Aliya was born on December 20th, 1993. At the age of 5, she began to study piano and ballet. At 16 years old, she left her Massachusetts home to study in prestigious Russian ballet conservatories in Washington, DC and NYC. Cycon rediscovered her love for music while living in New York, and after a life-changing opportunity to travel in the West Bank of Palestine, she decided to retire from ballet and dedicate herself to studying Arabic music, language and culture. She spent her remaining time in New York studying the Arabic oud with Zafer Tawil and Bassam Saba, as well as Arabic Maqam theory with Arabic-jazz fusion star, Amir el-Saffar. She was then accepted to Berklee College of Music, and now majors in Contemporary Writing & Production, and studies the ‘oud under Simon Shaheen. In Summer 2014 she founded her own “Arabic-inspired band” called Aliya Cycon Project in which she plays her original fusion compositions on the oud and voice, accompanied by a talented band of fellow Berklee students from around the world. The group has already been featured on Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares radio station, and has headlined at major Massachusetts venues including Ryles Jazz Club and The Iron Horse Music Hall. They have also opened for the Amir El-Saffar Quintet. In April 2015, the band released its first album, “We Will Be Light” which is available on iTunes and Spotify.
At Berklee, Cycon also works as a tutor in Berklee’s Core Music Tutoring Services. Since 2014, she has tutored students in all levels of Music Theory and Ear Training, among other subjects. After her first semester of tutoring, she was promoted to Supervisor of the Core Music Tutoring Services, where she now is in charge of many administrative tasks. Included in such tasks has been designing a newer training module for new tutors, and then implementing it in one-on-one training sessions. Supervising has also given her extensive experience with Microsoft Office, Google Drive and Sheets, and FileMaker Pro. She has maintained her job as tutor while being supervisor, which has kept her disciplined in handling two distinct and challenging jobs at once. Cycon hopes to continue applying her tutoring and office experience after her expected graduation from Berklee in Spring 2016. Cycon has been interning with the CAC since the fall of 2015.