Composer (B. 1837, Istanbul – D. 11th March 1898, Izmir). He was interested in music at an early age and started music by taking piano lessons from an Italian named Manzoni. After starting his first musical education in Istanbul, he was sent to Milan for music education at the age of twenty by Abdülmecit I who was a fan of opera and operetta. After his education of four years in Milano Conservatory where he could research the Western music closely he returned to Istanbul. He composed small songs for the Eastern Theatre ruled by Bedros Bedros Mağakyan (1864). He earned his life for some time giving private lessons. He founded the music association called Kınar (Kemençe). His first opera Arsas was played by amateur young people in 1968 in Naum Theatre of Beyoğlu in Italian language.
He gained a reputation with his operetta titled Arifin Hilesi and staged in 1872 as the first Turkish operetta. Later he joined his company with Güllü Agop's group. The Turkish operetta arts gained its strongest works with this union. In wintertime in Gedikpaşa Theatre and in summertime in Üsküdar's Aziziye Theatre they continued to perform. The interest in them acquired its highest level when Çuhacıyan wrote in 1875 Köse Kâhya and Leblebici Horhor. Leblebici Horhor operetta was translated to Greek, German and French. The group went for a tour in Balkan countries in 1883. In 1885 they went to Egypt and performed in Hidivyal Theatre. The opera called Zemire written by Çuhacıyan in 1881 was staged in Paris in 1895 for some time. His last opera Indiana however never was staged.
Çuhacıyan who was the first composer to apply Turkish music to Western orchestra gained a reputation in Europe as a pianist and composer. He was known as “The Armenian Verdi" or “Offenbach of the East”. He has solo songs he wrote on V. Hugo’s and A. de Musset's poetry, religious musical works, various piano compositions and marches. The composer who passed away in Izmir was inhumed with the funeral march he composed. Leblebici Horhor operetta, which Weinberg intended to make a film of in 1916, was adapted to a movie by Muhsin Ertuğrul twice, in 1923 as a silent movie and in 1934 as a talking movie.
SCENE WORKS: Şair Evlenmesi, Mekteb Ustası, Mekteb Seyri, Arşak II, Arif’in Hilesi, Köse Kâhya, Leblebici Horhor Ağa, Zemire, Aleksinaz, Indiana.
MARCHES: Hamidiye Marşı, Vatan Yahut Silistre, Marche Funebre, Patrik Nerses Varjabedyan İçin Cenaze Marşı, Acem Marşı, Zeybek Opereti Marşı.
PIANO WORKS: Mouvement Perpetuel, Cascade de couz, Illusion (vals), Apres La Gavotte, Deux Fantaisies Orientales, La Lyre Orientale, Laura, Rapelle-tois (Hatırla), Romans.