Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mesopotamian Night DVD/CD on Sale now!!

The wait is over!!!  
The Mesopotamian Night 2012 DVD and CD products are now available for sale

    5th Annual Mesopotamian Night (2012)

To view list of songs, click here  Mesopotamian Night 2012

Purchasing options:

2DVD Set only $20                                        

2CDs set $15

SAVE $10 when you purchase both sets 2DVDs + 2CDs For $25

    Add: 4th Annual Mesopotamian Night (2010) 2DVD+2CD Set for $15 only.........Saving an additional $10 
    For a list of songs visit: Mesopotamian Night 2010
    Add: 3th Annual Mesopotamian Night (2009) 2DVD+3CD sets for $15 only.........Saving an additional $10  
    For a list of songs visit: Mesopotamian Night 2009
    Add: 2nd Annual Mesopotamian Night (2008) 3CDs
    (Audio only)  for $10 only.........Saving an additional $10 
    For a list of songs visit: Mesopotamian Night 2008

Saturday, December 21, 2013

5th Mesopotamian Night (2012) DVD/CD Set Released!

The 5th Mesopotamian Night (2012) 2 DVD's and 2 CD's set is now available for sale

Click here to purchase :

CD-1 Includes the full performance of the musical: "Malek Rama: The Handsome Prince"

Malek Rama: The Handsome Prince

Poet: Hannibal Alkhas, Composer: Edwin Elieh
  1. If I Were A Queen
  2. Be My Queen “And Bear My Child"
  3. The Newborn Is A Monster
  4. My Almighty Savior “You Will Be Rewarded?” 
  5. Sailors’ First Visit With Malek Rama
  6. You Will Become A Mosquito To See Your Dad
  7. Transformation Into A Mosquito
  8. Sailors Witnessed A Colorful City
  9. Cook Describes A Magical Tree
  10. Dove Grants Malek Rama’s First Wish
  11. Sailors’ Second Visit, With Malek Rama
  12. You Will Become A Wasp To See Your Dad
  13. Transformation Into A Wasp
  14. Sailors Witnessed A Miraculous Hazelnut Tree
  15. Nanareekha Talks About A Beautiful Girl
  16. Dove Becomes A Beautiful Girl
  17. Narrative-Malek Rama Happy With Transformation
  18. Mother’s Prayer For Malek Rama And His Wife
  19. Sailors’ Third Visit With Malek Rama
  20. Sailors Saw Malek Rama’s Beautiful Wife
  21. The Magical City

CD-2 Includes the Assyrian songs of Vania David and Misha Ashoorian.

Assyrian Classics: Misha and Vania

Lyrics: Misha Ashoorian, Composer: Vania David, Orchestrator: Edwin Elieh
  1. In Teleh Youma (The Last Day) – Lazar Malko
  2. Broona d’Shimsha (Son Of The Eastern Sun) - Rita Davoud
  3. Zeega d’Oomraneh (The Sound Of The Bells) (Churches Bell) – Salem Safo
  4. Khamra d’Shawa Shineh (Seven-Year Wine) – Tony Gabriel
  5. La Khoosh Kislee Poosh (Don’t Leave Me) – Jowan David
  6. Romina - Jowan David And Lazar Malko
  7. Aal Aina (By The Mountain Spring) – Salem Safo
  8. Betan Le Leh Qoorbokhoon (The Neighbors) - Rita Davoud And Tony Gabriel
  9. Nazaneh - Jowan David And Salem Sefo
  10. Qasra d’Matleh (Legendary Castle) - Tony Gabriel
  11. Al Roomyateh d'Qeeneh d'Nineveh (Nineveh's Green Hills) - Full Cast

DVD has extra features including exclusive interviews, event speeches, achievement awards and the song "In Qood'meh lit" which is not included on the audio CD

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Appreciation Dinner Event for Mesopotamian Night Production Team

On Friday June 28, the Assyrian Aid Society chapter of Santa Clara hosted an appreciation dinner for all volunteers that assisted with the MN 2013 event.  The dinner was hosted at Bella's restaurant and by owner Gigo Khananisho.  The volunteers that attended included member of the MN choir, solo performers, behind the scenes individuals, and others who donated their time and services to make the event an absolute success.  We honored all individuals with an Assyrian Aid Society pin for their dedication and hard work.  Some of these individuals had spent over 100 hours rehearsing and preparing for the event.  We had a beautiful middle eastern dinner with beef and chicken kabobs with all the side dishes.   The best part of the dinner was not the Strawberry short cake, but rather watching a raw and unedited version of the actual concert provided by Eilbron Ghazanchian who will be editing our MN 2013 DVD.  The 70+ volunteers had a wonderful time watching their own performance.  Our very own Ashur Mansour was at the event as a volunteer and as a guest and managed to take beautiful pictures once again to capture the moment for us.  Our sincere thank you to Bella's restaurant for a superb evening.  We look forward to another spectacular event in 2014 and we hope that these volunteers will hopefully bring someone new to next year's program.  We are growing quickly, but we will appreciate and acknowledge our volunteers every year.  Without them, we would not be able to pull off events such as Mesopotamian Night.   Thank you once again MN 2013 team. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013


By Obelit Yadgar

I first heard Rev. Samuel Khangaldy’s music at the 2009 Mesopotamian Nights production. It was the overture from the oratorio Gilgamesh and it was good stuff. The overture, about 15 minutes or so long, uses long and luscious lines in the tradition of the great symphonic poems by Tchaikovsky, Smetana, Liszt and Sibelius. “Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us,” said Boris Pasternak, and the Rev. Khangaldy’s music was such a gift.

I looked for the opportunity to chat with him about his musical world. The Rev. Khangaldy’s music is showcased in this year’s Mesopotamian Nights production with several compositions, so what better opportunity for a conversation? Here are some of the things we chatted about on the phone, since he lives in San Jose and I in Wisconsin.

Obelit:    Your music is spotlighted in this year’s production of Mesopotamian Nights program. Music by another extraordinary Assyrian composer, George Somi, is also on tap this year. What’s your assessment of this year’s overall production?

Samuel:  I think this will be a new experience for the audience by offering a completely different view of the choir combined with the orchestra. Also, the arrangements by George Somi and others add to the variety of the music. The different arrangements and musical styles, from classical to pop, especially the nationalistic songs, will make for a really exciting and wonderful evening. 

Obelit:    You had your first music lesson at age eight. And here you are, decades later, your compositions performed everywhere. Somewhere along in your life, did you have a sense of where you would be at this stage in your artistic life?

