The origin of the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia (NCOA) dates back to the Soviet era. It was founded by the violinist Zareh Sahakiants as the Armenian State Chamber Orchestra in 1961. In 1997 it was merged with the Yerevan Chamber Orchestra to form the new NCOA. As of September 2010 the Principal Conductor and Music Director is Vahan Mardirossian.
In April 1997, Armenia’s Ministry of Culture extended a special invitation to American-Armenian conductor Aram Gharabekian and appointed him as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the newly formed National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia. The twenty-five members of the NCOA exemplify the finest chamber music players in Armenia who are all graduates of the Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan.
The NCOA has appeared on tour with remarkable praise in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland, Greece, Russia, Georgia, Cyprus, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. Gharabekian also has led the NCOA to notable performances in the Canterbury Festival in England, the Halle Festival in Germany, and the Dimitria Festival in Greece. For their outstanding achievements Aram Gharabekian and NCOA have been duly recognized in a special proclamation by the United States Congress and televised features on CNN Special and Russian Kultura TV channel.