Accomplished pianist Bilge Günaydın & world-renowned musician Ara Dinkjian share
the stage with an exceptional repertoire including Turkish & Armenian Folk Song
Arrangements and Originals. Do not miss this musical journey!
Bilge Günaydın : Piano, vocal
Ara Dinkjian: Oud
Marty Kenney: Double bass
Drums: Engin Günaydın
“Turkish pianist, keyboard player, composer and arranger Bilge Günaydın showcases her
talents on Daydreams, her debut release. It’s an impressive first outing for the young
musician—stylistically wide-ranging, moving from laid-back melody to drama and mystery,
and beautifully performed by the musicians.”
Bruce Lindsay – All About Jazz
“–The main reason is the evocative pulling-power of Bilge’s compositions. They charm the
listener with quirky harmonic turns, melodic imagination and variety in the arrangements.”
Francesco Martinelli – All About Jazz
Bilge Günaydın is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader based in NYC. She
holds a Master of Music degree in jazz composition from William Paterson University, where
she earned a full scholarship and studied with renowned musicians such as Bill Charlap,
Pete McGuinness, Steve Nelson, Ed Neumeister, and many others. Günaydın is a BMI Jazz
Composers participant and ISJAC member. In 2020, her debut album "Daydreams" was
released by Turkish label Ada Music and Japanese label Inpartmaint by receiving acclaim
from "All About Jazz" as "an impressive first outing with charming compositions and melodic
imagination." Her second album "Sketches of Green" with guitarist Cenk Erdoğan and bass
player Ozan Musluoğlu followed in 2022, released by Drom NYC and Innsbruck Records.
Günaydın's projects have been featured at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Flushing Town
Hall NYC, Drom NYC, Istanbul International Jazz Festival, Akbank International Jazz Festival
in Istanbul, Composers Now Festival in NYC, Siena Jazz Festival in Italy, Sibiu Jazz Festival
in Romania and many more.
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, dumbeg, clarinet) 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 over 40 years, he served as organist in the Armenian Apostolic Church. 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 RCA/BMG and Universal/PolyGram. Night Ark’s recordings and world-wide concert tours were highly influential for musicians and music lovers throughout the world because they demonstrated how music can be progressive and creative while still retaining the dignity and soul of one’s culture.
Ara’s compositions have had a universal appeal. His songs have been recorded by world famous instrumentalists and singers in 16 different languages, demonstrating that music does indeed unite people and cultures. His hit song Homecoming (Dinata, Dinata) was performed at the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics. In 2013 at the Nevruz Festival in Dikranagerd (Diyarbekir), over 1 million people sang his song Picture (Ağladıkça) to welcome peace after years of conflict in the region.
Many of his compositions have appeared in movie and television soundtracks. Some of his pieces are even sung with ancient Hebrew texts during the Jewish High Holy Days. Ara Dinkjian is considered one of the finest oud players in the world. His style is a very personal one, with an emphasis on a uniquely beautiful tone. He has appeared throughout the world on concert stages, oud festivals, seminars, and master classes, performing in 24 different countries. He has also had historic collaborations with iconic artists such as Sezen Aksu and Eleftheria Arvanitaki.
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. Ara has also released a solo oud recording titled Conversations With Manol (2013), as well as Finding Songs (2013), which features 12 new compositions performed by the Ara Dinkjian Quartet. In 2015, he released Diyarbekiri 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.
Ara has collaborated with kanunist Tamer Pınarbaşı and clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski in unique chamber-music style arrangements of ethnic folk, pop, classical, jazz, and original compositions. Collectively known as The Secret Trio, they released their first CD titled Soundscapes in 2012, and their second CD titled Three Of Us in 2015. Ara’s latest (2020) CD release is Live At Princeton University, which features The Secret Trio and The New York Gypsy All Stars.
Also released 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