Monika Jalili and NoorSaaz is:
MONIKA JALILI, Vocals
MEGAN WEEDER, Violin & Kamanche
NATHAN DILLON, Guitar
MAVROTHIS T. KONTANIS, Oud
TIMOTHY QUIGLEY, Percussion
Monika Jalili is a classically trained vocalist born in New York City with a degree in Vocal Performance from The Manhattan School of Music and in French Literature from Columbia University. Monika has been a performer on stage and film since the age of 12 and was a student of the late Beverley Peck Johnson. Her performances have taken her to Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, The Producers Club, The Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, The Moscow Conservatory of Music, The Starlight Roof at the Waldorf Astoria, The Wortham Center (Houston), Wolf Trap (Virginia), The Shubert Theatre (New Haven) and venues throughout Europe, and around the US. She has performed on and been interviewed on many international television and radio programs worldwide. Monika's great love of Persian music and culture led her to create NoorSaaz with Megan Weeder.
Megan Weeder, born in New Jersey, has been playing violin since the age of five. After graduating from Indiana University with a Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance and Ethnomusicology, she went on to complete her Master's degree in Ethnomusicology through the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. In London, she studied with Egyptian violinist Ahmed Mukhtar and performed Persian classical music with the Naghmeh Ensemble. Since 1992, she has been performing and recording music from the Arab world, Central Asia, Iran and Turkey, in ensembles such as Saba and the Salaam Middle Eastern Music and Dance Ensemble. She has also explored world music outside of the Middle East, performing American traditional music, Javanese Gamelan, and flamenco guitar. Currently, she resides in New York City, where she studies with Bassam Saba and performs and records with groups ranging from traditional Arabic to rock and roll.
Nathan Dillon grew up in East Tennessee and studied American roots music with Terry Hill and Robert Shuler as a child. After studying jazz and classical guitar at Indiana University, he moved to New York to pursue musical endeavors. After five years in New York, Mr. Dillon relocated to Chicago and currently teaches guitar at the Catherine Cook School. He also plays mandolin, banjo, lap steel guitar and composes music for film, television, and web-based media.
Mavrothis T. Kontanis was born in 1979 in Pennsylvania, in the United States, though his family's origin is from Halkidiki, Greece. As a child, he showed interest in several instruments, including the clarinet, guitar, and bouzouki. However, at the age of 16 he discovered his true passion, the oud, and began lessons with his first teacher Stamatis Merzanis immediately. Since then he has studied with many other renowned masters including Münir Beken, Emin Gündüz, John Berberian, Kyriakos Kalaitzides, Dinçer Dalk?l?c, Yurdal Tokcan, and Ara Dinkjian. In addition to playing oud, Mavrothis has become an accomplished singer and violinist, and also enjoys teaching and writing. Mavrothis has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East playing traditional and classical music from all over the world, as well as original compositions of his own with various ensembles. He has been featured on several albums and the film soundtrack of AmericanEast, and is currently working on three specific recording projects that will showcase his musicianship and diverse musical interests.
Timothy Quigley is a percussionist/multi-instrumentalist and composer living in Brooklyn, New York. Known for his versatility and tastefulness, Mr. Quigley is accomplished in playing in a wide variety of styles and contexts on the drum set as well as congas, doumbek, def, riq, tapan and frame drums. His creative approach and unique sound have led to many collaborations. He has worked extensively as a sideman, sharing the stage with notables such as Smokey Hormel (Beck, Tom Waits), Frank London (Klezmatics, Klezmer Brass All Stars), Ron Miles (Bill Frisell Quartet), Doug Wieselman, Reuben Radding, Allen Ginsburg, Charming Hostess, and Cheb Nasro.