Sir Vartan Melkonian is a British Armenian conductor and composer known for his advocacy for street children. Melkonian, an orphan and once a street child himself was raised in the “Bird’s Nest” orphanage in Lebanon run by the Danish missionary Maria Jacobsen. While having no formal training in music or a college degree, Melkonian was able to teach himself about music to perform first in British clubs, then in television, and finally, becoming a conductor for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra
Melkonian is a United Nations ambassador for Street Children. As an ambassador, he visits developing countries who seek advice on street children. In addition, he was appointed as the Patron of the Consortium for Street Children of the United Kingdom. Melkonian also has a foundation for helping street children called the Melkonian Foundation.