Ulvi Cemal Erkin was a Turkish composer and member of the pioneering group the Turkish Five who set out the new direction for music in the newly-established Turkish Republic. As part of the regime’s desire to modernise and westernise Turkish culture, as a young man Erkin was awarded a government scholarship to study piano and composition in Paris, first at the Paris Conservatoire and then at the École Normale de Musique.
When he returned to Turkey in 1930, he began to teach music and married Ferhunde Erkin, who was also a distinguished pianist and with whom he set up many outreach initiatives to provide musical education in the region of Anatolia. Erkin’s own compositions, primarily symphonic works but also including concertos, ballets and song cycles, were performed around Europe and always well-received. He also often played or conducted his own works. During his lifetime, Erkin was the recipient of prestigious awards from France, Turkey and Italy, and in 1971 was conferred the title State Artist by the Turkish government. Since his death, he has been commemorated on a Turkish postage stamp, and there is a concert hall bearing his name in the municipality of Ankara.
About this Contributor
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- Ulvi Cemal Erkin
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- GRC4 #20
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