Monday, December 15, 2014

Mesopotamian Night Testimonial


It is always great to read feedback from our supporters and very much appreciate it.  Recently, Mr. Robert Oshana founder of www.Learnassyrian.com and www.AssyrianLibrary.com website sent us these wonderful comments after he purchased and viewed the complete sets of the Mesopotamian Night DVD/CDs. 

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Shlamalookh Sargon,

I was in total awe and pride at the show in Chicago.  Truly, your organization is a gift from God.

You know, these DVDs are the pinnacle of our modern history and will be studied and enjoyed Decades from now.  Which gets me to my point, Take a look at the videos section and watch a clip of your DVD I posted on my page (I hope you don’t mind).  I use our music as a Learning tool with subtitles of transliterations and transliterations. It is the way I learned.

The music is so incredible and lyrics sophisticated, that it is a shame that only the adroit speaking Assyrians can enjoy and engage in the music.  The opera parts are verrrrry difficult to distinguish all the words.  It is a lot of work, I know, but easy for someone who knows all the words and definitions to just type it out.  To get a SRT subtitle file will be easy to create after that.  I would suggest subtitles in the future DVDs and when you run out of current DVDs, reissue them with subtitles. You will make everyone change from passive viewers to engaged participants and teach the language. And foreigners will also enjoy them more. Transliteration and transliteration is the key.

Let me know what you think.
Baseema raabaa.

Robert

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Own part of history this Christmas! Purchase the Mesopotamian Night DVD/CDs and gift it to your family and friends. visit http://www.mesopotamian-night.org/p/mn20.html



Sunday, May 11, 2014

Alexander (Shoora) Michailian: A Biography

Mesopotamian Night 2014 honors one of the most prolific Assyrian composers with the Mesopotamian Music Award called "Raab Moosiqoreh" (Master of Musicians). He will be joining us in June from Sydney Australia. The article below is an excerpt from the life of this exceptional Assyrian.


By: Doreen Danielson

Alexander (Shoora) Michailian was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, in 1930 to parents, Peera and Anna. During his life in Ukraine, his passion for music was evident from an early age, as he would gather the neighborhood children, instructing them to march and play the basic instruments they had. When they noticed their son’s talent and zeal for music, Shoora’s parents dedicated him to the instruction of renowned musicians and professors, Mr. Wichman and Mr. Shendro, in Homel, Belorussia’s School of Music; his passion for playing the violin saw its fruits when he performed his first classical recital before parents and teachers at the age of 8.

In the midst of his musical education, Alexander’s family immigrated to Iran in 1938 and resided in Hamadan until his father’s death; his mother, Anna, then moved the family to the city of Abadan in 1949. It was during these years in Iran that Shoora met the celebrated Assyrian poet and composer, William Daniel, and devoted himself to his mentorship. During the years he spent in Hamadan and Abadan, Mr. Michailian held the position of Supervisor of Music at the Board of Education in both cities. He established the first Assyrian band, The Eagle Band, with all Assyrian musicians such as Mr. Paulus Khofri, along with the first Nabouram Assyrian National Choir in Abadan’s Soosan Elementry School in 1966. Among his local achievements, he directed the choir for the Education Department, the Abadan Technical School Choir and the Roya Elementary School Orchestra of Abadan. In 1969, Alexander relocated to Tehran, Iran, conducting Tehran’s Board of Education Choir and Tehran’s Institute of Arts Orchestra for the King’s Coronation Ceremony festivities. Conducting his musicians and choral groups through renowned occasions such as birthday celebrations of Iran’s king and queen, Mr. Michailian received the Royal Award from the king of Iran during the 2500th anniversary celebration of the Persian Empire, recognizing his efforts in choral work. Among many of his entitlements and recognitions, stand the award for the Asian/European Musical Contest and titles such as the Director of the Fine Arts Department of Iran’s Ministry Education, Iran’s National Music Camp—Ramsar Judge, Iran’s State radio children’s program composer, and the Assyrian Church of the East hymn composer.

Upon arriving in America in 1980, residing in Flint, Michigan for two years and Modesto, California for another two years, Shoora and his wife, Lily settled in Turlock, California in 1984 after his daughter Sabrina wedded and relocated to Australia. His residence in America showcased his fruits of musical passion, combined with his love for his ethnicity, to a new culture as he established the choral group, Nabouram, consisting of almost 50 members along with the Orchestra of the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock in 1983. Nabouram’s primary goals were to showcase Assyrian folkloric music while using classical music theoretical techniques and the mid-20th century Suzuki technique, familiarize other cultures with the Assyrian culture, maintain an audio/video recording library, and perform at local educational institutions and international events. For more than a decade, the Nabouram choral and orchestra group held several concerts in Chicago, Illinois, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Modesto, and Turlock, California, along with numerous participations in Assyrian national events and festivities.

