Ara Dinkjian (Armenian: Արա Տինքճեան; born 1958) is an Armenian-American musician. He is the founder of the band Night Ark. Ara Dinkjian is considered one of the top oud players in the world, his compositions have been recorded in thirteen different languages, which include the multi-platinum hit "Dinata", it was performed in the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Ara has written songs for Eleftheria Arvanitaki, and Sezen Aksu ("Vazgeçtim", "Sarışın", "Yine Mi Çiçek", "Hoş Geldin", among others). Turkish singers Gülşen, Kibariye, Mine Koşan, Ahmet Kaya, Coşkun Sabah, Burcu Güneş have recorded his songs. Biography: 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. Married to Margo Sarkisian, mother of his three children: 18 year old, Arev Dinkjian, 29 year old Simone` Soultanian, and 20 year old Kyle Dinkjian. 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. He formed his band Night Ark in 1986, which introduced listeners to a new blend of Anatolian roots music fused with jazz. His first album under the Night Ark band name was "Picture" released in 1986. In 2002, Dinkjian was chosen to represent Armenia in the First International Meeting Of The Oud, where twelve of the world's top oud players gathered in Thessaloniki, Greece for three days of solo concerts, master classes, and exchange of information. His newest album and first solo CD, "An Armenian in America", comprising 12 tracks, was recorded live at the 2005 International Oud Festival in Jerusalem. At the 2008 Oud Festival in Israel, he recorded an album with Sokratis Sinopoulos - lyra (Greece), Tamer Pinarbasi - kanun (Turkey), Rimon Haddad - bass (Palestina) and Zohar Fresco - percussion (Israel), and name it "Peace on Earth". On the 11/11/2010 he has gathered the Night Ark band to an outstanding performance of re-union in the Jerusalem Ud festival. Festivals: Dinkjian has performed in several festivals, mostly in Israel, where his music is very popular: Ethnic music festival: Songs of the oud, Jerusalem International Oud Festival, ArmenStock 2004, Días del laúd Festival, 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival, Night Ark: Ara Dinkjian's band, Night Ark, came together in 1986 after Steve Backer, a producer for RCA, heard a demo of one of Dinkjian's original compositions and promptly issued an invitation to record. Members of his band Night Ark include, Arto Tunçboyacıyan on the percussion as well as pianist/composer Armen Donelian and Marc Johnson. He is accompanied by the world-class musicians Zohar Fresco on percussion and Adi Rennert on keyboards. They have recorded 6 albums.