About the Syriac Music Institute (SMI)

Director's Welcome

The "Syriac Music Institute," founded in 2007, is a non-profit organization which operates exclusively for educational and charitable purposes, pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 

SMI’s mission is to promote the preservation and growth of the ancient Syriac sacred music tradition, as one of the world’s oldest chant traditions, developed mainly in the territories where the Syriac people have historically resided: Mosul, Tur ʽAbdin , Mardin, Amid, Edessa, Antioch, Aleppo, Homs, Nabak and Sadad.

SMI aims to serve a unique role in the academic community, providing a direct line to the Syriac musical legacy, via its original heirs.  The Institute’s innovative projects aim to globalize Syriac music, making it accessible through diverse media—modern and traditional—to academics at every university, and lay enthusiasts in every library, classroom, and home.

The Syriac Hymnal is one of the major, and most recent, publications by the Institute (2018), regarded as the most comprehensive hymnbook in the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  The hymnal features traditional hymns from the Beth Gazo (“musical treasury”), and qathuliqi hymns, based on Syriac folk melodies mainly composed by Bishop Yuhanna Dolabani, Abdulmesih Nu‛man Qarabashi, and others, for every feast and occasion of the Syriac liturgical calendar.  All hymns are prepared in Syriac text, Latin transliteration, English translation, and musical notation with easy sight reading.

This, and every other innovative SMI project, is aimed to educate Syriac community members of all ages.  Educating our fellow Syriac faithful about their faith and heritage, particularly in the diaspora, is critical.  An endangered faith community, and its historic cultural tradition, is best positioned to survive and prosper when its energy is dedicated to education and academic pursuits.

Thus, our goal through these projects is to establish a system for the Syriac cultural entities—whether music, liturgical rite, hymnal, faith, music or Syriac language—so the younger generation will be properly nurtured in their faith and Syriac culture.  

Gabriel Aydin, PhD

Founder and Director of the Syriac Music Institute