Two Exciting Concerts of Mystical Music by the Yuval Ron Ensemble featuring Special Guests at the University of Philosophical Research on April 26th and May 7th

20 04 2015


I have recently had the great privilege of curating an ongoing series of musical performances at the University of Philosophical Research. I had originally been introduced to the University and the Society of Philosophical Research when I was scoring David Lebrun’s film, Proteus several years ago. It was during that time David visited the University’s library to shoot footage of several of their especially rare books for the film. At the time, I only had an opportunity to see David’s footage and hear his stories of the University. I was greatly intrigued that such a wonderful collection of rare texts from different wisdom traditions existed in Los Angeles. Curating this lecture series has given me an opportunity to see first hand the treasures in the University’s library. Imagine, having knowledge not from just one set of beliefs, but from many different beliefs, cultures, and traditions right at your fingertips. It is as if I had come across an ancient house of wisdom in Los Angeles!

If you would like to share this joy of learning and musical enlightenment with me, I’d like to invite you to two special upcoming concerts in the next few weeks.
On April 26th, the Yuval Ron Ensemble will perform a special program entitled, Music of the Psalms, dedicated to the creation and use of Psalms in ancient Jerusalem. We will musically explore their ancient origins and how they have been used in both ancient and contemporary settings. The concert will feature the Yuval Ron Ensemble’s own Katyanna Zoroghlian. While many of you have heard Katyanna’s soulful versions of the Ensemble’s standard repertoire, her renditions of these sacred pieces are truly magical.

On May 17th, we will perform a second special program entitled, Burning Heart dedicated to Qawwali: an ecstatic Sufi Hindu-Pakistani devotional genre of music. This concert will feature my dear friend, the very talented Sukhawat Ali Khan. Because Sukhawat lives in the Bay Area and is in high demand around the country, this is a special opportunity to see him perform with the ensemble and not to be missed!

Burning Heart will also be a wonderful introduction to the musical practices of the regions that border Rajasthan, India as well as Sufi devotional music. For those of you interested in joining my tour to Rajasthan this coming February 2016, this concert will provide you with an enticing taste of the wonders that await us.

I hope you will all join me for these two wonderful upcoming concerts. The University of Philosophical Research is a truly special place and I am already incredibly excited to once again make music in an enlightened realm of spiritual learning.

To buy tickets or learn more, you can visit the University’s Event page here:

To learn more about my upcoming tour to Rajasthan India, please visit the tour’s webpage on my website here:
Katyanna at St john


Bringing Middle Eastern sacred music to China: creating a music video for Erev Shel Shoshanim.

21 08 2012

The Chinese director Justin Jia arrived in my studio this summer. He was interested to see how I communicate with my audiences about my music. He was also helping us to communicate with Chinese presenters who are hoping to bring the Yuval Ron Ensemble to China. We decided to have Justin produce and direct a music video of one of my songs. We have also created a version with Chinese subtitles to post on servers that are accessible to the chinese people.

I gave him three of my CD’s (Under the Olive Tree, Tree of Life and Seeker of Truth) and asked him to take a listen and pick the one song that touches his heart most deeply. Being familiar with the film and TV work, I know how long one sits in front of the computer to edit a music video, and how many hours they hear that same song again and again and again while cutting the video.

Justin took a listen and made a clear choice: Erev Shel Shoshanim/Shalom Salam. It was interesting for me to sit down with a young Chinese director and to explain the background of the song and the context of the conflict in the Middle East. Justin got the picture. He shot some footage with my Ensemble singer Maya Haddi, duduk master Norik Manoukian, and myself, and assembled some images from Jerusalem to elaborate on the message of the song.

This song is a prayer for peace for the children of Jerusalem, the Middle East, and the whole world. Please share it with your friends and family and teach it to your children, so we can all carry the message of those who are tired of war and violence and wish only to live quietly in peace.

Recorded by the Yuval Ron Ensemble in 2009 for the CD Seeker of Truth, Erev Shel Shoshanim features Maya Haddi on lead vocals and guest Bassam Al Rashidi on male lead vocals. Additional vocals are performed by Smadar Levi, Noor and Valley Beth Shalom Choir. The ensemble also includes Norik Manoukian – duduk, Jamie Papish – percussion, David Martinelli – percussion, Virginie Alimian – kanoun, Najwa Gibran – vocals, Sukhawat Ali Khan – vocals and harmonium, Carolyne Aycaguer-Ron – harmonium, whirling dervish Aziz, sacred dancer Maya G and Yuval Ron – oud and the artistic director. 