Samuel:  I could not imagine this day, but I wanted to be a good composer. I liked classical music since I was a kid, and even though my beginning lessons were in Persian pop music, I always listened to classical radio.

Obelit:    Music seems to permeate your life. What is music to you?                                                            

Samuel: To me, music is life, and as a Christian and a pastor, I believe salvation is the greatest gift from God to us and I feel that music is second to that. Music is the greatest gift from God after salvation.

Obelit:    Are you a composer who writes Assyrian music or an Assyrian who composes music? Do you see a difference, and if so, which are you? Or does it make a difference in the artist’s life and work?

Samuel:  I write music as an Assyrian, but naturally I was influenced by the environment in which I grew up — with a taste of Persian, Arabic, and definitely western classical music because it was my life.      

Obelit:    Upon reflection, how do you assess your development as musician and composer?

Samuel:  I am never content with what I am doing. I like it, but I see that there is always room to be better and to develop. I had good teachers and I learned a lot, but I’m never satisfied. I want my music today to be different than it was last year, and the year before. I’m always ready to learn more from different composers, past and present, and even the great classical composers.

Obelit:    You were born in Tehran and received a degree in economics from the National University of Iran. At the same time you were studying piano and music. Tehran Symphony Orchestra as well as the National Iranian Radio and Television Orchestra performed your music. You directed performances of choral works for the late Shah of Iran. Those are major accomplishments. Did you have a set direction for your life at that time or did you feel pulled in all directions by these distinctly different fields of study?

Samuel:  No, at the time I looked at these as just special events. I never thought that today I would be in this position, providing music for my community.

Obelit:    At the time, then, we could say music was just a sideline for you, whereas your main focus was on your economic studies.

Samuel:  Yes, at the time my focus was on a degree in economics, but, at the same time, I was telling myself, “Why am I wasting my time here? Why am I not studying music?” In those days, living in Iran, the mindset was different. You became a doctor, an engineer, an architect, and music was not thought of as highly as it is today. Yes, I was studying music on the side, but now I wish I had studied music fulltime from childhood and thought of it as my profession.

Obelit:    If I remember, back then if you were not a doctor, an engineer, an architect or someone with a tangible career, you were nobody.

Samuel:  Some people considered music as a good hobby. Others said, “Well, we already have records to listen to and musicians and singers, so why do you want to waste your time on music?” Some people did not look at music as a respectable profession.

Obelit:    As an Assyrian, did you face any obstacles, artistic, social and political, in those early years?

Samuel:  No, not really.

Obelit:    So then many avenues were open to you and that no one blocked your way.

Samuel:  Actually I was respected, because I served the church with my musical talent. I taught music to Assyrian children as well as Persian. As a teacher, I was respected. As a Christian who served the Lord with my music, I was respected. So altogether I was happy with what was happening with my life.      

Obelit:    As a classically trained musician and composer, when writing and performing Assyrian music, do you feel the classical influence in your work? Are Bach and Beethoven looking over your shoulder? Is Mozart? Brahms? Tchaikovsky?

Samuel:  I try to be myself, because everything I do comes from my nature, from the depths of my feeling and my heart. But of course, I cannot deny the presence of these composers in my life. I feel a little bit of each in me.

Obelit:    Do you feel drawn to a specific composer from western classical music, or have a particular relationship, say, with Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms or the other greats?

Samuel:  I like Beethoven’s influence. I like the rush, the intensity in his music. I like that kind of music — powerful and fast and intense. When you listen to Beethoven, you know it’s different from the other composers. On the other hand, I like the spirituality in Bach’s music, and sometimes I show it in my music.

Obelit:    What about some of the other great composers?

Samuel:  I like the poetry in Chopin. Sometimes you can hear it in my piano compositions. I like the freedom in Camille Saint-Saens. Even though he was French, he freely used African and Middle Eastern melodies and themes in his music.

Obelit:    Oh, yes, a good example is the fifth piano concerto by Saint- Saens, titled “Egyptian.” One clearly hears those themes in it. The Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, titled “Africa,” in which Saint-Saens uses Nubian themes and folk songs. He is a fascinating composer, and I know what you mean by the freedom in his music.

Samuel:  Yes, of course. I ask myself, “Why can’t I do that?” Because I feel the same freedom to use melodies that are not Assyrian — I mean in spirit. After all, music is the universal language and I feel completely free to use whatever I want.   

Obelit:    What are your thoughts about Assyrian music arranged and performed for western-style chamber ensembles and big orchestras? Mesopotamian Nights productions have been a major force in presenting Assyrian works in symphonic and operatic forms.

Samuel:  I take that as a big step forward in Assyrian music. One thing I know about Persian traditional music is that it’s not developed because they think of it in simple arrangements. Now that Assyrian composers are embracing the western style of music in broad terms, it is opening new doors. I see that our music is so rich that our composers can produce it in great orchestral works. 

Obelit:    I have read some sniping against Assyrian music being arranged and orchestrated for western-style ensembles: that this detracts from the “purity” of Assyrian music. I find the comments absurd. What does “purity” mean? Does that mean we’re stuck forever with the zoorna and the davoola, that we have to limit ourselves to the musical instruments of our forefathers, and that we are not creative enough, visionary enough to explore other performance medium?

Samuel:  In this year’s Mesopotamian Nights program you will hear how beautifully Assyrian classical melodies are arranged and orchestrated for a big symphony orchestra. George Somi does a beautiful job by bringing in the zoorna and the davoola in the symphony orchestra. That shows you that you can use simple Assyrian instruments in the big orchestra. It’s world music and you can do anything you want without any obstacles and nobody can limit you. It’s an unlimited musical world.        

Obelit:    You immigrated to the U.S., in 1984, with your family and settled in San Jose, California. Later you received a degree in theology from San Jose Christian College — later changed to William Jessup University — and were ordained in 1996. Currently you’re the associate pastor at the Assyrian Evangelical Church of San Jose and the Bay Area. Does religion influence your music?

Samuel:  Yes, of course.

Obelit:  How so?

Samuel:  I mentioned that to me music is the greatest gift from God after salvation. I started with church music and as a kid played piano in church. I look at God as a great musician and artist. If a string on a wooden box creates music by vibration, that’s the nature God put in that string and the wooden box. We hear music in birds and in nature. So, yes, God is a great musician and He inspires me. God has given me musical talent and I try to glorify Him with it.  
Obelit:    You’ve composed orchestral music, choral, solo, especially for the piano, Gospel, Assyrian folk dances. Is there a particular medium you prefer?

