Life of famous musician brought to light

Life of famous musician brought to light

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Life of famous musician brought to light

Ferdi Özbeğen’s biography book details his personal life.

After renowned Turkish musician and pianist Ferdi Özbeğen passed away due to respiratory failure on Jan. 28, unknown details of his life have begun to emerge. Recently, research was initiated to find his personal records at the Mıhitaryan Armenian School in Istanbul, where he received his primary education.
Özbeğen’s biography, “Şöhret Dediğin: Ferdi Özbeğen’in Hayatı (The Thing Called Fame: the Life of Ferdi Özbeğen),”was written by Ali Rıza Türker and published this month.

Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, the Mıhitaryan School’s Priest, Hagopos Çopuryan, said Özbeğen was the son of a Catholic-Armenian mother and Turkish father and his original name was Ferdinand. Çopuryan said the school records would be scanned in order to learn the details of his life story. “The archives [of the school] are so broad that we have to go over all the records to reach [Özbeğen’s] personal records,” Çopuryan said.

Çopuryan said until the Provisional Commission on Minorities (ATK) began operating in the 1970s, the Mıhitaryan School was preferred by many groups of society in addition to Armenians due to its high educational quality. “Today, one can receive an education at our school only if one of their parents is of Armenian origin; however, such a distinction was not made until 1976,” Çopuryan said.

In his biography, Özbeğen describes his mother, Afet (Anita), as “a daughter of an Armenian-Catholic family from Ankara. Her first husband was an Egyptian, and he was much older than my mother. Since my mother was a Catholic, I went to Mıhitaryan Catholic School for a while.”