In 1998, Mr. Michailian left his beloved Nabouram behind to live in Australia where he began yet another dedicated journey towards promoting his yearning for musical expression as a folkloric maestro. The Assyrian Church of the East Bishop, Mar Meelis Zaia, invited Shoora to coordinate and direct a choral group; Shoora began using the Suzuki method, instructing and conducting an instrumental group of almost 60 children, anticipating great aspirations for future achievements. The fruitful performances and accomplishments of his instrumental group gained national recognition.


As the Assyrian community acknowledges the rare musical treasure that resides in Alexander (Shoora) Michailian, it recognizes that he has not only expressed his passion through music, but he has also dedicated himself to his Assyrian heritage. Mr. Michailian concludes: “I am an Assyrian. I have and still am working for my Assyrian people, and I will die an Assyrian.”  

References

Awards Recipients at the AUA Gala in Australia [Newsgroup post]. (2000, October 19). Retrieved from Zinda Magazine website: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qx_72lfBEXEJ:www.zindamagazine.com/html/archives/2000/101900.htm+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari.
Eddy, B. (2014, May 1). [Telephone interview by the author].
E & H Video Production, Inc. (1987). A Concert by Nabouram in Chicago [Photograph]. E & H Video Production, Inc., Chicago, IL.
Hammurabi Barhy, H. (n.d.). [Portrait of Alexander (Shoora) Michailian].
Moushoulof, V. (1999, July). Alexander (Shoora) Michailian. Purely Academic: The Quarterly Magazine of the Assyrian Australian Academic Society, Inc., 4(4).
[Shoora Michailian's Childhood Music Group]. (2013, August 1). Retrieved from https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tdzmgvxa8x9g9rm/
ueQeidw8id#lh:null-Rabi%20Shura%20Mikhailyan´s%20music%20group.jpg. 


Appendix I

          


Appendix II





Appendix III



                                                                        Appendix IV



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This is a contributing article by Ms. Doreen Danielson for Mesopotamian Night 2014. Ms. Danielson is currently a professor of Rhetoric of Composition and Philosophy at University of California, Merced and Merced College. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beyond Ethnocentric Ideals

A Contributing Article by Mona Malik


The Mesopotamian Night 2014 production in San Jose which is set for June 21st will bring on stage a ballet theater presentation called “The Little Lantern”. This ballet is a creation of Sherene Melania as choreographer and librettist and George Somi as composer.  Below Ms. Mona Malik who is currently an instructor at SFSU and also serves as vice president of the Assyrian Aid Society of America provides her perspective on this production.

Mesopotamian Night’s upcoming production is one of the most progressive and enlightening artistic endeavors ever attempted by any Assyrian group. Acknowledging and collaborating with accomplished world-renowned literary works like Ghassan Kanafani’s The Little Lantern, situates us on the world stage. This gesture of embracing non-Assyrian literary works helps promote awareness not only to our small community but by the same token, it reveals our talents and accomplishments to our culturally diverse environments in diaspora.

Why are multicultural alliances vital to our community?

    They highlight mutual concerns rather than disparities. The Assyrian community is not exclusive when it comes to in-fighting issues and it seems to have increased dramatically in recent years. Through the arts, we can begin to develop an awareness of our similarities thereby transcending our differences within our community and cultural differences outside our community.
    They bring everyone to the table and take advantage of "strength in numbers." Since most groups have some community-wide concerns, it's essential to get them to the same table. Groups with a common purpose can exert greater influence and succeed when they unite and speak with one voice.
    They promote successful interaction and shared knowledge among groups. The first step toward understanding each other is mutual respect.
    They encourage healthy communities. Since we, in diaspora, live among culturally diverse populations, we need to reach out to our neighbors who have similar concerns. Caring about our neighbors builds a sense of community and unites us in solving community-wide problems. Pursuing the work of Ghassan Kanafani is a wonderful first step in our outreach toward one of our neighbors.

Kanafani portrays the trauma of life in exile using symbolism and metaphors to communicate universal themes of the human condition. Ghassan Kanafani’s writing transcended any political, religious and cultural issues. He created a language for people in exile, for refugees, for anyone who lost their home, regardless of ethnicity. He was a Universalist and he was always conscious of his responsibility as a writer/artist. Kanafani has a way of writing that is subtle and can be applied to many regions in the world, and he does this consciously to universalize the human sentiment and communicate vivid images of what it means to live under harsh conditions. Undeniably a sentiment that Assyrians are all too familiar with…the reality of displacement.

