Born in Anjar, in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon in 1971, Kevork Hadjian, a Lebanese of Armenian origins, was killed while fighting in Artsakh, on the Nagorno-Karabakh frontline, reported the Armenian radio Yerker.
The popular opera singer, known for his patriotic songs, was 49 years old at the time of his death.
At the onset of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, on September 27th, he joined a regiment of volunteers reportedly led by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) also known as Dashnak. Founded in 1890, the party operates in Armenia, Artsakh, and in countries with the Armenian diaspora is present.
Hadjian was not the only Armenian who volunteered to join the front lines at the start of the conflict. There have been numerous media reports, confirmed by France and the U.S., that hundreds of Armenians from around the world had enlisted as volunteers.
Hadjian was killed fighting alongside the Artsakh Defence Corps on October 7th. Shortly after his death, his platoon overran the Azerbaijani positions on the Varangatagh (Lulasaz) height.
Three days later, on October 10th, the two-week heavy conflict, which marked the fiercest outbreak of hostilities in the separatist region, came to a halt. Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire through Russia’s mediation.
However, it didn’t last. The fighting resumed the same day.
Hadjian’s relative Nancy Hajian told The National, “We knew he had volunteered after seeing a few Facebook posts about it. Then, last week, we got word that he was injured. But the news was ambiguous.”
“Relatives and friends in Anjar gathered at his mother’s house, waiting for the news,” she said. “And we knew it was going to be bad.”
According to his relative, Hadjian was always inspired by the stories of the mardigs, “the warriors of self-determination who fought for Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination.”
“He died as a mardig, fighting for the Armenians in Artsakh,” she said. “Of course we’re proud of that, but we are still mourning him greatly.”
Everything you need to know about Kevork Hadjian
Hadjian studied at the Zarehian Seminary in Antelias, graduating in 1992 to then enroll at the Parsegh Ganatchian Music School in Beirut, where he was initiated into formal music training.
He actively participated in choral groups across Lebanon, including the famous Fayha Choir in Tripoli and the Shnorhali Choir. He also trained the choir of his primary school, winning a choral contest at the Parsegh Ganatchian Music School in 1993.
After his marriage, he moved to Kuwait in 1994 with his wife Frida and only child Tatul, working as the executive secretary in the local Armenian community and church, where he founded a choir. He also taught music at the Kuwaiti Armenian High School.
One of his former students, Ani Sarkisian told The National that Hadjian was highly regarded by his students, who looked up to him. “It was clear that he loved his nation,” Sarkisian said.
In 2005, Hadjian joined the Komitas State Conservatory to study under the Armenian opera singer Parsegh Toumanian, graduating in 2009.
It was then that his musical career skyrocketed when he went performing “his unique operatic iterations of Armenian patriotic songs across Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.”
In 2011, Hadjian received a merit award as one of the top 10 finalists of an international contest of tenor singers in Italy
In 2016, he performed in Sharjah in an event that commemorated Armenian Independence Day and sang with the choir of Saint Gregory the Illuminator Church during his visit to the UAE.