Samuel:  I like the whole thing. Everything. Every style. For instance, piano solo is the best way to express my feelings when I am alone. I sit at the piano and my fingers run on the keys, creating something I never thought to create. Music seems to come by itself without my thinking. That’s internal feeling. It comes from deep within me. I cannot do that immediately with the orchestra. The piano is the first and the best instrument for me to express my internal feeling. And then, if necessary, I can transcribe it for a big orchestra.

Obelit:    Early on, in Iran, you switched from the accordion to the piano. What compelled you to make the switch?

Samuel:  I played according for three years and pretended it was the piano — I would sit on the floor with the according keyboard on my lap horizontally and play it like a piano. I was invited to play the accordion in school many times, but I didn’t like to do that. So then when my father suggested we sell the accordion and buy a piano, I could not be happier and my answer was a big yes. We sold the according and bought a piano — the only piano available in town.

Obelit:    Do you compose at the piano? Who was it, Stravinsky, who composed at the piano standing up?

Samuel:  Sometimes at the piano and sometimes on the electronic keyboard. Sometimes, when I don’t have an instrument, while driving or in bed, I hear the music and the instrument that can produce that feeling better. For instance the oboe. Or should it be a violin or a trumpet? Whatever instrument comes to mind and that I feel fits.

Obelit:    Do you compose when time allows or devote a regular time to it?

Samuel:  No, I don’t have set hours to compose. I’m a pastor and have to be available anytime that the church needs me, or people need me. I also teach piano. I am occupied with so many things and I have to make time for them. So I do music between jobs. I compose whenever time allows, but mostly in late evening.   

Obelit:    Do you need inspiration to compose? Or do you have a specific method to get the creative juices flowing? For instance, Brahms said he got some of his best musical ideas while polishing his shoes in the morning?

Samuel:  I am in love with music, with life, with my family and with nature. I’m also in love with my Assyrian heritage. I find inspiration everywhere. There are moments when you can feel inspiration is more dominant, but there is always something to inspire me.     

Obelit:    What role does Assyrian nationalism play in your music?

Samuel:  I love my nation and am proud to be an Assyrian. I have always wanted to write music on Assyrian themes — Gilgamesh, Ishtar going to the underworld, even the persecution of Assyrians during the genocide. I love Assyrian mythology. I love the mythology from other nations, as well, but Assyrian mythology has a special place in my heart and mind. The Assyrian nationality and music have a special place in my life.     

Obelit:    Nationalism, love of our heritage as Assyrians, runs in our blood. Wherever we go we’re Assyrians first. This nationalism also is present in every bit of music we hear by Assyrian composers. And rightly so, I might add. It’s been the case for just about all our composers of the past. Do you find it so in our contemporary composers?

Samuel:  Yes, I hear that in them.

Obelit:    What is your assessment of our past composers?

Samuel:  Nobody can give everything, but each gave something to our nation. Paulus Khofri gave something to Assyrians. So did William Daniel. Nebu Issabey gave something that William Daniel didn’t. William Daniel gave something that Nebu Issabey didn’t. We are fortunate to have had these composers, and others, because each left us a musical treasure. 

Obelit:    I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but what is your assessment of our contemporary composers?

Samuel:  Prior to 2008, when Mesopotamian Nights premiered, I could not imagine we had so many good composers and arrangers. When these programs started, I realized how many talented musicians we have, and they’re all awesome to me.   

Obelit:    Do you see any particularly bright stars among our contemporary composers?

Samuel:  It’s hard to answer that. But I see one or two of them that can really shine in the future if supported by Assyrians. I like George Somi.

Obelit:  Yes, Somi is a remarkable young Assyrian composer.

Samuel: Also there is another composer and musician — Rasson Bet-Yonan. I have never met him, but I have heard his music. When I heard his piano music and his Variations on Assyrian Folk Music, I was amazed. 

Obelit:    I wrote the jacket notes for his CD Theme and Variation in Four Movements. He really impressed me, too. A lot of the Rachmaninoff in his music. It blends beautifully with Assyrian.

Samuel:  Yes, he is really something.  

Obelit:    He and George Somi are bright stars. Tell me, once upon a time Assyria dazzled the known world with its culture, art and architecture. Perhaps even music. Do you see that, or even get a hint of it, in us, the Assyrians of today? Will we dazzle the world with our serious music?

Samuel:  I don’t know. If it happens, it will be in the far distance. Most nations have had centuries of musical heritage and background. They have had great composers and millions of musical creations. Assyrians are new in this particular world of music and have very little experience. If I may say so, also little education compared to the great composers of the past, and even contemporary musicians. We don’t even have music performers — instrumentalists, I mean — to shine on an international level. On the other hand, there is big competition in music around the world, and there are politics involved. You have to show yourself among many musicians from many countries. Reaching that level, when we will dazzle the world, would be tough. I wish that happens someday, but I don’t see it in the near future.

Obelit:    Upon reflecting on our music — of the past, of today and of the future — where are we? Where have we been, where are we, and where are we going?

Samuel:  I think we are making good progress. Yesterday we were better than fifty years ago. Today we are better than yesterday. Our composers are growing at a great speed — many of them are active and helping in Mesopotamian Nights. And there are a many more we don’t know about. We now have so many more musicians than we did in the past, especially educated musicians, that I see a bright future for our music. Yes, yes, today we are much better compared to the past.

Obelit:    What lies ahead for you? Are you working on anything special, a big Assyrian symphony, an opera or a choral piece?

Samuel:  This year I was very involved with Mesopotamian Nights. Two pieces in the program are my original melodies and orchestrations, and the others pieces by other composers that I have orchestrated. The big work that I started four years ago, Gilgamesh, I stopped that year. I want to start working on that once again, if time allows, if God allows, and to leave a legacy behind.

Obelit:  Any other compositions?

Samuel:  I am working on two projects. One is some piano music that I composed years ago that I want to publish. The other is church songs, some sixty or seventy of them that I want to put in a different book.

Obelit:    Do you have a message for our artists, young and old: writers, poets, composers, musicians, painters, dancers, and so on?

Samuel:  Art in general is a beautiful thing. It’s a great gift to humanity. Everybody needs that, from the young to the old. Life is not all work. Being sensitive with artistic feelings makes us more sensitive to the needs of others, sharing more love and music so that we can understand each other. Everybody needs that. So my message to Assyrian families is to please encourage children to learn an instrument, not necessarily to become musicians, but to at least be a friend of music and to understand music. Our community needs to have that.