Yet, Mesopotamian Night selected a children’s story by Kanafani, The Little Lantern, which has inspired many to hope and dream. In the same manner that Kanafani conveys his message of human resilience throughout his novels, he illustrates the metaphor of breaking down walls to reach for dreams. Just as music is a universal language, likewise with Ghassan Kanafani’s writing, cutting across all borders.

I am proud to be associated with the creators of Mesopotamian Night and with all the talented artists working tirelessly to present a magnificent event. The Mesopotamian Night team have spread their wings to embrace and welcome great works of art into our community and Ghassan Kanafani is an ideal first choice…for the mere fact that he was a wonderful human being who promoted a high standard of values by virtue of his writing.

For more detailed information about Ghassan Kanafani, click on the following links:

http://www.ghassankanafani.com/indexen.html

Mona Rasho Malik
Assyrian Humanist






Currently:
VP of Assyrian Aid Society of America
Born in Baghdad, Iraq
Delegate to the United Nations ECOSOC in Special Consultative Status
M.A. student at San Francisco State University – Humanities Dept.
Instructor at SFSU 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Distinguished Artist Donates to Mesopotamian Night 2014

Although he is not new to art, he is a new member of the Mesopotamian Night Family.  Ninos Chammo (www.ninoschammo.com) is a scultptor, painter and jewelry maker – a worldwide renowned artist.  It is with great pleasure to announce that Mr. Chammo has donated one of his art pieces to Mesopotamian Night 2014.  In the oil on canvas piece entitled “Nostaligia”, Mr. Chammo captures the spirit of Mesopotamian Night by displaying visions of dancers, musicians and audience enjoying the scene.  

Nostaligia, by Ninos Chammo


“How do I describe my art?

As a fusion of cultures. From Gelgamesh's immorality, to Dante's inferno, to Gibran's philosophy, my work bridges historical and cultural difference. I am eternally inspired by the earth's natural elements of fire and water, earth and sky, and life and death.

I was chosen by Art.
It's not what I do - It's who I am.

I was born Assyrian.  I grew up living among the rich culture and history of Italy. At age
16, I started my apprenticeship in Florence. That is where l first learned the skills of sculpting, painting and designing. For over seven years I mastered my trade in several
schools, ateliers and artisan shops.

At the Accademia Delle Belle Arti, I gained a profound understanding of the fine arts. I became proficient in creating frescos and monuments at Raymondo Riaci Atelier. I discovered one of my greatest passions - Sculpting - at Bronzi Di Firerce. There I worked as a professional sculptor, creating statues in Bronze A Cera Persa- I also worked in Bini Alfonso, the famous artisan shop, alongside the Japanese artist, Harwo Kinoshita. Under Florentine traditions, I created wood sculptures and paper mache masks, as wells as interior design and jewelry for Ponte Vecchio.

For the last three years, I have been designing sterling silver jewelry in New York City.
My work has been displayed in galleries throughout Europe and United States.


Artist Ninos Chammo

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Assyrian Sculptor Fred Parhad to be Honored at Mesopotamian Night


It is our pleasure to announce that Mr. Fred Parhad, the renowned Assyrian sculptor, will be honored at the 7th annual Mesopotamian Night.  The event will be held in San Jose on June 21, 2014, at the California Theatre.  At the event, Mr. Parhad will receive the honor of “Raab Amneh” (Master of Arts). In addition, Mr. Parhad will be offering one of his works to be auctioned off at the live auction where the proceeds will go directly to support the efforts of the Assyrian Aid Society of America.  There will also be a showcase of Mr. Parhad's works in the lobby that evening.  We look forward to seeing you there . . .


Below is a biography of Mr. Parhad.


Fred Parhad is a self-taught sculptor with over 35 years of professional dedication to his work. From the start he chose to approach the art world in the only way he believed could produce satisfactory results; he challenged himself to learn by doing. In 1976 he moved to New York and for the next four years worked in foundries to learn the techniques and traditions of a craft well over five thousand years old.

Eager to study from the best instructors history had to offer he spent the hours away from the foundry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where, on an initial visit to see his beloved French Impressionists, he walked through the Near Eastern Galleries and saw, for the first time, the collection of magnificent Assyrian and Babylonian art. The Impressionists would have to wait. He received permission from the administration to copy, in clay, the “Lion of Ishtar” , which was to be the first of over thirty Assyrian/Babylonian art pieces he would copy, which served as his teachers.

