Mary Kouyoumdjian 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.
Kouyoumdjian has received commissions for such organizations as the Kronos Quartet, New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble [ICE], Roomful of Teeth, OPERA America, Beth Morrison Projects, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Jerome Foundation, American Composers Forum, WQXR, REDSHIFT, Experiments in Opera, the Nouveau Classical Project, Music of Remembrance, Friction Quartet, and Ensemble Oktoplus. Her documentary work was recently presented by the New York Philharmonic Biennial and has also been performed internationally at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Barbican Centre, Mass MoCA, Cabrillo Festival, Big Ears Festival, 21C Music Festival, and Cal Performances. Her residencies include those with Alarm Will Sound/The Mizzou International Composers Festival, Roulette/The Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, Buffalo String Works, and Exploring the Metropolis. Kouyoumdjian’s 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.
Currently pursuing her Composition D.M.A. as a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University, Kouyoumdjian has studied primarily with Zosha Di Castri, Georg Friedrich Haas, Fred Lerdahl, and George Lewis. She holds an M.A. in Composition from Columbia University, 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. Dedicated to new music advocacy, Kouyoumdjian is a Co-Founder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering, served as the founding Executive Director of contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant, and served as Co-Artistic Director of Alaska's new music festival Wild Shore New Music. As an avid educator, Kouyoumdjian has taught at the New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers program, Juilliard's Music Advancement Program, the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and is on composition faculty at The New School's Mannes Prep and at Brooklyn College's Feirstein School of Cinema. Kouyoumdjian is proud to be published by Schott's PSNY.