Satik Andriassian and John M. Kennedy


In Face of Globalization: Identity Struggle in Multicultural Los Angeles


This paper presents a threefold perspective on the complexity of preserving cultural identity in multicultural societies. The first segment of this article will touch upon pros and cons of traditional music verses non-traditional. Second segment will focus on the integration of musics as a way of gaining a better understanding of other cultures. Lastly, exploring the issues of possible exploitations as the result of integration. The objectives of this paper will be demonstrated through case studies of several Armenian youth living in multicultural city of Los Angeles. In this paper two scenarios were explored and several children were interviewed. First scenario included those children growing up in households exposed to Armenian traditions and its music, specifically, vocal music with lyrics delivering cultural messages and teachings. The second scenario’s focuses on Armenian youth involved in non-Armenian music programs mainly symphonic orchestra. This group was exposed to diversity of sounds, musical structures and cultural backgrounds. The second scenario is an investigation on the concept of learning about cultures through their Arts. There are many issues packed with such practice. Primarily, why do composers borrow from music of other cultures? Is it matter of searching for inspiration and new ideas? Is it possible to awaken human curiosity, acquire a better understanding of cultures and built a mutual respect for all people through music. As an example Djivan Gasparian’s Duduk music in American Film music is explored. Finally, American composer John M. Kennedy will add commentary to discuss questions of exploitation when musical elements are borrowed from its original form and used in foreign context. Is acknowledgment to borrowing sufficient to maintain the integrity of borrowed music’s origins? These are some of the issues addressed in the third segment of this paper.


Satik Andriassian holds a Bachelor and Masters of Music in performance as well as extensive studies and research in ethnomusicology. Her research in music focuses on the dual role of ethnic music in diasporas, both as a form of entertainment and as a tool for fulfilling social and cultural agendas. She has contributed to Ararat Quarterly on several occasions and has given several lecture/recitals on the history of Armenian Music. Satik Andriassian is also an active classical guitar performer both as a soloist and in chamber ensembles. She has studied with Emmy Award winner Sharon Isbin at the Aspen Festival for four summers. She is the recipient of several awards including Sally Casanova Pree-Doctoral Fellowship and Galoust Goulbenkian scholarship.

Recognition for the works of composer John M. Kennedy includes the Charles Ives Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, grants from Meet the Composer, Inc., Young Composer and annual Standard Panel Awards from ASCAP since 1991. After years as a self-taught Rock bassist, Kennedy began formal training at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying Jazz bass and arranging, and continued at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, studying composition and double bass. After completing the B.Mus. in double bass performance he continued his studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with Leslie Bassett, William Albright, Fred Lerdahl and Eugene Kurtz. He has lectured for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, interviewing many composers including Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Christopher Rouse, Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, Osvaldo Golijov and Esa Pekka Salonen. Since 1994 he has taught music composition and directed the New Music Ensemble at California State University, Los Angeles.