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Detroit violist and pedagogue Ara Zerounian dies aged 86

November 5, 2012

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The violist and pedagogue Ara Zerounian, who taught for many years in Detroit public schools as well as privately, has died at the age of 86.

After serving in the army during World War II, the Detroit-born Zerounian went to Northwestern University in Chicago for his undergraduate studies, and attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester for his Masters. He then returned to Detroit and began a long teaching career.

Some of Zerounian’s pupils have gone on to have international careers as soloists, chamber musicians and orchestral players, among them the violinists Ida and Ani Kavafian; violist Kim Kashkashian; Jorja Fleezanis, former Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster; Robert Vernon, principal violist of the Cleveland Orchestra; and Michael Ouzounian, principal violist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Zerounian taught for many years at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. After retiring from teaching in public schools he continued to teach privately and served as principal viola in Detroit community orchestras.

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