Mary Kouyoumdjian (b. 1983) is a composer with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new.
In May 2017, Kouyoumdjian premieres her first MOR-commissioned work to open myself, to scream. The multi-media portrait tells the story of Romani painter and writer Ceija Stojka, whose art is a powerful testament to what she experienced as a survivor of three concentration camps during World War II.
Kouyoumdjian has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, Alarm Will Sound/Mizzou International Composers Festival, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the American Composers Forum/JFund, New York's WQXR, Music of Remembrance, REDSHIFT, Experiments in Opera, Periapsis Music & Dance, the Nouveau Classical Project, Duo Noire, Sugar Vendil, Friction Quartet, Ensemble Oktoplus, and the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble. Her music was presented by the 2016 NY Philharmonic Biennial at Lincoln Center, and her artist residencies include Roulette/The Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, the Mizzou International Composers Festival, and Exploring the Metropolis. Her music has been described as “eloquently scripted" and "emotionally wracking” by The New York Times and as "the most harrowing moments on stage at any New York Performance" by New York Music Daily. In her work as a composer, orchestrator, and music editor for film, she has collaborated on a diverse array of motion pictures including orchestrating on the soundtracks to The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus Features) and Demonic (Dimension Films). Based in Brooklyn, New York, Kouyoumdjian also actively promotes the growth of new music in her native state of California.
Currently pursuing her Composition D.M.A. as a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University, Kouyoumdjian studies primarily with George Lewis and Georg Friedrich Haas. She holds an M.A. in Scoring for Film & Multimedia from New York University and a B.A. in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied contemporary composition with Chaya Czernowin, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, and Chinary Ung; new music performance with Steven Schick; and modern jazz with Anthony Davis. Kouyoumdjian is a cofounder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering, served as the founding Executive Director of contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant, and teaches composition at the New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers Bridge Program.