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VEM Quartet keeping Armenian Music alive


A Thursday Concert was held this week with the VEM Quartet and Soprano Danielle Bayn, performing traditional Armenian music in the Performing Arts Building at Pierce College at 12:45.pm.

The VEM Quartet consists of Nicolette Kocsardy, Luke Kim, Stephanie Nagler and Nicole Sauder. It represents the new Armenian music program at University of California, Los Angeles, which, thanks to a kind donor, strives to raise awareness for Armenian music, as well as the Armenian Genocide.

The quartet seeks to create an appreciation for Armenian music throughout the community through musical performances.

Between the sounds of turning of pages and plucked strings, the VEM Quartet played music reminiscent of early 1900’s Armenia. The audience remained completely silent throughout the performance. (Probably unnecessary)

Nicole Sauder, a violinist in the quartet and a second-year graduate student at UCLA, has always loved music.

“Music has always been a huge part of who I am since I was young,” said Sauder. “You can work out your anger and emotions. It’s a unique opportunity to create something.”

Cellist Luke Kim, second-year student at UCLA, took a moment in between songs to briefly explain the various ways he can play the cello to produce different sounds.

The pieces performed by the quartet varied from dramatic pieces such as ‘The Violet,’ a piece about a flower that the wind comes to take to the ocean, but the flower says it cannot come as it will wither and die if it is plucked from its homeland, to more comical pieces, such as “Dearly Beloved,” an Armenian folk song about about a boy who sold his family’s goat to buy a lute to impress a lady friend.

When Bayn took the stage, the spotlight flashed brightly on her as the room fell silent. The music began and her voice filled the room. The haunting performance, called “They Say,” recounted a story of trying to rekindle a lost romance when one person has moved on.

The second-year Master’s student is currently majoring in music with opera at UCLA and has had a passion for singing since she was 10 years old.

“I’ve been taking singing lessons for 13 years,” Bayn said. “Music is such a great way to express oneself. It helps us get certain ideas across that are harder than just telling someone.”

Nicolette Kocsardy, also a violinist, is currently at UCLA as a full scholarship graduate student majoring in violin performance and teaches music to all ages.


“Before this quartet, I had no idea about the Armenian Genocide,” said Kocsardy. “It was a huge devastation, just like the Holocaust, and I feel people need to know more about it. By spreading Armenian music like today, I feel that will help.”

The performance ended with a mighty roar and applause from the audience, with one audience member thanking the quartet for dedicating its show to the memory of the Armenian Genocide.

The next concert will be held April 30 in Music 3400, with the Mahlis-Panos Project taking center stage.

Concerts are free and guests should arrive and be seated by 12:45 p.m., as the doors will be locked at 1 p.m.