Guy Manoukian’s persistence emerged from his early childhood. The Lebanese-Armenian composer first appeared on television when he was six years old, and was only seven when he performed at the Presidential Palace. He started composing music a year later, winning his first competition.
Although he initially wanted to become a professional basketball player, it was Manoukian’s love for music that captivated him. Eventually, he realized that being a pianist is his true calling, and so he devoted his life to producing the wonderful musical pieces we know today. The musician, composer, and pianist has since been a key musical player, both locally and internationally, for the last 20 years. Not only has he worked with the industry’s biggest names in the US, but his fusion of oriental melodies with modern arrangements has taken him all over the world and earned him a plethora of awards.
Manoukian did not reach this prominent position easily. He not only tried to develop his childhood talent by playing instruments but also tried to improve it by studying music. “Talent can only get you to one side of the river, but knowledge combined with talent can go a long way,” he says. He also studied law, a fact that few people know. Although it is far away from music; law along with basketball has influenced his work immensely. “Law made me pragmatic and guided me to achieve my targets in a sound way, basketball taught me to work within groups, gave me that killer instinct, and kept me in shape,” says the musician.
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Manoukian is Lebanese-Armenian. This combination of Lebanese life and Armenian heritage has affected his personality, his love for life, his pursuit of perfection, and made him proud of his identities and cultures. He belongs to both countries, feels their suffering, and strives to do his best to serve both. “We have endured and still endure on daily basis circumstances taken out of a horror movie that robbed us of our dreams, our hopes, and our future,” he shares. “After the terrible explosion, I threw myself towards charity work with the NGO Lebanon of Tomorrow and we were able to help thousands of people. This is my duty towards my country and my people.”
Manoukian’s career is full of the beautiful melodies that have made him a world-renowned name and won him fans from Sydney all the way to Latin America and everywhere in between. With fame, there also came a massive responsibility on him as an artist. He is known to repeatedly assert that following your dreams is not just a cliché, but a way of life. “I am in constant competition with myself to get better and raise the bar higher and higher,” says Manoukian. He recalls his first professional solo concert almost 25 years ago, saying, “I still remember it as if it was yesterday. Like a first kiss, it is unforgettable.” Indeed, 25 years is a long period of time, however, according to him, nothing has changed — neither him nor his love for music. The fame has only made him more appreciative, and more aware of his blessings.
When on stage, Manoukian, having never experienced stage fright, only feels excitement and anticipation for the show to start, so that he can get in front of the audience and deliver an electrifying performance. He is also always keen to present music that reflects exactly who he is. “In essence, it is oriental with some Armenian influences and my arrangements are modern and progressive”, explains the artist of his work. For the best music, Manoukian looks to daily life, which he considers his main source of inspiration. “I find inspiration in almost everything, and I think that is my true talent in life,” he says. He advises young musicians to never stop believing in their dreams; to take risks, fail, and fight again, as these failures are the main substance that fuels their success.
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In addition to being a proud musician, Manoukian is also a responsible father. “Everything I do is for my family,” he says. “I want to be the best I can for them to be proud of me. Nothing else matters.” With a desire to provide the best for himself, for his art and family, Manoukian recently moved to Dubai and began work on establishing his own business. In Dubai, he has embarked on a new adventure that is no less important than his previous ones. “I cannot wait to start this new chapter of my life in Dubai which, for me, is by far the most important moment of my career,” shares the artist.
This adventure has led him to join forces with an ambitious group of entrepreneurs who have been making win after win in the F&B and nightlife industries in Beirut, Dubai, and Saudi Arabia. Together with the 7management group, Manoukian is set to launch The Theater at the Fairmont Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road. Welcoming guests January onwards, The Theater is poised to become the hub of entertainment not just in Dubai, but in all of the Middle East. Thanking the people who made this possible he says, “I cannot help but commend the efforts of the amazing team at 7management headed by my good friend Rabih Fakhreddine, the people behind Antika Bar, Seven Sisters and the BO18, to name a few.”
“It is a dream come true,” he adds. “At The Theatre, people will not only watch bespoke and unique shows, but they will also enjoy delectable cuisine catered by one of the best chefs in Europe, Walter Benenati.”
“I cannot wait to get on that stage and introduce to the GCC, all my friends and artists from around the world who will join me at The Theater to present outstanding performances tailored specially for this new space.”