Ahmet Erdogdular is renowned for his sophisticated singing style and superior command of vocal techniques, Ahmet Erdogdular is also distinguished for his role in preserving the classical vocal forms of the Ottoman musical tradition. The New York Times deemed his voice “voluptuous and pliable” and his program “intoxicating.”
Starting music at an early age with his father and continuing under the guidance of the renowned Niyazi Sayın, Erdogdular performed as a lead singer while still a teenager. Erdogdular also studied makam and improvisation techniques with Necdet Yaşar and Kani Karaca, and later performed with them. He successively completed his bachelors and master’s degrees in Turkish Classical Music at the Istanbul Technical University State Conservatory. Erdogdular specialized in Turkish gazel (vocal improvisation) technique, while his research is on the use of music and poetry in gazel of the late Ottoman period. He continued his research in ethnomusicology and performance as a visiting scholar at Columbia University Department of Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies, and City University of New York Graduate Center Ethnomusicology.
Studying the methods and vocal techniques of Munir Nurettin Selçuk and Bekir Sıtkı Sezgin, and analyzing the early twentieth century recordings by soloists including Hafiz Kemal, Izak Al Gazi, and Üsküdarli Ali Efendi, Erdogdular mastered the ways in which poetry is matched to the music so that the literary substance and the musical composition are equally represented when improvising. He also performs Sufi musical repertoire that over centuries integrated spiritual practice and artistic expression, including the naat in Mevlevi ayins (the so-called “whirling dervish” ceremony), as well as ilahi (hymns) and kaside (improvisation on religious poetry), as essential components of the Sufi zikir (remembrance ceremony).
Ahmet Erdogdular is the founder and artistic director of Makam New York, Inc., a non-profit organization for Ottoman classical music and arts. He founded the Turkish Music Institute Workshop in 2011 – a first in North America, to bring the foremost masters of modal music to New York City for an intensive week of music immersion. Ahmet Erdogdular performed in numerous concerts worldwide and festivals such as the Biennale di Venezia, and Fez Sacred Music Festival. He took part in The Sacred Encounter, a documentary presented to UNESCO for the declaration of Rumi an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Ahmet Erdogdular Ensemble performed the first ever Turkish classical music concert in the history of Carnegie Hall in 2017. In addition to a four-part Anthology of Ottoman Music, and a number of album collaborations, Erdogdular’s two latest albums Songs of the Sultans-Masterpieces of Turkish Classical Music and Niyaz-Sufi Songs of Love received significant critics’ attention. Ahmet Erdogdular also plays tanbur, oud, and percussion. www.makamnewyork.org