Hasmik Harutyunyan was born in 1960 in Yerevan. Her ancestors were from the province of Moush in Historic Armenia. She graduated from the Department of Vocal Music at the Arno Babajanian School of Music and the Yerevan State Pedagogical Institute. For several years, she worked as a soloist for the Agoonk Ensemble of Armenian National Radio. Hasmik was a soloist on the Music of Armenia folk music recording, performing with the Shoghaken Folk Ensemble. Her voice is also included on Armenia Anthology, Shoghaken’s award-winning CD released in 2002 by Traditional Crossroads. She has performed in concerts in Armenia and Europe, and traveled with Shoghaken to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 2002 Folklife Festival organized by renowned cellist, Yo Yo Ma. Hasmik also participated with several members of the Harutyunyan family in recording two albums of traditional Armenian folk music for Face Music in Switzerland. MP3 samples from Ensemble Karot, Vol. 1, can be found on the Shoghaken Folk Ensemble page. Another recording, Ensemble Karot, Vol. 2, was released in 2004.
In Armenia, Hasmik is known for her deeply touching renditions of the Armenian lullaby, often broadcast on Armenian National Radio or performed by Hasmik in concerts and at traditional music festivals and ceremonies. In Armenian Lullabies, a CD released in February 2004 by Traditional Crossroads, Hasmik sings a cappella and accompanied by the musicians of Shoghaken in a collection of lullabies from the provinces of Historic Armenia, including Taron, Kharpert, Vaspourakan, Armenian Cilicia, Tikranakert, and Eastern Armenia. Included on the CD is Parsegh Kanachian’s “Koon Yeghir Balas,” recorded for the first time with traditional Armenian folk instruments.
For Hasmik Harutyunyan, Meritorious Artist of the Republic of Armenia, and one of Armenia's leading folk singers, music and dance are life itself—happiness, sadness, and struggle. She feels it is her responsibility to keep traditional Armenian music and dances alive in their purest form. Hasmik draws inspiration from her ancestors in the province of Moush in Historic Armenia—especially her grandmother, Mafo, who sang to her when she was a child. Another great influence was her mentor, Hayrik Mouradian, the late folk singer and historian from Shatakh, near Lake Van. In Hayrik's honor, and to carry on his important work, Hasmik established the Hayrik Mouradian Children's Folk Song and Dance Ensemble. With respect to folk art, Hasmik considers it her most important work to present and pass on Armenian folk culture, carrying forward the legacy of Komitas.
In Armenia and around the world, Hasmik is well-known for her work with the Shoghaken Folk Ensemble and for her deeply touching renditions of Armenian lullabies. Her performances are often broadcast on Armenian National Radio and presented at traditional music festivals around the world. Her CD, Armenian Lullabies (Traditional Crossroads) was praised in a New York Times review as "The best Armenian recording worldwide."
An energetic and engaging performer and educator, Hasmik has performed and taught throughout Armenia, Europe and the United States. Hasmik's workshops offer a full-body and voice immersion into traditional Armenian culture.
Wherever she is, wherever she happens to be, when she sings, people stop to listen. Instinctively, they are drawn to the past, because the past is a part of who they are. Through her music, the collective memory of what it means to be Armenian resurfaces, reminding everyone of home. This is what she strives for, and what she works so hard to achieve.
I believe all music has the same roots. I learn what I can, and when I sing, I remember what I have learned. This enriches and gives color to the music. When I sing, my dreams take wing. I am also a trained mathematician, which helps me understand the meaning and logic of the song. In this way, my music differs from others’. — Hasmik Harutyunyan