Obelit:    You can add literature to that. And, yes, poetry. Theatre. Art and sculpture. Dance. Opera. There is no limit to the arts. You yourself are also a fine calligrapher. And a painter. Mostly in oils. It’s easy to see the love of God and nature in your landscapes.

Samuel:  If you as parents see that your children have a special talent in music and writing and theatre and dance, encourage them. We need that. Don’t force them to do the things that they don’t want to. Assyrians have had great influence in history. Why not now?

Obelit:    And perhaps out of all this we’ll see future Assyrian composers.

Samuel:  We can only hope and pray.  


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hotel Accommodation for Out of Town Mesopotamian Night Guests

Please see the information in the following flyer if you are interested in staying in a hotel close by the California Theatre. Our MN team has negotiated good rates for our patrons with two hotels in downtown San Jose.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wolfhead Music Sponsors AAS Projects

This week we received a generous donation from Wolfhead Music, a publisher of music ancient and modern based in Bedford, Indiana. The Mesopotamian Night team appreciates this thoughtful sponsorship and support. Mr. John Craton, a composer and associate of Wolfhead music in an email to us wrote:

This is a donation to the AAS to help provide assistance to Assyrians in the Middle East. I know of your work with Assyrian children in Iraq, and I read recently about your assistance to Assyrians enduring the current turmoil in Syria. I trust the association to apply the funds wherever they can best assist those in need. 

This is indeed encouraging and heartwarming. We are hoping to continue to work with Mr. John Craton and Wolfhead Music in our future projects.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

John Shahidi's Poetry at Mesopotamian Night

John Shahidi's poetry is known to Assyrians of San Jose. This year he is joining us for the opening of the event with his “Hal d'Ei-Man” poem. We welcome his contribution. Below is a short biography of this emerging poet.

John was born in 1966 in the city of Tehran, Iran. He studied at the Sharghe Ashoorie elementary school for five years and Behnam middle school for another three, where he learned to read and write the Assyrian language. Through his later education, John established his first business in 1989; since 1994 he has settled in San Jose, California where he established his second business.

At a young age, John had a passion for music and poetry. To this day he plays piano and writes his own poems, which are inspired by the rich history and culture of the Assyrian people. Due to all his activities, he was honored to work with one of the prestigious Assyrian poets, Rabi Misha Ashoorian, on the CD, Brona D Shemsha. This CD features poems that tell the history of the Assyrian people and was released in December 2012. John is currently working on a solo CD featuring new and original poems and music. This is the first year his poems will be featured in Mesopotamian Night.


By Obelit Yadgar

From the beginning, the Mesopotamian Nights productions have served a feast of Assyrian musical gems backed by a big symphony orchestra. With new operas performed in Assyrian to ballets danced in dazzling traditional costumes, the musical events have offered something for every taste. All that trimmed with clusters of sweet and sentimental songs by past and present composers.
What a treat to experience the artistic heights the Assyrian performing arts can reach.
The 2013 production promises another musical extravaganza packed with new works and fresh ideas. This year it’s the re-discovery of the Assyrian choir. “The choir is more than just a few people singing together,” says Artistic Director Fred Elieh. “It’s people with different backgrounds, ideas and feelings all becoming one and delivering a melodic message.”
George Somi, the exceptionally talented young Assyrian composer, starts the big works with two movements from his orchestral suite The Assyrian Legacy. The movement titled Hammurabi’s Law celebrates the code of law that is known as the first law code. “The music capitalizes on ancient Near Eastern tones by using the Hijaz Maqam, a scale readily identifiable as Middle Eastern,” explained Somi. “The rhythms are deliberate and vigorous, representing the content of the Law Code.”
The fourth movement, titled The Fall of the Great Empire, represents the fall of Nineveh, in 612 B.C. “The Fall is cinematic and grave,” added Somi. 

Noted Assyrian composer the Rev. Samuel Khangaldy offers a wealth of choral works for the 2013 production. Some are original and some arrangements of works by other composers. That included the Mar Benyamin Oratorio, a work written originally for a small choir and piano written by Nebu Isabey. The oratorio recounts the betrayal and subsequent murder of the Assyrian Church of the East patriarch in the 1917 genocide.
Khangaldy has arranged and orchestrated three songs, from old recordings, by Rabi Yacoub Bet Yacoub for solo voice with choir. “‘Girls Look Like Angeles’ and ‘My Beloved Young Man’ are combined into a medley,” said Khangaldy. The third song is “Echo of Wisdom.”
Rabi Yacoub, born in Urmia, Iran, in 1896, was an Assyrian scholar, educator, writer and poet. “His music was very simple and filled with sweet innocence,” he added.
Khangaldy regards The New Mesopotamia, which closes the first half of the program, as his masterpiece. He set it to a poem by the Assyrian writer, poet and educator Marcel Josephson. Khangaldy recalled the words touched his heart and soul so much that he felt compelled to write the music for the poem.
“This is about the new Mesopotamia that calls for her sons and daughters to put all their differences aside and to unite in building a new Mesopotamia, our own homeland,” he explained. “I didn’t have to change any words. Everything about it, from rhythm to syllable, was perfect and I had no problem writing the music.”
French composer Michel Bosc returns to Mesopotamian Nights with a tender and poignant instrumental work titled “The Prayer of Assyrian Nation.” The music is a good lead in the second half of the program into Samuel Khangaldy’s The Marriage Proposal. This charming musical comedy for five solo singers draws a light-hearted picture of life and marriage in an Assyrian village. In spirit, it recalls the bubbly English light musicals of Gilbert and Sullivan.
The musical is an arrangement and orchestration of a song written by the noted Assyrian writer, composer and musician William Daniel, published in the early 1940s. “The whole song as Rabi Daniel wrote it was about four or five minutes long,” Khangaldy pointed out. “I added new music to it and more dialogue to make it about fifteen minutes long.”
The Marriage Proposal serves as a primer in the second half for a celebration of songs made popular by two Assyrian legends: the late Biba and Shamiram. In Iraq, Edward Yousif, known as Biba, was called “King of Singers.” Assyrians loved him, for his music served as the reflection of their lives: the joy, the love, the suffering. 
Biba said he and his musical collaborator George Ishu were always looking for a new sound, something never heard before by Assyrians. “We did not want to imitate Western music,” he said. “We wanted to continue in the path of Eastern music, but posses a new sound, provide a new dimension.”
Shamiram Urshan, in neighboring Iran, was already a song and dance artist by age eight. She was born in Tehran, where she explored the wide spectrum of the performing arts. Even after immigrating to the U.S. and settling in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, and even during the years she raised her three children, Shamiram remained the consummate Assyrian song and dance artist.
 She turned professional singer when her children were grown up. That she had a wealth of Assyrian songs in her treasure chest already, songs written by her late father Daniel Gevargis Urshan, her career soared internationally. Her first album, recorded in 1978, was a major hit among Assyrians worldwide.
“We will have four different Assyrian singers singing nine of their songs,” said Artistic Director Fred Elieh.
The popular Assyrian artists George Gindo, Avadis Sarkissian, Stella Rezgo and Rita Toma Davoud will romp through nine of Biba and Shamiram songs. George Somi and Devin Farney have arranged all the songs. The music of each artist will be preceded by a short biographical documentary.
“We have not even started utilizing the wealth of Assyrian talent out there,” noted Mesopotamian Nights producer Tony Khoshaba. “Not even explored the musicians from Western Assyria — commonly known as the Jacobites — tradition.”
The biggest challenge still remains, Khoshaba admitted, and that is to expand the audience beyond the Assyrian community and taking Assyrian arts to the mainstream. “We need to figure out how to do this,” he added. “We have created enough material that could be appealing to people outside our community.”
With a string of successful musical gems from Mesopotamian Nights, as well as much needed support from Assyrians proud of their culture and artistic heritage, Khoshaba’s dream can only be just around the corner. It takes vision to realize the potential in the Assyrian performing arts. It also takes willing hands to throw open the curtain and watch them soar.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Rabi Nebu Issabey to Receive Mesopotamian Achievement Award

