Life & Career
Emma Chopourian was born in Manchester and raised in Cyprus of Anglo-Armenian parents.
Born in Manchester, raised in Cyprus by Anglo-Armenian parents; a mixed bag of cultures, temparements and delicious foods have shaped Emma's life, and, we must say often her shapely body, which has continually changed size and amazed her friends over the many years.
Emma was transported into a musical world very early on. From about 5 years old she was composing little 'sound worlds' and stories. She remembers being transfixed by the sound of the piano and experienced pure states of joy - later as a meditator, she could understand these moments as being in 'Dhyanic' or 'Heavenly' states of consciousness. Those moments bringing a profound understanding of the transient nature of time and an insight into the nature of impermanence. She would find confidence in these visions as she began to study music to greater depths through her years of study.
Nature had similar profound effects on her early musical development. Summer holidays were spent with her family in the exquisite Troodos mountains in Cyprus. Hours of delighted playing in secret hidouts with her brother; she remembers' We just loved being there on top of the world, looking over the pine forest valley, amongst the wild flowers and volcanic rocks'. waterfalls, birdsond, the sound of the wind through the pines captivated her being.
Back on the coast, Emma lived right on the beach for much of her childhood: 'listening for hours to the sound of the sea, watching the waves come and go, a moment in paradise...'
Manchester was always there; born within a stone's throw of Old Trafford, her Uncle Peter Howard a press photographer who survived the Munich air disaster, visits to the ground with her Dad and brother to snap up autographs from Bestie, Chalton and all; ' The whole drama, glamour and excitement of all of that football world inspired me completely; my music, my performances, my disciplined practice and of course hours of football with my brother!'
Her piano teacher in Cyprus was an Armenian who had studied piano there; ' But I don't know who she studied with, she gave us loads of opportunities to perform, scary at first but fantastic in the long run, being able to play in front of anybody was a great start'
Emma went to boarding school in England for her A Levels, studying piano with Mary Sharp; ' She introduced me to Bach, more contemporary composers and lots of fugue study - wonderfully rich!' Again a beautiful setting inspired more contemplation of nature. Her friendships there are still firmly in place in her heart even now; 'wonderful girls, from all over the world, we did have a laugh...' Again lots of concert performances, Emma choosing more contemplative music;' maybe that balanced my boistresness!'
Emma studied piano, flute and composition with Philip Mead, Brenda Dykes and John Hopkins in Cambridge at Anglia Polytechnic University. 'A great place to be, beautiful, so much music happening, King's College Choir - I went to Evensong everyday almost! At College, lots of contemporary music, studying and playing. That's when I discovered Olivier Messiaen's music- a revelation, Philp Mead, my teacher played the 'Vingts Regards' at West Rd, we were all bowled over by the concert! Never heard the piano sound like that, I was 'overwhelmed' by the colours.
Friendships at college - still very much alive and deepening; Emma works with Gareth and Mandy Stuart at ZigZagMusic, all her CDs have been recorded there. Lucy Hare, double bass, has collaborated on the 'Sappho's Moon' project. Hazel Law and Peter Britton on 'The Long Winter Night'. 'Writing music for your friends is a joy and so easy! They are your family'
After College, Emma couldn't leave Cambridge...she has continued to lead a full, rich life there amongst all events and tragedies. 'my little house has been my main stay, through everything. There, always, my dear friends. Speaking of dear friends, Emma met Anne Page and Ian De Massini (Moore) then - life hasn't been the same since!!