Concerts from the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

JULY 3, 2018, 12:00 PM, No Tickets Required

Onnik and Ara Dinkjian

Coolidge Auditorium

Onnik Dinkjian, 88 years old, remains America’s most renowned Armenian folk and liturgical singer. He has preserved Armenian folk songs from the villages of Anatolia in Eastern Turkey, especially in the unique dialect from his ancestral city of Diyarbekir, known as Dikranagerd to Armenians. Dinkjian is among the last few hundred people who speak this endangered dialect. Dinkjian was born in Paris, France in 1929, to  parents from Dikranagerd. He was orphaned at an early age, and found comfort and happiness in singing, initially in the Armenian Church of Paris. Upon arriving in America in the late 1940s, he began performing at secular functions and quickly became the most-loved singer of the Armenian-American community, and has released recordings of both secular and sacred Armenian music. His fame as a great interpreter of Armenian song has brought him to concert halls throughout Europe, The United States, and South America. In addition to his singing, Mr. Dinkjian has composed many songs, some of which are sung in his native dialect.

Onnik's son, Ara Dinkjian, inherited his father's love and passion for Armenian music. Ara is American-born, and plays both western and eastern instruments including piano, guitar, dumbeg and clarinet. In 1980, he 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 or Middle Eastern lute. For over forty 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 highly acclaimed instrumental quartet, Night Ark. Night Ark’s recordings and 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.

For this concert, Onnik and Ara are joined by an ensemble of outstanding instrumentalists: Tamer Pinarbasi (kanun), Ismail Lumanovski (clarinet), Pablo Vergara (keyboard), Panagiotis Andreou (bass), Engin Gunaydin (percussion).

A free noon concert series presented by the American Folklife Center and the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Most concerts are held in the Coolidge Auditorium (located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress) or the Whittall Pavilion (next to the Coolidge, on the Ground Floor, Jefferson Building). Occasionally, concerts may be in other locations, which will be specified above in the concert description. Presented in Partnership with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. NO TICKETS REQUIRED.