Turkish music draws interest in the US
NEW YORK – Anadolu Agency
A recent Ottoman-Turkish classical music concert held at the Rutgers University Bradley Hall Theater in Newark, New Jersey has received great interest from audiences.
Makam New York is a non-profit organization founded by an important representative of Turkish classical music, Ahmet Erdoğdular. In the concert titled “Sounds of the Bosphorus,” Erdoğdular performed as the soloist. He was accompanied by Göksel Baktagir on the qanun, Yurdal Tokcan on the lute and Ömer Erdoğlular on the reed.
Makam New York was founded in 2011 and gave Turkish classical music classes to nearly 50 students during their seventh workshop this year, said Erdoğdular, speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency.
“We have students not only from New York but also from Brazil, Colombia, Australia and Canada,” he said.
“We hope the students will promote Turkish culture. This is a big honor for us; a big intercultural bridge,” Erdoğdular added.
Foreigners have taken a great interest in their classes and Turkish instruments, he said.
“At first we did not have qanun students but now we have students from even Greece and Egypt. Interest in the qanun has increased. There is already interest in the lute. Even though the reed is an instrument that cannot be played everywhere, we have nearly 10 students,” Erdoğdular said.
He said their first Turkish classical music concert in February 2016 was very important for the promotion of the band at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan, New York, one of the most important art centers.
Turkish maqams captivate people
Qanun virtuoso Baktagir, is also a composer and received the Presidency Culture Grand Award last year. He said they were pleased to see the interest in Turkish classical music.
“The sound system intervals of Turkish music are the names our maqams. We have a music system that captivates those who are interested in it,” said Baktagir.
He also said Erdoğdular organized concerts and workshops every year. This way, they are able to teach Turkish instruments and the structures of Turkish music to foreigners.
Baktagir also pointed out the importance of organizing such artistic events far from Turkey. He said the promotion of Turkish music was a long way.
“We already see foreigners are fascinated by the deepness of our music. Lately, the influence [of our music] has been increasing,” said Baktagir.
There has been a greater interest in Makam New York concerts and workshops, said lutist Tokcan.
“This is a meeting point. We have participants from all around the world, including Tunisia, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. The message this projects aims to give has reached the wider masses. Makam New York is a very important sharing point in terms of our culture, arts and music,” he said.