Director at Syriac Music Institute, Cumberland, Rhode Island

Gabriel Aydin short bio Gabriel was born and raised in South East Anatolia Turkey and the first of six languages in which he is fluent is a modern dialect of Aramaic (known as Turoyo or Surayt). He holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree in ethnomusicology from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK)-Lebanon. He holds another master’s from Yale School of Divinity and Institute of Sacred Music. He is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at USEK. He is the founder and director of the Institute of Syriac Sacred Music in Rhode Island. He composed music for the Turkish documentary film titled “Yarina Bir Harf (A letter for tomorrow) 2007, another documentary film titled “Syriac People: Eastern Christians”, Slovenia (2014). He released a Syriac CD titles “Nusrotho.” He also composed the music for Multi-media compendium of 75 stories from both the Old and New Testaments for “Children’s Bible.” He is currently publishing the first official hymnal according to the rite of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, entitled “Zmirtoho d’ito Bnoṭa/Syriac Hymnal”. He trains choirs of the Syriac Orthodox Church for the Eastern United States.


“Syriac Music Institute”, is a non-profit organization which was started in 2007 by Gabriel Aydin. Syriac Music Institute operates exclusively for educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Syriac Music Institute’s purpose is to promote the preservation and growth of the ancient Syriac sacred musical tradition as one of the world’s oldest chant traditions developed mainly in the territories where Syriac people resided: Mosul (especially, the environs of the Monastery of Mor Mattai), Tur ‘Abdin (“The Mountain of the Servants [of God]” around Midyat, Turkey), Amid (modern Diyarbakır), Edessa/Urhoy (the cradle of Syriac language and culture, on the site of Urfa in modern Turkey), Antioch, (the city where the followers of Christ where called Christians for the first time [Acts 11:26]; and the ancient patriarchal See of the Syriac Church), Aleppo, Homs, Nabak and Sadad (all in modern Syria).

Syriac Music Institute aims to serve a unique role in the academic community, as the direct line, and original heirs, of the Syriac musical legacy—specifically the Antiochian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Maronite, Melkite, Saint Thomas Christians, Syriac Catholic, and Syriac Orthodox traditions, thus transcending denominational diversity.

The Institute’s innovative projects will globalize Syriac music, making it available through diverse media, traditional and modern (including the internet), making it accessible to the Syriac community around the globe, also to students and laymen in every university, classroom, library, and home.

Some of the projects that are being pursued by the Syriac Music Institute are:

  • The Syriac Liturgy Project: A project that will systematize the mass from a musical perspective in order to have a more unifying, youth-friendly. beneficial and effective Divine Liturgy: invigorating the music, making the homily more relevant and understandable to all ages.
  • Eight Ecclesiastical Syriac Modes (Tmone Qinotho): Description of the eight modes, their importance and use in the Syriac Church liturgical rite.
  • Beth Gazo of Mor Gabriel in music Notation: The Beth Gazo (the entire chant repertory) according to the tradition of Mor Gabriel will be transcribed/notated in western musical notation.

Currently, Syriac Music Institute is undertaking a very important project titled: “The Syriac Hymnal /  (Zmirotho d‛Ito b-Noṭa)” through which seeking to systematize the chant tradition in order to unify and harmonize the liturgical chant throughout the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. The Syriac Hymnal is a collection of hymns, i.e., liturgical chants: madroshé, qolé, ferdé, dedicated to every occasion distributed throughout the liturgical year, as well as chants that are observed during the Holy Qurbono / Mass, (i.e., qadish qadish, mawtokh, raḥem ‛layn etc.), for the use of the congregation. More than 350 chants, for the first time, are transcribed/notated according to the western musical notation system along with several chanting symbols that are unique to Syriac music system that provide limited insight into some aspects of musical and liturgical structure i.e., to articulate the division of the whole melodic and textual phrases in a single piece, referring to a form of the piece. Additionally, all the chants that are contained in this hymnbook come with Latin transliteration and English translation revised by His Eminence Mor Polycarpus of the Netherlands, The Reverend Fr. Elie Shabo, and Prof. Michael Penn of Mount Holyoke, MA. Finally, all these chants will eventually be recorded in an audio CD to ease the learning and memorization of their tunes.