(Rabi Nebu Issabey at younger age)

By Arbella Issabey

Rabi Nebu Issabey will be honored with the Mesopotamian Achievement Award at our 6th Annual event as “Raab-Musiqooreh (Master of Musicians) for his selfless and unconditional dedication to the advancement of Assyrian classical music. His masterpiece, composed in honor of the Assyrian Patriarch, Mar Benyamin Shimun, will be our feature presentation.

Nebu Juel Issabey, was born in Tabriz, Iran to Harriet and Juel Issabey. Nebu's father was a native of Urmia and a graduate of Sorbonne University in France. But it was Nebu's mother, a graduate of the American College in Tehran, who instilled the first tastes of music in Nebu. At age four, his mother began teaching him the violin and in the next few years he taught himself the piano.

With the foundation set by his mother and his innate talent, Nebu began studying with the great Italian violin virtuoso, Luigi Pazanari, and renowned French violinist, Tina Montofel. After 12 years of studying with Pazanari and Montofel, Nebu made his debut at the age of 26 and gave many violin recitals, playing the works of Beethoven, Brahms, and Sibelius, among many others. It was during this period that he won many highly coveted "Pazanari Prizes."
In 1955, Nebu went to Lausanne, Switzerland to begin his studies in conducting under the great Swiss conductor, Ernest Ansermet. Upon his return to Iran, Nebu organized the first Assyrian choral group in Tehran, Nineveh Choir. Although the group had started at about 30 members, by 1960 the choir had reached nearly 100 members. The Nineveh Choir gave many choral concerts in Abadan, Tehran, and Ahwaz, performing such well-known pieces as Bach's Motet No. 3, Handel's Messiah and Gabriel Foure's Requiem, as well as, Nebu's own nationalistic and romantic works.

It was these aforementioned pieces by western composers that earned Nebu and the Nineveh Choir great recognition by the Iranian Fine Arts Council. In 1966, the Council chose the Nineveh Choir as the leading choral group in the country. Nebu and his choir performed before the Shah of Iran, where Nebu was officially presented to His Majesty.

During the busy but successful years of the Nineveh Choir, Nebu still found time to devote to his nation. In 1961, Nebu organized choirs for both the Assyrian Church of the East and the Assyrian Catholic churches.

In 1967, Nebu returned to Europe and entered the Music Academy of Cologne, Germany for six years. Among his many professors was the well-known modern composer in Northern Europe, Joachim Blume, professor of piano and music theory, and Carl Kaufhold, professor of orchestration. Nebu was also influenced by Carl Orff, the great composer of Carmina Burana, as well as Boris Blacher, professor of modern composition, both at the Berlin Academy.

While in Europe, he performed his own works at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne, including modern Assyrian as well as some Iranian music. His works were also performed on German radio and television. During this time, Nebu was known for his use of free dissonance, a combination of tones that create tension and an unforeseeable outcome. In fact, his short compositions for oboe and piano were fine examples of free dissonance and won him a medal by the Cologne Academy of Music.

In 1973, he left Cologne with his wife, Eglantin and daughter, Arbella, and was destined for Chicago, Illinois where he reestablished the Nineveh Choir in the same year with both old and new members. They gave quite a few concerts in various areas of Chicago and performed many of Nebu's pieces, notably, an aria from his opera, Semirames.

A year later, his younger daughter, Nineveh was born and a few years later, Nebu was reunited with his son Tiglat, who made it to the United States after a perilous trip from revolutionary Iran.

Nebu established the Schubert Northside Choir in 1978, which consisted of various neighbors from all walks of life. This choir had become a significant part of the local community of Sauganash in Chicago and was covered in several local papers and newsletters for their successful performances throughout Chicago. It was for his several years of community work and cultural awareness, both for Assyrians and Americans that Nebu was chosen as one of the Twelve Outstanding U.S. Citizens of 1979.

After spreading music in the Assyrian and American cultures of Chicago, he looked for new opportunities to build the awareness of Assyrian and Western classical music. His chance arrived when he and his family moved to California in 1985. During the first few years, Nebu was busy writing new compositions as well as bringing his youngest daughter, Nineveh, to the stage as a concert pianist. In 1987, Nineveh made her debut at the age of 13 with pieces by such composers as Chopin, Bach, Mozart and Schubert. Nebu's oldest daughter, Arbella, having made her debut at the age of 13 in Chicago as a concert blockflutist (recorder), was also giving recitals, many with her sister. Nebu's son Tiglat, a very talented musician, studied briefly with his father and stayed in Chicago to further his studies in music.
In 1995, Nebu was yearning for another choir and reestablished the Nineveh Choir with some old but mostly new members. Their first concert was in 1996 in San Jose and later in Los Angeles. The Nineveh Choir performed several times from 1997 to 2000, singing many of Nebu's works. However, it was Ghoom Ya Jvangha (Rise, O Young Assyrian), Ghooyama (Revolution), and Atouraya Khata (The New Assyrian) that mesmerized devoted listeners.  Further, the choral group was especially acclaimed for their performance of Lacrymosa (Crying), a piece from Nebu's requiem.

