Setrak Antoine Setrakian (b. 1938, Beirut, Lebanon) began his formal musical studies at the Ernest Chouha Music College at Aleppo (1950–60), focussing on piano, solfège, theory, and harmony. He continued his education in composition, harmony, and piano at the National Conservatories of Lebanon and Damascus, and after an additional year of work with Gunther Kohl in Jerusalem, he set out on his career as a private studio instructor (1966–70). In 1971 Setrak resumed his formal training at the prestigious Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, completing course work in piano and composition with some of Armenia's most outstanding artists and scholars.
From 1974–78, he served as Professor of Piano at the Collège Mont La Salle in Beirut, then went on to a comparable post at the Collège des Apôtres. Setrak established his own private piano studio during the early 1980s, but eventually accepted positions at the Armenian Theological Seminary of the Catholicosate of Cilicia and the P. Ganatchian Music College in Beirut. By 1987, he was Director and Professor of piano, harmony, composition, and music analysis at the latter institution, where he remained until 1999.
The author of nearly four hundred works in a wide variety of genres, Setrak has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the St. Mesrob Machdotz Medal of Honor, conferred by the Catholicosate Karekine II in 1994. A composer of both tonal and atonal music, he has successfully sustained his creative and performing career even in the midst of ongoing tensions in the Middle East. Setrak believes music has a vital role to play during the deeply troubled times in which we live:
I think world leaders must be musicians to bring peace and harmony to the world.