Below is a selection of tributes paid to Alan Hovhaness during his career, by performers, composers and other eminent figures of the arts world.
Leopold Stokowski, conductor
Last week I conducted three concerts … [Hovhaness's] Mysterious Mountain was played at all three sold out houses. On the program was also Bach's Ein' Feste Burg, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Stravinsky's Petrushka. From the audience reaction it is clear that [Hovhaness's] composition stood the severe test of comparison with the three great masters.
Lou Harrison, composer
Believing, as I do, that melody is the grace of music and the beauty of its work, I hold Alan Hovhaness in very high esteem, for he has the powers of a melody. For a long time he has gifted us with extraordinary singing-perhaps embroidered with counterpoint, or perhaps strummed along by simple chords, or even dramatized - but always singing.
John Cage, composer
Alan Hovhaness is like a 'music tree' that produces music as trees produce fruit.
Quoted from the New York Times
Keith Jarrett, jazz pianist
I feel a strong affinity with Hovhaness' music … probably because of the high respect and regard that we both have for the shape of melody as being an all important musical element.
Quoted from Pulse
William Saroyan, playwright
I am fond of it [Hovhaness' music], admire it, it satisfies me deeply, I am grateful that he is composing.
Quoted from Pulse
Dominick Argento, composer
From you, I learned about the importance of naturalness, the rewards of humility, the necessity for honesty, the value of simplicity… I have always remembered you - and fondly so - as music's Saint Francis of Assissi.
Hovhaness 80th Birthday Gala, Carnegie Hall
Harold C. Schonberg
Music Critic, New York Times
[Hovhaness] is sincere, he has integrity, and is uncompromising toward his art.
Arthur Cohn, composer, conductor and writer
Hovhaness has a unique status among all American composers, past and present. No other person has identified himself so fully with Eastern Music … His picturesque ideas call for odd combinations and severely drawn forms. ..No propaganda need be made for this solitary creator in present-day music life…