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Department of Sacred Music Welcomes Composer in Residence nazo zakkak

The Department of Sacred Music is thrilled to announce our first ever Composer in Residence, Mr. nazo zakkak. nazo stunned the attendees at last summer's Sacred Music Institute with his beautiful compositions of Antiochian Orthodox church music.

The first of nazo's commissions will be the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom which will be premiered at the 2016 Sacred Music Institute being held from July 13-18 at the Antiochian Village.

We wish nazo many years of health, happiness and music making! (Please note that nazo has asked that his name be spelled in lower casing.)

Biography of nazo zakkak

Born in San Francisco and raised in San Diego, Lebanese-American composer nazo zakkak began piano lessons at an early age. He graduated with a BM in Jazz Studies from San Diego State University in 2009 with a Music Student of the Year Award, and Summa cum Laude with an MFA from the innovative ICIT program at UC Irvine in 2011.

As a child, he served as an altar boy in the Greek Orthodox Church, grew to love the structure of Orthodox services and became fascinated with Byzantine Chant.

Throughout college he performed regularly as a professional pianist both locally and internationally. Having spent several years in the fields of Jazz, Minimalism and Experimental music, he released a pause by any other name, an ambient piano album, in early 2012 as a conclusion to his performing days.

At the behest of a friend, nazo harmonized a setting of The Great Doxology which was premiered and recorded at St. Vladimir's Seminary in June, 2012. He soon began writing original liturgical hymns which have been commissioned and warmly received by many churches and monasteries across the U.S.

His research has led him to the study of Byzantine Chant, Russian Chant, Gregorian Chant, and Renaissance counterpoint, but his passion lies in the discovery and creation of an American Orthodox musical identity that will encourage composers and youth to write original hymns for liturgical use.

His works have been performed and recorded by several choirs. He is currently in production on Luxari, an album of original Orthodox hymns, which is set to be released in 2016.

nazo zakkak serves as choir director at St. Anthony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Diego.