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Ara Zerounian

November 26, 2026 October 29, 2012
Ara Zerounian
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Obituary for Ara Zerounian

Ara Zerounian, noted violist and beloved pedagogue from Detroit, passed away peacefully at the age of 86 in his home in Ridgefield, CT. He had recently moved from his home in Troy, MI to a new residence in Ridgefield in order to be near his family. His wife Peruz, had passed away in 1996. Zerounian was born in Detroit to Kegham and Anoush Zerouni and showed musical talent at an early age. After training in Detroit, where he attended Cass Technical High School, he went to Northwestern University in Chicago for his undergraduate studies, followed by the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY for his Masters. After serving in the US army in World War II, he returned to Detroit and immediately began a long and storied career teaching music in the public schools as well as privately, where he began the studies of some of the top string players in the world including his stepdaughters, the violinists Ani and Ida Kavafian. Zerounian was the first teacher of many other renowned string players including the former Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra and present Professor of Music at Indiana University, Violinist Jorja Fleezanis: Principal Violist of the Cleveland Orchestra and Professor at the Juilliard School and Cleveland Institute, Robert Vernon: Principal Violist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Michael Ouzounian: concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, Ralph Matson: Amalia Joanu of the Toronto Symphony, Carolyn Edwards of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Catherine Compton of the Detroit Symphony as well as many others. Mr. "Z", as he was affectionately called by his students, had one secret to being a great teacher that he followed faithfully, which was to "love your students". Zerounian also had a long affiliation with the Interlochen Center for the Arts, where he taught for many summers. He received many honors for his teaching, including the ASTA Teacher of the Year Award in 1977. After retiring from teaching in the schools, he pursued a performing career while continuing his private teaching, serving as Principal Violist of several of Detroit's community orchestras alongside his wife, who often served as Concertmaster. Zerounian established several philanthropic awards and scholarships, including the Zerounian Award as well as a fund for the Kavafians to pursue their musical careers after their father passed away in 1964. A few years later, he married their mother Peruz, and together they performed and taught while enthusiastically following their girls' formidable careers. They enjoyed 30 years of marriage, first living in Royal Oak and then in Troy. In addition to his loving stepdaughters and their husbands Bernard Mindich and Steven Tenenbom and grandson Matthew Mindich, Zerounian is survived by his brother Haig Zerouni and wife, Alice of Los Angeles, his niece Jenny Pritchard and nephew Craig Zerouni, also of Los Angeles. Visitaton Monday, November 5, 2012 from 6:30pm-8:00pm with a 7:00pm Prayer Service at the Edward Korkoian Funeral Home 836 N. Main Street, Royal Oak. Visitation Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 10:00am at the Armenian Congregational Church 26210 W. 12 Mile Rd., Southfield. Funeral Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 11:00am at the church.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012 11:00am

Armenian Congregational Church 26210 W. 12 Mile Rd. Southfield, MI


Monday, November 5, 2012 6:30pm-8:00pm 7:00pm Prayer Service

Edward Korkoian Funeral Home 836 N. Main Street Royal Oak, MI

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