A composed piece of music is more than a product
of momentary inspiration; it is the reflection
of experiences accumulated in life, of places
visited, of people met.
These are the words of Tolga Ural, senior
program manager in the Corporate Security
Investigations group, whose passion for music is
matched only by his passion for Microsoft.
Tolga Ural, senior program manager in
Corporate Security Investigations group,
classical music under the stage name
MRMOONLIGHT. He just released a new CD
and will perform in concert April 11 in
"Microsoft encourages you to do great work and
follow your pursuits," Ural said. "There is
absolutely no way that I could have been
successful in my music if not for Microsoft."
He credits much of his musical success to the
skills and the talents he gained from working at
Microsoft for the past nine years and the values
and the tenets the company has reinforced in
him. This ranges from project-management skills
that enable him to handle even the minutest
details involved with producing an album, to
having the aspirations and the dedication to
envision a goal and see it through to the end.
He also says coworkers inspired him to push his
limits, supporting him and providing
"It was a good friend of mine at Microsoft who
challenged me to pursue my goal of producing a
second album," said Ural, who was initially
doubtful if he could ever find the time or
energy. "I gradually realized that with enough
discipline and time management, I would be able
to get there. Still, what I have done is really
nothing when compared with coworkers who are
raising whole families."
Modest as he is, it is still hard to convey two
albums and international musical success as
"nothing." Ural was born in Ankara, Turkey, and
raised there and in the United States as his
mother pursued a career as Turkey's first female
petroleum and chemistry engineer, alongside his
father, a college professor and physician.
Trained from an early age in classical music,
Ural got his stage name, MRMOONLIGHT, while
performing with a rock band in college.
"I was caught practicing a Beethoven piece
called the Moonlight sonata," he said. "After
that day, our singer kept introducing everyone
in our band by their real names—except for me."
After graduating from college in Turkey, he
recorded his first album, Diary of Dreams.
That instrumental album touched on many of his
experiences from the previous decade and was a
way for him to capture the memories of many
friends who had since moved on.
He, too, moved on from that period and continued
his career development, pursuing a master's
degree in international business. His two-year
program began in California and took him to
France, where he started an internship at
Microsoft's headquarters for its Europe, Middle
East and Africa region. He accepted a full-time
position with Microsoft at the European
Operations Center in Ireland, after which he
eventually moved to Redmond. It was at the end
of last year that he completed his second album,
Virtues&Vices, with more than 60
minutes of original music, laced with ambient,
new-age, and classical melodies. The entire
album, including the artwork, was produced by
"Having lived and traveled throughout Europe,
America, and Asia Minor, this album is
reflective of journeys across many different
countries and cultures, collected over time," he
said. "The album, as conveyed by its title, is
meant to provoke thought on the different
qualities existing in each one of us."
You don't have to look far to find praise for
"It is a very original set of work, with hints
of Vangelis, Pink Floyd, Enya, and Chopin
showing every once in a while," said Steve
Tapia, senior director at MSN Music.
If you go to Turkey, you will hear Ural's music
played regularly on the radio, to much
admiration. That's because when he last visited
family and friends in Turkey, Ural by chance was
introduced to a popular disc jockey while
shopping for music at a record store. His music
impressed the DJ so much that Ural is now played
regularly on the airwaves and has garnered a
dedicated following. He has a standing
invitation to appear on a popular TV talk show
whenever he returns to Turkey.
"It always feels good to be appreciated,
especially for hard work," said Ural, who refers
to Turkey and the United States as his two homes
and sees a deeper connection between the two
countries. "Both countries recently experienced
the inhumanity of terrorism. And the song
Freedom on my new album is dedicated to the
victims and to remind us that freedom should not
be taken for granted."
Ural will play in concert at 7:30 P.M. April 11
at the Rendezvous Jewel Box Theater in Seattle.
To learn more about his music and the concert,