RIP: Lucina Agbabian-Hubbard (1928–2015)

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Lucina Agbabian-Hubbard conducted Komitas’s Divine Liturgy at the Hollywood Bowl in the mid-1990s.

Two luminaries were recently lost: Oliver Sacks and Wes Craven, for whom many tributes poured out. But in the smaller print, hidden in the back pages, I discovered the passing of another person from whom I had learned so much. Her name was Lucina Agbabian-Hubbard.

Alan Hovhaness, whose concert I’d attended at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1977. performed in memory of the Armenian genocide victims. The entire audience was in tears with women crying and beating their breasts. It was unbelievable.

Through Lucina I also discovered priest, composer and musicologist, Komitas, and learned more about the duduk virtuoso,Djivan Gasparyan, as well as other great Armenian musicians living right here in Glendale, California.

I once saw Lucina conduct the Komitas’s Divine Liturgy mass at the Hollywood Bowl in the mid-1990s: The concert began with Djivan Gasparyan opening, followed by the Divine Liturgy mass. The show closed with Henryk Górecki’s transcendent Symphony No. 3, Op. 36: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. It was an amazing night.

Lucina was born in 1928 in Cypress, where her father was minister of the Armenian Evangelical Church. At the age of four, her family moved to Aleppo, Syria. Then, after graduating from the American High School there, she and her family moved to Los Angeles, where she studied at UCLA.

I have learned more than I can express from experts in areas that I didn’t previously know much about. The same goes for African, Latin, Middle Eastern, Brazilian, and pretty much all world music, in fact. Often my teachers have appeared as guests on my show. Lucina was one of them; she joined me several times to feature Armenian composers and music, sharing the rich beauty of Armenian classical and folk music.

Through her dedication and active fundraising efforts, a $100,000 gift was raised to start a music school in Yerevan.

Lucina Agbabian-Hubbard, please consider this a thank you note from another one of your many devoted students.

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