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Avo Uvezian: 80th Anniversary

Avo Uvezian was born into a musical family in Beirut in 1926. His father was a composer and conductor, and his mother was a singer. So Avo’s dream of a successful career as a musician was already in his genes. However, besides his „musical genes“, great talent and commitment formed the basis for his early success: As a teenager, he travelled the Near and Middle East with his jazz trio the Lebanon Boys.

It was also in those days that the young pianist, who could speak as many as six languages at such an early age, made important contacts, who were to help him later to find a place in the legendary Julliard School of Music aged only 21. Here, in the pulsating New York of the 1950s, Avo refined his skills by taking lessons in classical piano and music composition. Soon his teenage dream was to be fulfilled: Uvezian played with the jazz legends of the 1950s and 60s – among them Dave Brubeck and Teddy Wilson

A Second Career

The musician embarked on a second, not less distinguished career in Puerto Rico in the 1980s. He opened a piano bar and discovered his love for cigars. Since then Uvezian has pursued his second great passion with similar commitment and claim to perfection as he did when training as a musician. In 1982 he met the cigar producer Hendrik Kelner in the Dominican Republic. This marked the beginning of a business co-operation and friendship between two extraordinary people. Together wit Kelner Avo produced his first cigar, a classic Belicoso format. The transformation from cigar lover to cigar „composer“ was accomplished. At the same time, it was the onset of a perfect symbiosis between sound and pleasures of the palate.

Avo Uvezian Geburtstagszigarre

The anniversary cigar is a belicoso format – as was his first “cigar composition” | Photo: Oettinger Davidoff Group

Avo started offering his „cigar compositions“ to his guests, and soon he was to receive as many compliments for his „Cigars in Perfect Harmony“ as for his musical improvisations. The metropolis which inspired Avo’s musical career also came to be the first city where his cigars were sold: In 1988 the first AVO cigar went on sale in New York. At first, a few thousand were distributed exclusively by Davidoff within the USA.

Having found an ardent ambassador for the finest cigars, Davidoff International bought the rights to distribute Uvezian’s cigar in 1995, making the sales of AVO cigars explode. With more than three million produced a year, the AVO brand has become part and parcel of the international world of fine smoke. Aficionados swear by the perfect harmony that characterizes both his melodies and his cigars

Avo 80th Anniversary

The anniversary cigar is a Belicoso format- as was his first „cigar composition“ at the beginning of the 1980s. Like the birthday boy, the blend has great personality. A high proportion of Ligero tobaccos accounts for its intense aromatic notes. The new AVO is available in wooden boxes of 24 in specialist stores from May 2006 onwards.

Katja Gnann

She learned her journalistic skills from scratch at a regional daily newspaper, for which she wrote articles for many years. Through working for the magazine Der Spiegel in Rome she had the opportunity to increase her professional knowledge in the field of media. Katja studied art history and Romance studies in Heidelberg, Palermo and Rome and, during the course of her studies, spent many years in Italy. The country was her teacher in things related to pleasure and lifestyle. She has been working for Cigar Journal since 2004. In 2010 she became editor-in-chief.


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