Liturgical Songs of Istanbul


21 Apr 2018, 8:00 PM - 9:15 PM


World Music


With a long history of invasions and conquests by Greek colonists, the crusaders and Osmanli conquerors, the city we now know as Istanbul has witnessed the rise and fall of many empires, all of which have added to the cultural diversity that it is known for today. Once the capital of the Byzantine Empire and the prime centre of Christianity alongside Rome, it was also the capital of the Ottoman Empire, during which the Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Armenians, Jews and Turks co-existed and contributed to the richness of the city. Consequently, the songs of the Hebrew maftirim (Jewish mystic music), Sufi ceremonial music and Eastern Orthodox hymns became part of the musical fabric of the people.

In tribute to the multi-faith history of Istanbul, the Kudsi Erguner Ensemble presents a repertoire of traditional sacred music from the various communities in the ancient city.

About Kudsi Erguner

Paris-based musician, composer, musicologist, teacher and author Kudsi Erguner is one of the foremost ney (Turkish reed flute) masters of our time and an authority of traditional Sufi music who has introduced Ottoman and Sufi music to the world.

Born in Diyarbakır, Turkey, into a musical family following the Sufi tradition, he is the only Turkish musician of his generation to learn the ney in the classic aural tradition.

Erguner began his musical career in 1969 as a member of the Istanbul Radio Orchestra. In 1975, he moved to Paris to study architecture and musicology. In his work as a musical anthropologist and historian, he has published many field recordings of traditional music, and made many studio recordings of music from the 16th century Ottoman repertoire.

Erguner has performed and collaborated with a wide range of internationally celebrated artists including Robert Wilson, Peter Brook, Alexandre Desplat, Nusret Fathi Ali Khan, and ensembles like the Hillard Ensemble and the New Ensemble.

He has also released more than a hundred CDs mostly dedicated to the different aspects of the Ottoman music, as well as published books in French.

In 1981, Erguner founded the RUMI association, an institute for the study of the classical music and teachings of the original traditions of Sufis. He gives conferences on Sufism and Sufi music all over the world and leads two small communities connected to the Mevlevi tradition; one in Paris and one in Istanbul. In 2014, Erguner was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Bulent Ecevit University in Turkey and was designated a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2016. He is a professor at the Rotterdam Conservatory (CODARTS), and conducts master classes (Birun) at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice.

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Esplanade Concert Hall
1 Esplanade Drive
Singapore 038981