The progressive rock band Oaksenham formed in 2001 in Yerevan as a successor to the 90s group Dumbarton Oaks (the name is transliterated specifically to emphasize the connection). The founders are bass guitarist Vahagn Papayan and drummer Ashot Korganyan. The latter is also known for his performances in Strangers and Bambir-2 groups. Gradually they were joined by Valery Tolstov (flute and keyboards), Vardan Gasparyan (guitar), Anna Adamyan (keyboards), Koryun Bobikyan (violin). Almost all of them are musicians with an academic education, which accounts for the group’s highly classical approach to music performance. As can be seen from the composition, the compositions are purely instrumental.
Continuing the traditions of British progressive rock, the band consistently combines rock sound with symphonic thinking and compositional principles. Experts noted the influence of Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Focus groups. The love for symphonic sound was most reflected in 2004. in March with the performance of the five-movement suite “Beatles-Fantasia”, written for rock band and woodwind quintet.
In the summer of the same year, musicians from that same quintet were invited to record Oxenham’s first studio album. Harp and cello were also added. The album was released by the French label Musea and received wide acclaim in progressive rock magazines in the US and Europe.
After the recording of the album, Anna Adamyan went to Russia for permanent residence, and Valery Tolstov to Switzerland to continue his studies. There he founded the ethno-jazz group Authentic Light Orchestra, which to this day tours with a repertoire of his own arrangements of Armenian folk tunes. Oxenham added a young composer and pianist Vardan Harutyunyan, whose creative ideas gave fresh breath and new strength to the group’s stylistic arsenal. In 2010, violinist Koryun Bobikyan went to the USA for permanent residence. He was replaced by Aram Asatryan, who has been close since Dumbarton Oaks, who is also the deputy concertmaster of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia.
With this composition, the group recorded its second album “Upon All the Living and the Dead” with the financial support and participation of singer Shushan Petrosyan. Unlike the first full-instrumental album, this one included two songs: “Snow” (author: Vardan Gasparyan) and “Musa” (author: Vahagn Papayan). Old friend label Musea was willing to release the album, but due to disagreements between the band members over the release format and terms, the album was shelved for a long time and was only released digitally in 2017.
During all that time, the group actually stopped its activities and only in September 2019 reunited with the last composition, on the occasion of a performance within the framework of the “Armenia in Rock” festival.