Arno Babajanian (Armenian: Առնո Բաբաջանյան, January 22, 1921 – November 11, 1983) was an Armenian composer and pianist during the Soviet era.
Babajanian was born in Yerevan, Armenia. By age 5, his extraordinary musical talent was clearly apparent, and the composer Aram Khachaturian suggested that the boy be given proper music training. Two years later, in 1928 at the age of 7, Babajanian entered the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory.
In 1938, he continued his studies in Moscow with Vissarion Shebalin. He later returned to Yerevan, where from 1950–1956 he taught at the Yerevan State conservatory. It was during this period that he wrote the Piano Trio in f# sharp minor. It received immediate acclaim and was regarded as a masterpiece from the time of its premiere.
Subsequently, he undertook concert tours throughout the Soviet Union and Europe. In 1971, he was named a People’s Artist of the Soviet Union. As a composer, Babajanian was active in most genres and even wrote many popular songs in collaboration with the leading poets such as Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Robert Rozhdestvensky among others.
Much of Babajanian’s music is rooted in Armenian folk music and folklore. But generally, the way in which he uses Armenian folk music is in the virtuosic style of Rachmaninov and Khachaturian. His later works were influenced by Prokofiev and Bartók. Praised by Dmitri Shostakovich as a "brilliant piano teacher", Babajanian was also a noted pianist and often performed his own works in concerts.
He received the Stalin Prize of 1950 for his Heroic Ballade for piano with orchestra and the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. He was People's Artist of the Armenian SSR (1956) and Soviet Union (1971). He was a laureate of two Stalin State Prizes of the USSR (1951, 1953) and two Armenian SSR State Prizes (1967, 1983).