Levon Ambartsumian was born in Moscow in 1955. He studied at the Moscow Central Music School and then at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory where his teachers were Felix Andrievski, Yury Yankelevitch, Leonid Kogan and Igor Bezrodny. In 1977 he was First Prize winner of the Zagreb International Violin Competition headed by Henryk Szeryng and two years later was a prize winner in the Montreal International Competition. This was followed in 1981 where he won the All-Union Violin Competition in Riga. Among his other awards have been Honored Artist of Armenia in 1988 and Honored Artist of Russia in 1997. Since 1977 he has performed regularly throughout the world and has collaborated with conductors and composers such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Fedoseev, Maxim Shostakovich, Aram Khachaturian, Alfred Schnittke, and many others. In 1989 Mr. Ambartsumian founded the Moscow Chamber Orchestra known as ARCO which has regularly performed in Russia and abroad. From 1978 to 1993 he taught at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and for two years (1993-1995) he was a Visiting Professor at Indiana University School of Music (Bloomington, Indiana) . In 1995 he accepted the position of Franklin Professor of Violin at the University of Georgia School of Music (Athens, Georgia). Mr. Ambartsumian devotes himself to contemporary Russian, Armenian and American Music and has performed several important world premiers. He has released several CD's including music by Wieniawski, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Vivaldi, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Bronner, Arutiunian and other contemporary composers. As a teacher he has given master classes in the USA, Russia, Armenia, South Korea, Canada, Brazil, and France. His former students hold principal positions in major European orchestras in Germany, France, Portugal, and Denmark, and many have been prizewinners at international violin competitions.
The ARCO Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1989 by Levon Ambartsumian at the world-renowned Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where he served as Professor of Violin. Almost immediately ARCO performances throughout Europe drew high critical praise and enthusiastic audience responses. The international acclaim grew in subsequent years following ARCO's concert tours in Spain, Germany, Romania, France and Korea. In 1995 Mr. Ambartsumian joined the University of Georgia's School of Music as the Franklin Professor of Violin, while remaining the Artistic Director and Conductor of ARCO. Because he was able to bring some of his students to America with him, the home base of the orchestra shifted to the West. The repertoire of the orchestra includes music of all epochs from baroque to contemporary.