Born in Yerevan in Armenia. Graduated from the Yerevan State Conservatoire in 1996. A one-year course studying with Professor Musin at the St Petersburg Conservatoire in 1997 greatly improved his conducting skills.
In 1995 he was appointed an Associate Conductor of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and he has been the Resident Conductor of the Yerevan Symphony Orchestra. He has since taken advantage of many opportunities to further his experience. In 1996 Karen Durgaryan was the Music Director of the Britten and Armenia International Music Festival in Yerevan. Since 1997 he has been the Music Director and Conductor of the Yerevan State Music Chamber Theatre where he has mounted performances of Britten’s Golden Vanity, Orff’s Die Bernauerin and Adjemian’s Kikos. In 1997 he performed at the Aldeburgh Festival in Great Britain to great public acclaim.
In 2001 Karen Durgaryan assumed the post of Principal Conductor of the Armenian National State Opera and Ballet Theatre. In 2001–2002 he mounted productions of the operas Carmen by Bizet and Norma by Bellini, the latter being staged at the Bolshoi Theatre’s New Stage in Moscow in 2003.
In September–October 2002 he gave five concerts with the Symphony Orchestra of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari in Italy. In January 2003 as Assistant Conductor to Maestro Gennady Rozhdestvensky he performed the opera The Oprichnik by Tchaikovsky at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. In March 2003 he performed with the Orchestra del Teatro Regio in Turin. In May 2003 he mounted a production of Don Giovanni and has conducted six performances of Mozart’s masterpiece at the Thessalonica Opera in Greece. In October 2003 he performed Beethoven’s masterpieces with the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra and the São Carlos Opera Company Chorus in Lisbon.
In November 2003 he mounted a production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and conducted three performances of the opera at the Teatro Verdi in Sassari.
Since March 2002 he has been Resident Conductor of the Armenian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Under his management the orchestra has made numerous recordings.
Since 2000 he has conducted major performances by the Lebanese diva Fairuz, the Arab world’s greatest singer. Under his baton, Fairuz was accompanied by an international symphony orchestra and chorus and has performed at the Beiteddine Festival in 2000, 2001 and 2003. The CD Fairuz Live at the Beiteddine 2000 produced by Ziad Rahbani with EMI has won tremendous international acclaim.
The Beiteddine concerts were followed by performances with Fairuz in the UAE (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006), Kuwait (2001), Basel (Switzerland, 2001), Paris (France, 2002), Mohegan Sun, Los Angeles and Detroit (USA, 2003), Doha (Qatar, 2003), Amman (Jordan, 2004), Montreal (Canada, 2005), Athens (Greece, 2007) and Bahrain (2008). In 2008 the maestro appeared with Ziad Rahbani accompanied by an international symphony orchestra and chorus in Syria for five concerts as part of the Damascus Festival of Arab Culture Capital in 2008.
In June 2005 at the Ataturk Culture Centre in Istanbul maestro Durgaryan conducted two performances of the ballet Gayaneh by Aram Khachaturian during the Armenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre’s tour to Turkey.
Also in June 2005 he performed a programme of Sergei Prokofiev’s music at the Ravenna Festival (Italy) with the Luigi Cherubini Orchestra (Artistic Director – Riccardo Muti) and the Toradze Piano Studio’s soloists, including its internationally acclaimed director Alexander Toradze.
In May 2006 in Russia, maestro Durgaryan opened the XI International Musical Olympus Festival with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
In October 2006 under the baton of Karen Durgaryan, the Orchestra of the Opéra de Marseilles performed an enchanting concert with internationally acclaimed Armenian composer Ara Gevorgian in the Dome. In March 2007 and May 2010 maestro Durgaryan conducted another three concerts of Ara Gevorgian and the Silantiev State Grand Academic Orchestra at the Moscow Kremlin’s Grand Hall.
In May 2007 Karen Durgaryan and the Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice performed masterpieces by Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Arutyunian in Genoa, Italy.
In 2008 Karen Durgaryan made his debut at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg; the opera Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky was followed by eight performances of Aram Khachaturian’s ballet Spartacus. Collaboration with the Mikhailovsky Theatre continued with Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. In 2008 there were four performances of Spartacus at the London Coliseum. In late 2008 and early 2009, maestro Durgaryan had numerous engagements and tours with the theatre’s Orchestra and Ballet Company including five ballet performances in Venice and twenty-three ballet performances and symphony concerts in Japan. Another two ballet gala concerts were performed by the maestro in Venice in February 2009. In May 2009 and May 2010 maestro Durgaryan premiered the ballet Spartacus with the Armenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (production by Yuri Grigorovich) in Yerevan and Damascus. Karen Durgaryan has conducted numerous performances with the Mikhailovsky Theatre and the Kazan State Opera and Ballet Theatre between 2008 and 2010.