ARA DINKJIAN is an Armenian born in America in 1958. His earliest professional musical experience was accompanying his father Onnik Dinkjian, a renowned Armenian folk and liturgical singer. Ara learned several western and eastern instruments (piano, guitar, darbuka, clarinet, cümbüş) and in 1980 graduated from the Hartt College of Music, earning the country’s first and only special degree in the instrument for which he has become most well-known, the oud. For 43 years, he served his Armenian Apostolic Church as organist.
Throughout his musical life, Ara has continued to develop his highly personal compositional style which blends his eastern and western roots. In 1985, to help realize these compositions and musical concepts, Ara formed his instrumental quartet, Night Ark, which recorded four CDs for the international RCA/BMG and Universal/PolyGram labels. Night Ark’s recordings and concert tours were highly influential for musicians and music lovers throughout the world because they demonstrated how music can move forward while still retaining the dignity and soul of one’s culture.
Ara Dinkjian’s compositions have had a universal appeal. His songs have been recorded by world famous instrumentalists and singers in fourteen different languages, demonstrating that music does indeed unite people and cultures. His hit song “Dinata, Dinata” was performed at the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics. Many of his compositions have appeared in movie and television soundtracks.
Ara Dinkjian is also considered one of the best oud players in the world. Again, his style is a very personal one, with an emphasis on a uniquely beautiful tone. He has appeared in 22 different countries throughout the world on concert stages, oud festivals, seminars, and master classes, including 2002’s First International Meeting Of The Oud in Thessaloniki, Greece, where Mr. Dinkjian was chosen to represent the Armenians. His CDs An Armenian In America, Voice Of Armenians, and Peace On Earth were recorded live at the 2005, 2006, and 2007 Jerusalem International Oud Festivals.
In 2010, Ara Dinkjian, along with kanunist Tamer Pınarbaşı and clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski, formed a remarkable instrumental ensemble, The Secret Trio. They have released two CDs: Soundscapes (2012) and Three Of Us (2015).
Ara has also released Conversations With Manol (2013), a solo oud recording, as well as Finding Songs (2013), which features 12 new compositions performed by the ARA DINKJIAN QUARTET. Recent releases include Diyarbakiri Hokin (The Soul of Dikranagerd) which is a collaboration with his father Onnik, as well as 1915 – 2015 Truth & Hope, commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Also released on DVD is the documentary film Garod, which tells the story of how Onnik Dinkjian kept Armenian folk music alive in the diaspora, and handed it down to his son Ara.
Ara Dinkjian continues to compose, perform, record, and teach, while creating his own unique musical landscape.
Ara Dinkjian uses La Bella oud strings.