Raffi Besalyan (Armenian: Րաֆֆի Բէսալյան) is an Armenian pianist and a professor of piano performance at Georgia State University. He was formerly afaculty member of Rowan University in New Jersey and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Besalyan received Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Yerevan State Musical Conservatory, Master's Degree from Rowan University, and studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Byron Janis and Sara Davis Buechner.
Besalyan has won top prizes in several national and international competitions. Among them are MTNA National Competition, Josef Hofmann International Piano Competition, Frinna Awerbuch International Competition, and Artists International Competition in New York.
Besalyan made his New York Recital Debut in Carnegie Recital Hall in 2003 to high critical acclaim. He regularly performs throughout North America, Europe, Russia and Asia. In Japan he is represented by Tokyo IMC,MAS management, and is a Guest Artist/Teacher of The Takatsuki Music Teacher's Association of Osaka and Yamaha.
Raffi Besalyan is a Yamaha Artist.
Genuine Descendant of Russian Pianism "Armenian-born pianist Besalyan possesses truly lucid and beautiful sound that reminds you of perfectly matched pearls. It was in the Rachmaninoff group in the first half, where the pianist displayed this quality with tremendous conviction. From the penetrating chords and piercing harmonies in the G minor Prelude Op.23 No.5, the beautiful melody leafed out and floated in the air, pouring out deeply personal inconsolable feelings. The depth of the melody in the bass of the G sharp minor Prelude Op.32 No.12 was admirably contrasted with the brilliance of the arpeggios in the higher register.
The rampant image of Mephisto roaming at will appeared from Besalyan's tenacious and unyielding chords and octaves, and his capricious, and at times, leisurely changes of the mood in Liszt's Mephisto Waltz. One could even hear the high-pitched satanic laughter.
The audience was dazzled and fully captivated by Besalyan's bell-like tone in the music by Armenian composers Komitas and Baghdassarian, which were performed with magnificent imagination and splendid colorful changes of tonality.
Earl Wild arrangements of Gershwin Songs were snappy and tasteful.
In Besalyan's rendition of Prokofiev's Seventh Sonata the "violence" and the "cool‐headedness" were brought out with much power and set apart vividly from Prokofiev's hollow and distorted melodies.
I must say, that Besalyan is a true heir of the mainstream of the Russian Pianism, like Horowitz."
(Izumi Hall, April 13, 2008)
Senshi Yokohara Chopin Magazine
Pianist wows audience in performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto "Standing ovation and cries of "Bravo" and "Encore" went to pianist Raffi Besalyan... mesmerized the audience with his gracious, delicate yet powerful presentation of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No.3."Armenian Reporter International, New York
"The flow of Baghdassarian's Prelude instantly changed the color and the air of Izumi Hall. The entire hall was devoured by Besalyan's glorious touch and crystalline sound...Besalyan was not just playing the piano, he was creating wonderful art, and treated the piano with his love for the music. " Sotokuan Press, Osaka, Japan