Whirling Dervish Aziz, Sufi devotional music and Sacred Hebrew musical traditions

16 07 2010

To celebrate the end of this exciting summer I am bringing together my full ensemble with Dervish Aziz, for another performance of ‘Seeker of Truth” (see video clip insert). This is a pioneering endeavor in bringing together the Middle Eastern and South Asian vocal and musical traditions into a new exhilarating trance-induced accord.  We presented it first at the World Sacred Music in LA in 2008. The DVD and CD “Seeker of Truth” ( see Cd’s and DVD page at came out of that blessed night at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. The performance was sold out and the people, and as soon as Yeghish our master of the Duduk began his introductory solo opening the first set, all of us were transformed to an earlier time in ancient lands. It was out doors at the courtyard of the Skirball Center. 700 people filled the place to a max.  I remember looking up to the skies and feeling I am in another open courtyard somewhere in the Middle East in a very distant time. It was magical. It was inspiring and transforming experience. 700 strangers became brothers and sisters in the course of that event. You can see it at the end portion of clip above.

This summer 2010 I will be teaching in Mendocino Middle Eastern music and dancer Retreat. Heaven on Earth! Then I will be going to Esalen Institute in Big Sur,CA to teach a week-long seminar with leading brain researcher and writer Mark Robert Waldman. It is called Music, Spirituality and the Brain. Very interesting work!

And then we will go back to LA to celebrate the end of a summer  with the “Seeker of Truth Concert. In this concert we will perform the ecstatic music of the mystical Sufi and Hebrew traditions of Middle East and Pakistan with the Whirling Dervish Aziz and the sacred dance artist Maya Karasso. The performance at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica, CA will also features the soulful vocals of Maya Haddi and special guest Sukhawat Ali Khan, a master Qawwali (devotional) singer from Pakistan.  I hope you will be there too!

Sufi Music as a path to Unity – Nusrat Ali Fatah Khan, Omar Faruk Tekbilek and Sukhawat Ali Khan

2 12 2009

Nusrat Ali Fatah Khan (may peace be upon his soul) was sited on a carpet, center stage of Symphony Hall in Boston. His Qawwali singing just brought the audience into ecstasy. Audience members jumped on stage and danced in trance as the Boston police got increasingly nervous. The police ended up shutting down the concert…..The great Nusrat was so large that he needed 3 people to help him stand up and walk off stage.

I will never forget this exciting night in Boston in the early 1990’s, seeing the “Voice from Heaven” singing mind-blowing spiritual “jazz  scat” from the Hindu-Pakistani Sufi tradition. Since that day I have been researching and seeking out the Sufi musical traditions, its philosophy, psychology and mystical teaching. I was very fortunate to meet the great Sufi master musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek in 1996 and to work with him on 2 albums “ONE” and “One Truth” and on two film soundtrack which I composed (“Love of the First Degree” and “Inshallah”). Faruk introduced me to the Turkish Sufi tradition, the poetry of Yunus, and the wisdom of the Mevlavi teaching about the Breath of Life, being an instrument and being empty. Since then I have explored the connection between mystical Jewish teaching ( Kabbalah) and music and the Sufi traditions. These journeys influenced and informed my music with the Yuval Ron Ensemble and with all that I do.  To me, The Sufi path and music have  been one of the major gifts that I got in this life!

In recent years I was fortunate to cross paths with the Qawwali master vocalist Sukhawat ali Khan ( the son of the great Ustad Salamat Ali Khan – may peace be upon his soul). Sukhawat’s voice is featured on my latest release “Seeker of Truth” Cd and on the new DVD “Seeker of Truth” (a concert film plus a behind the scene documentary) – You can hear and see it at the CD’s and DVD’s page at

On Tuesday, December 15, 2009, at 7:30 pm I will be giving a lecture demonstration on Sacred Ecstasy in Hassidic Prayer and Sufi Ritual. It will be a musical presentation on the inner workings of the ecstatic Hassidic music & dance, and the Sufi practice of moving prayer-meditation (Whirling). How one may transcend the limits of reality and reach Unity and why certain music and certain movements are used in the mystical practice, both in the Hasidic-Jewish tradition and in the Islamic-Sufi path. The location is: Valley Beth Shalom: 15739 Ventura Blvd. Encino, CA 91436-2951. Admission is Free. For more information: call 818-788-6000

I hope to see you there!

For more events on Sufi music and poetry see the Calendar Page at

Peace be on you,