Sako Dermenjian is a Yamaha artist, and classical and contemporary guitarist with Armenian heritage, who came to Australia after leaving Syria when he was 17. He begins teaching at Wollongong Conservatorium this year and says that he is looking forward to being challenged by new students.
“Teaching has its challenges, but at the same time it is my passion, what I love to do every day. I am really looking forward to teaching students of all ages at the Conservatorium.”
He joins an incredible group of guitar teachers at WollCon led by Head of Guitar, Luke Tierney.
“I’m really pleased to welcome Sako to the team. He not only brings his skills as a classical guitarist to the teaching staff but a broader perspective including improvisation and a passion for other genres, informed by his rich heritage .” Said Luke.
Sako has performed extensively around the country including at TEDxUWollongong, The Peak Festival in Perisher, the Sydney Folk Festival, the Armenian Film Festival (Sydney & Melbourne), and has appeared on Fine Music FM, SBS Radio, ABC Sydney, and ABC Illawarra.
He describes the TEDxUWollongong experience as an incredible opportunity which allowed him to play to a worldwide audience and speak about his experiences leaving Syria.
“Every time I play my guitar it takes me from one reality, into another which shows me that 6 strings really can change the world.”
Sako was recently awarded First Place in the Open Guitar section at the Sydney Eisteddfod (2018), made the finals in the NSW Drs Association Instrumental Scholarship (2019), and in the same year competed as a state finalist in the Fine Music Young Virtuoso of the Year Award.
Besides playing classical music on his own, he’s been performing duos with other talented musicians such as Masha Mnjoyan (winner of the voice of Armenia in 2013) and exploring his Middle Eastern musical roots with Atif Badria (Arabic percussionist). He was awarded first place in the Instrumental Duets section in the 2019 Sydney Eisteddfod with WollCon alumna Anna da Silva Chen.
Sako is now recognised and endorsed as a Yamaha artist and joins the likes of 2Cellos, the Grigoryan Brothers and many more.
He has recently completed a Bachelor of Music (Performance) in Classical Guitar with High Distinction, at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and is also continuing a postgraduate degree.
Reflecting on his life as a teenager before he left Syria, he is humbled and truly grateful to be in Wollongong doing what he loves most – making music and teaching others how to play guitar.
“I like to live by one rule in particular: Continue working hard and never give up.”