Richard Melkonian is an award-winning London based Armenian-British composer who works across concert music, opera, theatre, film and performance art. In 2019 he was one of the Old Vic 12 and finished his MA in Opera Making at Guildhall School for Music & Drama in association with the Royal Opera House. His music investigates his dual heritage, blending the rich Armenian folk and liturgical tradition with a contemporary and British sensibility. Having studied filmmaking also, Richard's primary interest in making narrative films that use his own classical scores. He is currently working on his narrative film Fourteen Fractures, starring Babirye Bukilwa and Ben Mushumani, shot on 35mm film. In 2017, his first film November, starring Andre Flynn, was nominated for best experimental short at Blow Up ArtHouse Festival, Chicago.
In 2017, his commission by Mahogany Group to write new operatic work, The Finding, with libretto by Zoe Palmer was performed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. In 2015, he won the Mary Ryan Award for composition and was also a finalist for the AGBU Sayat Nova Competition where his piece Andastan (Անտասդան) was performed at Symphony Space, New York.
He has written scores for several films including Filip Firlej’s award-winning If It Be Love, premiered at the Raindance Film Festival, London 2015, Emma Swinton’s Isabella, and Aaron Leaman’s documentary Looking for Infinity: El Camino.
For theatre, he was Musical Director at The National in Cardiff for 'Hail, Cremation! in 2020. He composed original music for the world premiere of Arthur Miller’s No Villain at Trafalgar Studios in 2016, directed by Sean Turner. He has collaborated with Arab writers Ahmed Masoud as well as Sevan K. Greene on several plays including Nahda, part of Shubbak festival for contemporary Arab arts and literature. As a performance artist, he has performed at the Chalton Gallery and for London’s Art Night at Arnold Circus. Richard also works as a music producer and has collaborated with breakthrough artist Jordan Rakei on their duo project Kwalia with their first EP Pursuit soaring to the top of Spotify’s New Releases chart and playlists. His undergraduate degree and Masters in Classical Composition at the Guildhall was made possible by the Guildhall Scholarship Trust. Alongside composition, Richard also studied Jazz Piano with Barry Green.