Bartikian was born in Armenia and began his studies at the Tchaikovsky Special Music School under the guidance of Alexander Tchauchian. From 1978 to 1983, he attended the Komitas Conservatory of Music in Yerevan. In 1977 he won the Transcaucasian Cello Competition in Tbilisi, and in 1981 he participated in the Tbilisi Soviet Republic Competition, winning 3rd Prize and a special prize for his performance of the 24 Preludes by the Georgian composer Sulkan Tsintsadze. After graduating in 1983, he continued his education, obtaining a Master’s Degree in Cello and in Music Sciences, in the areas of Theory of Interpretation and Teaching Methodology. In 1988 he began to teach cello at the Komitas Conservatory, a position he held until he moved to Portugal in 1989, when he joined the Gulbenkian Orchestra, with which he has also played as a soloist.