Vahe A. Berberian, 48, a composer of Armenian classical music, died Thursday at his home in Beltsville. He suffered from arteriosclerosis.

Mr. Berberian began composing music in 1963 after a heart ailment prevented him from pursuing a teaching career in international relations.

He was born in Zahle, Lebanon, and grew up in Syria. He graduated from Aleppo College in Aleppo, Syria, in 1954, and taught athletics there until coming to the United States in 1957.

In 1960, he earned degrees in geography and music from Eastern Michigan University. He then came here, and in 1963 earned a degree in international relations from American University.

Mr. Berberian, who played the clarinet, was well known in Armenian circles for his performances around the country. His classical compositions were performed before Armenian groups in Washington at St. Paul's Lutheran Church and at the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Mary's by musicians from the National and Arlington symphonies. He recently had completed "Overture to 1915," inspired by the Armenian massacres of 1915, which has been orchestrated.

He was a member of the Armenian Missionary Association of America.

Survivors include his wife, E. Pauline, of the home, a brother, George A., of Miami, and a sister, [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Callaway, of Hamilton, Ontario.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the Armenian Missionary Association in Paramus, N.J.