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     Microsoft Provides Musician with His Muse Company
April 2, 2004

Microsoft Provides Musician with His Muse

Company, Coworkers Push Program Manager to Record-Industry Renown

By Joshua Isaac



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 the
Corporate Security Investigations group, plays
classical music under the stage name
MRMOONLIGHT. He just released a new CD
and will perform in concert April 11 in Seattle.
"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 constructive feedback.
"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 Ural.
"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 the album.
"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, visit http://www.mrmoonlight.com.
Copyright 2004




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