nazo zakkak was a talented pianist as a kid, so he went to college and got a degree in Jazz. But music degrees don’t pay the bills, so he went to school again and got an MFA in Music Composition…clearly, he doesn’t learn things the easy way. But he is good at music, so his performance career took him to international stages and, in fulfilling his life-long dream, to New York City.
But New Yorkers are mostly mean because their rent is too high, so nazo went back to the west coast and finished his MFA. Like most musicians fresh out of college, nazo had no direction in life until he got hit by a car. This caused him an ear injury that put his performance days to rest.
However, nazo is a Christian and believes that God uses all things for good. So after taking a break from music and learning how to trust in God, he was introduced to the world of Orthodox Hymnology and fell totally in love with it. His hymns have been met with great acclaim and he continues to be commissioned by Churches and Monasteries across the U.S. He released an album of new Orthodox Hymns in 2017 called Luxari which has been called the best CD ever. Check out these quotes:
“This is the best CD ever.” – nazo’s Mom and Dad
“Why are you asking me for a quote? I never liked your music.” – nazo’s Former Best Friend
“What's important is that I love YOU, honey.” – nazo’s Wife
On a serious note, nazo zakkak has made Orthodox Hymnography his life’s work. His aim is to serve the Orthodox Christian Church through the composition of prayerful, simple yet beautiful hymns, and to inspire others to compose new music that will serve the profound, rich texts of the Orthodox Liturgical Tradition.
If you’re still reading this, please consider supporting this ministry; nazo zakkak has no skill sets other than music, as evidenced here by this terrible, terrible biography.
In summary, nazo zakkak has the following degrees:
BM in Jazz Studies from SDSU
MFA in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology from UC Irvine
And he currently works as:
Composer-in-Residence for Antiochian Archdiocese of North America
Choir Director for St. Anthony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Diego, CA.
And if you want some serious quotes by some seriously talented people, check these out:
nazo has found a perfect balance between tradition and invention, and he has seized the moment.
zakkak’s work is neither traditional nor contemporary; and yet, neither is it somewhere in between. Instead, it lies somewhere completely outside of these two polarities, and for an Orthodox composer, perhaps this is the best place to be.