Petros Shoujounian was born in Gyumri, Armenia.
His musical training began with violin lessons at the Komitas Music School in his native city. He began composing when he was 12 years old, and studied both composition and violin under the direction of Azat Shishian at the Kara-Murza Music School in Gyumri. He moved to Canada in 1976, where he continued to study composition at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal.
His teacher, the world-renowned composer Gilles Tremblay, was fascinated by the creative inspiration his young student drew from the riches of Armenian music, and predicted for him a promising future as a composer.
Shoujounian completed his master’s in composition in 1982, rounding off his studies by winning a second prize in composition, and presenting to the Montreal public his symphonic poem Ararat (for mixed four-voice choir, three soloists, large orchestra, piano, organ, and ondes Martenot).
Petros Shoujounian has been an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) since 1985. His works have been played by Canadian orchestras, broadcast on Radio-Canada, and recorded and distributed on the Atma Classique, SNE, Radio Canada, and Doberman labels, among others.
Shoujounian draws a good deal of inspiration from Armenian folksongs, and from the spellbinding music of the Armenian liturgy. In the course of his career as musician and composer, Petros Shoujounian has contributed in diverse ways to the musical life of the Quebec metropolis. From 1987 to 1988, he worked as an artistic assistant at the Festival international d’opéra de Montréal; from 1988 to 1990, he was personnel manager at the Orchestre métropolitain de Montréal; and from 1990 to 1992, music coordinator at the Orford Festival.