Harry Tavitian is …"the most interesting contemporary Romanian jazzman".
(International Herald Tribune - Oct 19, 1990).
Born in Constanta, Romania in 1952, from Armenian parents, Tavitian started classical piano at the age of 6. He graduated The Academy of Music in Bucharest. In 1970 he saw bluesman Memphis Slim live in Brasov, Romania. This was a major influence in his future career. After this event, he started singing and playing the blues and soon he made his first steps in jazz. In 1976 he gave up classical music completely for jazz.
The music of Harry Tavitian is characterized by an openness towards multiple influences and a great capacity of synthesis as well. Tavitian himself says: …"We are here in Levant and we are part of the world. We are open to world culture and open to spontaneity"… (from the interview "HARRY TAVITIAN - A CRY FROM THE BALKANS', by Bruce
Granath / JAZZ FORUM 102, nr. 5 - 1986).
The Romanian pianist has a style of his own, well defined in East European new jazz, through his incessant artistic experiences. His sound is a melting pot of Thelonious Monk, Mal Waldron, Cecil Taylor, Dollar Brand, folklore of the Balkans, contemporary chamber music, blues, old music. Also, his Armenian roots are obvious.
His music has a strong ethnic character. The Romanian spiritual area, where he has developed is a synthesis between the cultural traditions of Orient and Occident. In this area archaic convictions are still preserved and Tavitian's music is full of myth.
Harry Tavitian is concerned about the syncretism of the arts. In his performances he uses elements of instrumental theatre and costumes.
He wrote and played live the stage music for Shakespeare's "Tempest" and Kazantzakis' "Melissa".
Harry Tavitian performed concerts and attended important jazz festivals in România, Russia, Lituania, France, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Yugoslavia, Poland, Scotland, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Netherlands, USA, Armenia (as a personal guest of the president of Armenia), Slovakia, Switzerland.