Ara Dinkjian (born 1958) is an Armenian-American musician who is considered one of the top oud players in the world. His compositions include the multi-platinum hit "Dinata" which was performed in the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Born in New Jersey to Armenian parentage, Dinkjian made his professional debut at the 1964 New York City World's Fair playing on the doumbag—aged five. He accompanied John Berberian and George Mgrdichian. His earliest professional musical experience was accompanying his father Onnik Dinkjian, a renowned Armenian folk and liturgical singer. He was enrolled at The Hartt School, a specialized performing arts college in Hartford, Connecticut and was offered a scholarship to attend at the age of 18. Ara learned several western and eastern instruments (piano, guitar, darbuka) 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.
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