After a long hiatus, one of Nebu’s dreams came to fruition on a spring evening in 2008: To have a national choir that truly portrays the essence of our people; to have individuals from all walks of life, an array of age ranges, and various backgrounds; to have as many voices as possible.

Nebu had gathered members not only from San Jose but also from Los Angeles, Modesto, and Turlock. Old members and brand new members came together, this time on a grander scale. It was a year of very hard work from the director and the singers to bring to the Assyrian nation Nebu’s last concert. Traveling among these cities on an ongoing basis for a year, Nebu had claimed his dream. The Nineveh Choir had at long last evolved into the Assyrian National Choir, a body of nearly 50 amateur singers with a passion for their nation, as well as a passion for Nebu’s stirring music.

In recent years, Nebu had another dream: To have his composition, Roomraamaa, be recognized as the Assyrian National Anthem, unifying all Assyrians around the globe. You will be hearing the anthem tonight with a new arrangement by his son, Tiglat. It is a passionate piece of music that truly exemplifies the love the composer has for his people.

Nebu has always taken great pride in the abundant talent that abides in the Assyrian nation. His efforts over the past decades have had one goal in common: to promote our nation’s culture through the international language of music.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rabi Homer Ashurian to Receive the Mesopotamian Achievement Award

Edited by Helen Talia
Homer Ashurian was born and raised in Urmia, Iran. He graduated with a Master Degree in Archeology, majoring in Assyriology from the University of Tehran. In 1958, he served as the Curator for Iranian Cultural Museum. From 1963, for several years thereafter, he served as the Principal of two High Schools in Tehran. He was a member of a five-dignitary committee who established the Assyrian Universal Alliance ("AUA") in 1968 in France.
During the 1970's, he served as editor of two illustrious Assyrian magazines, titled Kirkha (The Scroll) and Shvila (The Way), both published in Tehran, Iran.
In 1975, Homer Ashurian was elected as a Congressman to the Iranian Parliament to represent his Assyrian nation, until the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
In 1984, Homer Ashurian migrated to the United States, domiciling in Chicago with his two sons.
Shortly thereafter in 1987, he joined the Board of Directors of the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation (“AUAF”), where he is now the Chief Executive Officer of this organization.

This year, Rabi Homer Ashurian is the recipient of the Mesopotamian Achievement Award in activism with the title "Raab Avoodi/Raab A'woudeh" (Master of Activists) at the 6th Annual Mesopotamian Night.  This award is diligently due his tireless contributions to the advancement of the Assyrian cause, worldwide, in particular, his instrumental role in advancing the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation to become one of the largest and most prestigious grassroots Assyrian organizations in the United States.
Throughout his long and articulate career, Rabi Homer Ashurian has served in different capacities within various Assyrian organizations such as the Assyrian Youth Society of Urmia, Assyrian Youth Cultural Society of Tehran (Se'ta Sapreta), Assyrian Society of Tehran (Motva), Assyrian Universal Alliance, and lastly the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation.

The AUAF serves thousands of elderly people in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. It also houses the Ashurbanipal library, where research material in the Assyrian culture and heritage is widely available.  In addition, this organization has helped promote cultural and educational programs in the Chicagoland area; it has allocated and funded hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to post High School students.
Internationally, Homer Ashurian has advocated the importance of Assyrian education in motherland Iraq, and has, in turn, helped award the Assyrian Aid Society with two major grants from AUAF for the printing of Assyrian textbooks.  And most recently, he helped secure a grant to help fund the Mesopotamian Night project.

The Mesopotamian Night is honored and privileged to welcome Rabi Homer Ashurian as its special guest from Chicago.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Composers of Mesopotamian Night 2013

Mesopotamian Night 2013 has enlisted an impressive list of emerging Assyrian composers (Samuel Khangaldy, George Somi, Honiball Yousef and Tiglat Issabey), a French composer (Michel Bosc) and an American composer (Devin Farney) for the June 15th event at the California Theatre.

Samuel Khangaldy’s contributions include the following works:

  1. Original Compositions for “The New Mesopotamia” and “The leaders of Truth”
  2. Orchestration of Nebu Issabey’s Mar Benyamin Oratorio
  3. Orchestration of the Songs of Yacoub Bet Yacoub
  4. Orchestration of William Daniel’s musical “The Marriage Proposal”
George Somi has made two important contributions:
  1. The original instrumental composition piece The Assyrian Legacy movements III (Hammurabi's Law) and IV (The Fall of the Great Empire). 
  2. Orchestration of Shamiram Urshan songs: Reesha D'Sheeta, Zmara D'Turah, Shoo Shoon La 
Michel Bosc has submitted an instrumental piece called “Da Pacem Domine: The Prayer of Assyrian Nation”. This piece is part of his extensive requiem that he did for Mesopotamian Night in honor of Assyrian martyrs of Baghdad church massacre in 2010.

Devin Farney has arranged and orchestrated Fred Elieh’s “Atootayeh Mani Na” and as well as the Assyrian songs of Biba.

Tiglat Issabey has orchestrated and arranged his father’s well known “Roomrama” for multi voice choir performance.

Honiball Yousef has submitted an orchestration of the “Epic od Ishtar and Tammuz” originally composed by Ninef Amirkhas for his father’s poem late Simon Amirkhas.

See below for a review of these composers profiles and biographies.

Samuel Khangaldy

Pastor Samuel Khangaldy was born in Tehran, Iran into an Assyrian family. After graduating from National University of Iran with a degree in Economics, he worked many years for Iran Aircraft Industries, a company under Ministry of Defense. Like the majority of Assyrians who immigrated to other countries after the Islamic revolution, Samuel and his family moved to the United States in 1984 and settled in San Jose, California. Samuel attended San Jose Christian College (now William Jessup University) and graduated with a degree in Theology and received his ordination as the Minister of the Word in 1996.