Beginning in 1978, and on his mother Bella Parhad's advice, he presented his bronze and glazed ceramic sculptures at annual Assyrian conventions around the country. In 1983 Fred began work on a bronze monument of Ashurbanipal, installed in San Francisco's Civic Center, in 1988. This is the first Assyrian public monument placed anywhere in the world in the last 2500 years. A final site is being considered for his monument of Shumirum. In addition to Assyrian sculpture Fred has had a bronze portrait of Mark Twain installed at the Bancroft Library, at the University of California, Berkeley, which is the primary repository of the Twain papers. They are also publishers of the final and complete Twain Biography.
 Also this year he will complete eleven bronze portraits of the pioneers of the food and wine revolution in America of the 1970s, which includes Narsai M. David, Julia Child, Robert Mondavi and others. The collection will be installed at the entrance to Napa Valley College's Culinary Arts campus at St Helena, California.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Press Release: Seventh Annual Mesopotamian Night Gala in San Jose



Media Contacts:
Tony Khoshaba, Executive Producer / (408) 644-1591 / mesopotamiannight@gmail.com                                                                                                                       
David Perry & Associates, Inc. / (415) 693-0583 / news@davidperry.com   

Seventh Annual Mesopotamian Night Gala
Saturday, June 21 At San Jose’s California Theatre
www.mesopotamiannight.org 


8 April 2014 – San Francisco, CA: The Assyrian Aid Society of America present the Seventh Annual Mesopotamian Night (www.mesopotamiannight.org) event at Saturday, June 21 at the California Theatre in San Jose, California.  In the Mesopotamian Night gala tradition, the evening begins at 5pm with a reception featuring fine wine and hors d’oeuvres followed by Assyrian-themed performances starting at 7pm.  Throughout the evening, a silent and live auction will offer an impressive gallery of art works by Assyrian artists. Considered the premiere fundraising event of the Assyrian Aid Society of America, this event has also become the primary medium for advancing and promoting Assyrian arts and culture including music, sculpture, painting and dance. 

“The previous six programs have raised over $350,000 to fund Assyrian education, humanitarian and refugee relief efforts throughout the Middle East,” said the event’s Executive Producer, Tony Khoshaba.  “With your support, we would like to continue this worthy endeavor.”

This year’s performance program is comprised of two acts.  Act One is a ballet theatre presentation of  The Little Lantern based on the popular children's book written by Ghassan Kanafani. The libretto and exquisite choreography is created by Assyrian ballerina Sherene Melania with enchanting musical composition and arrangement by Assyrian composer George Somi.  Melania, a member of the San Francisco Arts Commission, is also the Artistic Director of the internationally-acclaimed Presidio Dance Theatre.  Act Two features music from the repertoire of Assyrian composer Alexander Shoora Michaelian performed by the Mesopotamia choir and symphony orchestra conducted by Maestro John Kendall Bailey, followed by the music of Assyrian singer Ogin Betsamo

“We will also be honoring two great Assyrians for their extraordinary contribution to Assyrian Arts,” Khoshaba continued. “Our first honoree is Mr. Shoora Michaelian for his contribution to Assyrian music for over seven decades.  We will also be honoring Mr. Fred Parhad for his exceptional contribution in promoting the Assyrian heritage through his work in the field of art and sculpture.”
               

Tickets for this year’s event can be purchased directly at the theatre box office or Mesopotamian Night or online at:  http://www.mesopotamian-night.org/p/tickets.html.  Tickets may also be purchased directly, without a service fee, by contacting Sabrina Abraham at (408) 921-2401 or sabrinaabraham@mac.com

Monday, March 24, 2014

Assyrian violinist Sinella Aghasi to perform at Mesopotamian Night concert



We are extremely excited to announce that this year and for the first time, we will have an Assyrian violinist in our Mesopotamia Symphony Orchestra.  Miss. Sinella Aghasi will be performing with the orchestra on June 21, 2014 at the CA Theater in San Jose at the 7th Annual Mesopotamian Night concert.  

Sinella is an accomplished violinist and began playing the violin at the age of 7.  She was awarded multiple scholarships from the CSU Stanislaus 2010 and also served as the concertmaster of the CSU Stanislaus Orchestra, and had various performances with them.  She has most recently been accepted into the SFSU School of Music and Dance for Master's degree in Violin performance starting Fall 2014 with a full scholarship.  

She is an active performer, and she has performed with different chamber groups, orchestras, and singers, such as the Black and White Concert at the Alex Theatre with Linda George (2013), and Jackie Evancho’s concert in Sacramento (2012). 


We hope that Sinella's performance will inspire and attract other young artists to the Mesopotamian Night program.   

We are proud of you Sinella Aghasi.  Keep up the good work.