A diplomat with music in his soul

David Mnatsakanyan, diplomat and amateur musician, author of six symphonies, worked in India for five years and is now the Russian consul general in Goteborg, Sweden.
Mnatsakanyan, 58, of Armenian ancestry, has a special ritual for his dearest guests. It starts with a tea party and unhurried talk. Then the host goes to the piano.

Not that classical music surprises his friends, but they are amazed to hear the rare performer David is, with superb renditions of Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Handel, Brahms and Rachmaninoff.

He is also a composer.

"I dedicated My Way, one of my latest works, to my wife," David says.

He first performed it at the Goteborg Royal Club, where it was a sensation. The Russian coach of Adrian Schultheiss, Sweden's finest figure skater, was so taken by the music that he told Adrian to use it for the 2007/08 world championships. Adrian finished 13th - not bad for Scandinavia, which pays far greater attention to speed skating.

Music and diplomacy are the passions of David's life. Music initially dominated. He studied at a conservatory and played the violin in the Armenian Television Orchestra.

Diplomacy eventually took the upper hand though, and he entered the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Meanwhile, David did not give up on his music, and often played at amateur concerts. His friends would call him "Maestro".

Wherever David worked, be it Germany, Austria, India or Sweden, he never parted with the piano.

Spring, his latest endeavour, has an unusual orchestration, bringing together the Scottish bagpipes, the Indian sitar and the Latin American dulcimer. In a way, it epitomises a diplomat's life that sends him from one end of the world to the other. The piece is full of new impressions.

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