Samuel started his first music lesson when he was eight years old. He played accordion for three years but because of his great passion for his dream instrument, he switched to piano and received his trainings in classical music. His compositions were performed by Tehran Symphony Orchestra, and National Iranian Radio and Television Orchestra. He has directed choirs in different churches, schools and for the Shah of Iran. His music archive includes several classical pieces, piano solos, military marches, Assyrian folk dances, and numerous Gospel music and lyrics written in two languages, Assyrian and Farsi. As a pastor and a musician he is well known among the Assyrian and Persian communities in different countries in general and in San Jose and the Bay Area and Southern California in particular.

Pastor Samuel has been teaching and training piano students for about four decades, some to an advance level that have become piano teachers. We should add calligraphy and oil painting to Pastor Samuel’s artistic profile.

In 2009 Pastor Khangaldy joined Mesopotamian Night productions by composing the Gilgamesh Oratorio’s overture and also helping us coaching the Mesopotamia Choir Ensemble. Last year he generously contributed to our event two beautiful calligraphy pieces. His contribution to our 2013 production however has significantly increased. In addition to composition and orchestration works he is the lead coach for our Mesopotamia Choir Ensemble.

George Somi

George Somi’s role this year also has increased dramatically. We see a bright future for him in his music career and we think our community will highly benefit from his creative talents. George shared the following with us about himself and his music.

I graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering with a focus on astronautics in December of 2011. I currently reside in the Phoenix area, where I work as a systems engineer at Honeywell Aerospace. I'm vice president of the Assyrian Aid Society chapter here in Phoenix. I'm also a treasurer in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Phoenix chapter, and I've recently become involved with the National Space Society (NSS) here in Phoenix. I'm a big advocate for pushing aerospace policy in our nation. I strongly believe in a robust space exploration program, where humans regularly visit our celestial neighbors (asteroids, Mars, the Jovian moons, and beyond). I'm also an advocate of planetary colonization. It is the only way to ensure the survival of the human race. My career goal is to make space access much cheaper and space travel more efficient by transitioning current propulsion systems from chemical-based propellants to more exotic propellants, including plasma and antimatter.

In my artistic life, I have been extremely busy. As a matter of fact, the past year has probably been my most prolific in terms of composing. I was commissioned by Presidio Dance Theatre to create an original score to a ballet production based on the short story The Little Lantern by Ghassan Kanafani. The score is about halfway complete. I have also been busy scoring works for Mesopotamian Night.

A Little Background to Somi's Music

I know we won't be able to put on Assyrian Legacy V: Church of the East, but I was hoping to replace that portion of the program with the continuation of the suite from 2010. We left off on movement II. The third movement, Hammurabi's Law, as the name suggests, celebrates the code of law that is known as the first law code in the world. The music capitalizes on Ancient Near-Eastern tones by using the Hijaz Maqam, a scale readily identifiable as Middle-Eastern. The rhythms are deliberate and vigorous, representing the content of the law code.

The fourth movement, The Fall of the Great Empire is almost an antithesis of the first movement (The Rise of the Great Empire). The Fall is cinematic and grave. It represents the fall of Nineveh in 612 BC. The movement begins with an ominous and subdued lower-register string melody, which is answered by a sudden, dissonant call by the higher strings. The two clashing notes, D and Db, create a very unpleasant and chilling sound. This sequence represents the impending doom of Nineveh. The piece culminates in a powerful final cry by the brass, who repeat the initial string melody while a passionate French horn countermelody cries to the heavens in memory of what once was. The piece ends with an ominous repetition of the Rise fanfare while strings hold a tri-tone. This sequence represents the rise of the Persian Empire and the transition of Assyrians to a conquered people.

Honiball Yousef

Honiball Yousef was born on January  2nd, 1971. Since early age he became interested in music and started experimenting with musical instruments. In 1985 he joined the Conservatory of Music High School in Tehran. While in the school he also studied composition with well-known Iranian musicians such as Morteza Hananeh and Sharif Lotfi. These two masters had a big influence in shaping musical thoughts of Honiball. Honiball was also influenced by two other music masters: Thomas Christian David and Tengiz Shavlokhashvili.

In 1995, Honiball joined the Music University in Tehran and continued his advanced music education.

Honiball for years has been involved with church music in Iran and elsewhere outside Iran and has composed and arranged several Christian Music pieces. He has more than 26 years of experience in music education and In 2002 he established the “Beneil Music Academy” in Tehran where he trains young musicians and artists. Recently emerging Assyrian musicians and artists such as Sam Madoo, Edwin Elieh, Shemiram Qashapoor and Sinella Aghassi at some point have been trained and educated in this academy.

Following his believes and convictions, in 2000 he established the “Messaiah Ensemble”. This group includes symphonic and electronic instrumental musicians, choir and solo singers and for many years has performed classic and modern Christian Music in Iran and internationally. The last performance of this group was in Vahdat Hall in Tehran, which is the Iran’s most important performing arts center, attracted a lot of attention within Iran and internationally.

In recent years he has shown great interest in eastern folklore music in particular the works of contemporary Assyrian musicians. He sees this as a beginning in his research in ancient and modern Mesopotamian traditions which are already having great influence on his own creations. Since his youth he was also greatly influenced by Hannibal Alkhas art the iconic Assyrian visual artist and poet.

Some of his compositions are:

  • To the Dark Clouds of Universe – Based on a Persian poem by Frida Noroozi
  • Maryam: An Eastern Ave Maria – based on his own lyrics
  • The Thanksgiving Song – Christian Music theme
  • This sad and passing world -- Christian Music theme
  • The Epic of Shamiram and Ninous – based on ancient Assyrian themes
  • The song of an Actors – based on a Persian poem by Afshin Moghadam
  • If I was a moon – based on Persian poem by Freidoon Moshiri

Some of his concerts include:

  • 2000: Messiah Ensemble Concert, Tehran and Urmi
  • 2000: Ambassadors of Christ Concert, Assyrian Pentecostal Church, and Assemblies of God church Tehran
  • Assyrian Heavenly Convention, William Daniel Hall, Tehran
  • 2004: Messiah Ensemble Concert , Roodaki Hall, Tehran
  • 2005: Messiah Ensemble Concert , Farhang Hall, Tehran
  • 2006: Messiah Ensemble Concert , In Turkey and Holland
  • 2007: Messiah Ensemble Concert , Episcopal Church of Tehran
  • 2008 Messiah Ensemble Concert , Assemblies of God church, Tehran
  • 2010: Classical Music Concert, German Church, Tehran
  • 2011: Messiah Ensemble Concert , Vahdat Theater, Tehran
  • 2013 Assyrian Folk Music Concert, German Church, Tehran

Honiball after his recent extensive research on Mesopotamian music, performed a concert of “Assyrian Folkloric Music” in Tehran for Assyrian and non-Assyrian audience. He called this concert “A Reseach Oriented Concert”.

