Among the various accolades attributed to Serj Tankian - the multi-media artist and globally conscious activist has also proved to be an important ambassador for heavy culture with his work outside the conventional circles of metal music.
His work as a composer and songwriter has seen several orchestral iterations, of which his most recent presentation, Invocations, could arguably be framed as his most ambitious endeavor to date. Taking to The Soraya at his alma mater of California State University Northridge, Tankian enlisted not only the CSUN Orchestra and the choral talents of the Northridge Singers, but a ensemble of accomplished, classically-honed musicians to help underscore the scope of his masterful solo catalog.
Among the collaborators that flanked Tankian for the landmark event included pianist Lana Drincic, vocalist Azam Ali, Armenian windwood specialist Jivan Gasparyan Jr., tenor Brian Thorsett, soprano Francesca Genco and revered Abysmal Dawn frontman Charles Elliot - just to name a few.
Leading compositions like the Armenian hymn "Der Voghormia", the continuity of the suite placed an emphasis on Tankian's balance of personal narrative and cultural pride. Embracing every opportunity to tell the story of his countrymen, Tankian does not shy away from speaking of the generational oppression that has marred his homeland, while simultaneously offering a sense of hope and resilience in the face of cultural subjugation.
The totality of Invocations speaks to the kind of impact Serj Tankian has had at the intersection of contemporary art and social activism. Formative in his career as a metal frontman, relentless in his pursuit of social reform and political accountability and dynamically driven to constantly evolve in his artistry, the compositions of his latest suite showcase the breadth of Tankian, and yet still only scratch the surface.
See the exclusive images of Serj Tankian's Invocations shot by Maurice Nunez below.