Komitas (a.k.a. Soghomon Soghomonyan) was born on September 26 (on October 8 in the Old Calendar) 1869, in Kütahya (known also as Koutina) town, Ottoman Empire. Komitas’s ancestors migrated to Kütahya from Goghtn Province of Historical Armenia at the turn of the 17th century. His father, Gevorg Soghomonyan, and his mother, Taguhi Hovhannisyan, had delightful voices gifted by nature. The songs composed by them were loved in the musical life of Kütahya. Komitas’s mother passed away in 1870, and his father passed away in 1880. The paternal grandmother took care of the orphaned child and, after her death, the aunt looked after him. In 1876 – 1880, Komitas entered the 4 year Elementary School of Kütahya and then he continued his education at the college of Broosa, a city not far from Kütahya.
In 1881, Gevorg Vartapet Derdzakyan, who was the local prelate of Kütahya, took his way to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the spiritual centre of Armenia, to be ordained bishop. Following the pontifical encyclical of Gevorg the IV, the Catholicos of All Armenians, Gevorg Vardapet had to bring an orphan boy with delightful voice to Etchmiadzin to get enrolled at the Gevorgian Seminary. 11 year old Soghomon was selected out of the other 20 orphans.
August 3, 1896, Berlin
In 1895 – 1896, Komitas studied the principles of harmony with the Armenian composer Makar Yekmalyan in Tiflis (nowadays Tbilisi, Georgia). In 1896, Komitas left for Berlin to continue his education. The tuition fee was awarded by Alexander Mantashyan, the oil explorer and philanthropist. In 1899, Komitas graduated from the Department of Philosophy of Frederick William University (nowadays Humboldt University) and Richard Schmidt’s private conservatory. Komitas got the erudition of the renowned musicologists of his time, among them Oskar Fleischer, Henrich Bellermann and Max Friedlander. In 1899, Komitas became the founder member of the new established International Music Society. He presented papers on his research, made reports, gave talks and lectures on Armenian music at the conferences of the International Music Society.
July 18, 1902, Sanahin
In 1907 in Paris the first collection of works by Komitas was published, which included solo and choral arrangements of Armenian folk songs.
In Autumn, 1910 Komitas moved to Constantinople expecting more favorable conditions for his activities. He founded a choir named Gousan after Armenian medieval singers, which was consisted of as many as 300 singers. He toured much with this choir. At the same time, Komitas continued his research and pedagogical activities, published articles and presented papers at international events.
In 1912, Komitas’s ‹‹Հայ գեղջուկ երգեր›› (Armenian Peasant Music) was published in Leipzig, which comprised his vocal and choral arrangements of Armenian folk songs. In 1914, Komitas participated in the Fifth Conference of the International Music Society in Paris with three papers on Armenian folk music, Armenian sacred chant, and Armenian notation. Patarag (The Divine Liturgy) composed for the male choir was the creative achievement of this period.