entrepreneur and versatile performer, appeared on stage with Dr. Shaomian for the grand finale piece written by Babadjanian and Harutunianof that will feature two pianos.
“I really enjoyed my first performance at the University and I think the work our students did helped to produce a great event for the community to thoroughly enjoy,” Shaomian said.
“Armen Shaomian in Concert” was held on Saturday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the recital hall of the School of Music, located on the University of South Carolina campus.