Ara Dinkjian '80

Ara Dinkjian '80
Ara Dinkjian '80 will be performing at The Hartt School with The Secret Trio on Nov. 8 as part of Hartt 100. He earned the country’s first and only specialized degree in oud performance.

I began playing music professionally at the age of five, so pursuing a career in music was never a question. I auditioned for three conservatories, and The Hartt School was by far the best. I was elated to be accepted.

I was not the typical conservatory student—I had very little experience with classical music. My focus was always on my cultural (Armenian) music, and my main instrument was the oud (an ancient fretless lute of Persian origin). Miraculously, Hartt created a special “contract major” degree in the oud just for me, allowing me to do independent study, and even take courses for credit at other local colleges. This was an extraordinary gesture on the part of a major University. “Coming home” for this performance in November, I have the opportunity to say thank you and show that UHart’s faith (and gamble) in me was justified.

Ara Dinkjian '80 in college
As a student and even to this day, I was profoundly affected by some of my professors, who taught me not only music, but how to be a good human being. To current students at the University of Hartford, know that you are a unique being—and your strongest asset is indeed your uniqueness. Show the world something it has not seen (or more accurately, heard) before.

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