Biography

Ahmet Erdogdular

Ahmet Erdoğdular is Turkey’s foremost vocalist noted for his role in preserving the classical singing style of the Ottoman Turkish musical tradition. He started studying music at an early age with his father, neyzen Ömer Erdoğdular, and continued his musical development with the guidance of the renowned musician Niyazi Sayın. He participated in various concerts as a lead singer while still a teenager. Ahmet holds a BA degree from the Istanbul Technical University State Conservatory where he also completed his Masters degree in Turkish Classical Music under the guidance of Professor Alaeddin Yavaşça. He specialized in Turkish gazel (improvisation) technique, while his academic research is on the use of music and poetry in gazel forms of the late Ottoman period. Ahmet studied makam and improvisation techniques with Niyazi Sayın, Necdet Yaşar and Kani Karaca, and performed with them in Turkey and around the world.

Studying the techniques of masters of Ottoman music like Munir Nurettin Selçuk, Bekir Sıtkı Sezgin, Ahmet learned the classical singing style. With his father, he also analyzed the old LP recordings of Hafiz Sami, Hafiz Kemal, Hafiz Osman, Izak Al Gazi, Munir Nurettin Selçuk, Sadettin Kaynak, Üsküdarli Ali Efendi, Hafiz Mecid and others, learning their voice and singing techniques in forms such as classical songs, gazel, kaside, and mevlid. From these great masters Ahmet learned the ways in which poetry is matched to the music so that the literary substance and the musical composition are equally represented when performing vocal improvisation. Ahmet also studied and performs Sufi musical repertoire that over centuries integrated spiritual practice and artistic expression. Those include the naat in Mevlevi ayins, as well as ilahi (hymns) and kaside (improvisation on religious poetry), as essential components of the Sufi zikir (remembrance ceremony).

Ahmet Erdoğdular participated in various festivals in Europe, Asia and the United States performing both Ottoman classical and Sufi music. Ahmet participated in festivals such as the Biennale di Venezia, International Gazel Festival, the International Mystic Sufi Music Festival, Fez Sacred Music Festival, and a number of music festivals in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain. He performed as naathan and ayinhan in The Sacred Encounter, a documentary presented by the Turkish Ministry of Culture to UNESCO for the proclamation of 2007 as The Year of Rumi.

Ahmet worked at the Turkish Radio as soloist, recorded a number of music program series for different television companies, was a guest soloist for two years at the State Turkish Classical Music Ensemble, and is frequently featured in the Turkish Radio Television TV music programs. He was a visiting scholar at Columbia University and City University of New York, Graduate Center Ethnomusicology department. He is president and artistic director of Makam New York, Inc., a non-profit organization for Turkish classical music and arts. Ahmet’s two latest albums Songs of the Sultans-Masterpieces of Turkish Classical Music and Niyaz-Sufi Songs of Love were released in New York and received worldwide attention. Ahmet Erdoğdular plays tambur, oud and percussion and devotes his time to performing and teaching Turkish classical music. He is based in New York and Istanbul.

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