Honiball has contributed the orchestration and arrangement of the “Epic of Ishtar and Tammuz” choir and solo song for our 6th annual Mesopotamian Night concert. We look forward to an increasing role for him in future productions.

Devin Farney

San Francisco based musician Devin Farney is a composer/arranger/pianist with two degrees in composition - Bachelors from The University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music (2006) and Masters from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (2009).   He and his music has been a part of several international music festivals, and has received numerous awards and recognition including the ANALOG art's 'Iron Composer' competition, the San Francisco Hot Air New Music Festival, and most recently the Bassoon Chamber Music Competition.  He also composes commercial and concert music on demand, and has been commissioned by filmmakers, conductors, etc.  He is the staff composer at Brilliant Ideas Ad Agency as well as Fat Elvis Music boutique. 

Devin helped the Mesopotamian Night production last year with Fred Elieh’s song and this year his role has increased significantly as well. He took a shot on Biba’s non-trivial songs and we are sure our audience will love his arrangements.

Michel Bosc

French composer Michel Bosc (born in 1963) is largely self-taught. In 1985, the French singer and composer William Sheller convinced him to devote himself to writing music. Since then, he has tackled registers as diverse as chamber music, symphonies, sacred music and music for the theatre.
Leading soloists have given Michel Bosc encouragement, among them the flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal (for a flute trio), the countertenors James Bowman and Bertrand Dazin (creators of his cantata Ils sont là), the soprano Natalie Dessay (for the melody Madinina), John Walz, first cello of the Los Angeles Music Center Opera and Monica Cecconi-Botella, composer and premier Grand Prix de Rome (for the Elégie for strings).

A member of the Société Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Michel Bosc is a distinguished music critic and analyst. His writings include the sleeve-notes for a recording of French Baroque music by the Petits Chanteurs de Versailles.

As a composer, Michel Bosc is the author of over two hundred pieces of music; many of them have been played in places as diverse as Paris (Théâtre du Châtelet, Salle Gaveau, Musée d'Orsay), Angers, Saumur, Tours, Fontevrault, Annecy, Strasbourg, Lille, Lyon, Poitiers, but also Wavre (Belgium), Landgoed Vilsteren (The Netherlands), Madrid (Spain), Brno (Czech Republic), Pasadena and San Jose (USA), Yokohama, Tokyo and Kobe (Japan) .
As an orchestrator, he has done several arrangements and transcriptions for symphony or chamber orchestras.

His work spans over a wide range of styles: symphony, symphonic poem, choral music, concerto, string quartet, opera, wind quintet, brass quintet, trio with piano, melodies… His sacred music includes a mass, a requiem, a set of “Leçons de Ténèbres” and two oratorios.

Bosc's works have been performed worldwide by such performers and ensembles as Jean-Walter Audoli, Hugues Reiner, Philippe Fournier and Maximilian Fröschl, the soprano Agnès Mellon, the choir conductor Michel Laplénie, the Ensemble Sagittarius, the brass quintet of the Orchestre National des Pays-de-Loire, the Orchestre Pasdeloup, the National Orchestra of Kazakhstan, the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Ulyanovsk Philharmonia, the European Orchestra, the Orchestre Instrumental d’Ile-de-France, the Orchestre Symphonique Lyonnais and the Ensemble Gabriele Leone.

The music of Michel Bosc is both tonal and highly personal, marked by a fierce, independent hedonism. In the words of conductor Maximilian Fröschl, Bosc’s music combines “melodic sweetness, polyphonic rigor and the power of rhythm”
Several works of Michel Bosc are published in the United States by Wolfhead music. Compilations of scores are also available on More information and details about Michel Bosc's works can be found here.

Michel Bosc has written several books in French:  
- novels: Marie-Louise - L'Or et la Ressource, Poste Restante;
- play: Viendras-tu ?;
- poetry book: Cathédrales;
- essays: Musique baroque française, splendeurs et résurrection; Symbolisme et dramaturgie de Maeterlinck dans Pelléas et Mélisande; Au Bout du rêve, La Belle au Bois dormant de Walt Disney; L’Art musical de Walt Disney: l’animation de 1928 à 1966;
- study: Mannequins GéGé, Chic de Paris

He occasionally writes for the musical magazine La Lettre du musicien.
Michel Bosc contribution to Mesopotamian Night project has been significant, prolific and selfless. This year with his “Prayer of Assyrian Nation” instrumental piece, we are opening up a new exciting field: the Assyrian Spiritual Music. We have blessed by this unconditional relationship and his devotion to arts and music and look forward to more fruitful cooperation in future years.

Below is Michel Bosc little message "I feel Assyrian too":

Tiglat Issabey

Born in Tehran, Iran in 1958, Tiglat’s musical origins are quite literal. His mother, Shemirum Issabeik, was a vocalist possessing a voice of beauty and power; his father, Nebu Issabey, was an accomplished concert violinist, distinguished composer and vigorous conductor. Without question, it was Shemirum who was responsible for his artistic sensibilities, raising him in an environment that not only aided, but provoked him into music. Although his influences were immediate, his musical studies began considerably late. His serious musical development began at age eleven and came at the hands of Luigi Pazanari at the Tehran Music Conservatory.

Come 1979, Tiglat found himself in the United States working towards the American dream. He eventually settled in Chicago and quickly matured into one of the Assyrian community’s most prolific and dependable arrangers. At the age of only twenty-six, Tiglat arranged Sargon Gabriel’s 1984 self-titled album which featured the string section from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. For three decades, he would solidify himself as one of the most valuable and influential producers in the Assyrian community. Tiglat was able to reform Assyrian pop music by incorporating various ethnic elements from all around the world. He replaced typical musical instruments with more distinctive options: trading in guitars for woodwinds, adding Latin percussion in place of the tumbak, and substituting modern synthetic leads for the zorna. His signature precision arrangements and diverse style have been emulated time and time again.

In 2013, Tiglat rearranged his father’s renowned “Roomrama” (which is used as the Assyrian National Anthem) from the ground up. Using drastically different voices along with all-new orchestration, Tiglat has innovated Assyrian music once more- this time with a piece closer to the heart.