The Nevzat Akpinar Ensemble

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Nevzat Akpinar Ensemble

The Nevzat Akpinar Ensemble makes its US debut, performing the folk and ritual music of the Alevi, a mystical Sufi order; intricate baglama (lute) and vocal music from various regions of Turkey; dance music of central Anatolia; and original compositions. The ensemble is composed of members of Berlin’s large Turkish and Kurdish communities who are all of Alevi background.

The group features seven of Berlin’s finest performers on baglama, the predominant stringed instrument of Turkey. Considered a sacred instrument, the baglama is used in religious ceremonies of the Alevi, a Sufi order that boasts 20 million followers in Turkey. It is particularly associated with itinerant poets or troubadours known as asik, whose unorthodox beliefs have often landed them in trouble with the religious and political mainstream.

The members of the ensemble are baglama players/vocalists Nevzat Akpinar, Haydar Kutluer, Kemal Hür, Hasan Kuzu, Erdal Güncü, Gökhan Sarpkaya, and Veli Sahin, and vocalist Imam Cetin.

The group is under the direction of composer-musician-teacher Nevzat Akpinar, who was born in 1968 in Sivas, Central Anatolia, and moved to Berlin, Germany in 1980. He studied with the baglama virtuoso Talip Oezkan, Turkish composer Tayfun Erdem, and Henning Schmidt. In 2002, he completed his studies in Comparative Music Science, Turkologie and Music Science at the University of Berlin. His compositions were performed in the nineties by the Mosaic ensemble, with which he performed baglama duets with Kemal Hür. As a baglama player, he toured Europe with Mikas Theodorakis and Zuelfue Livaneli and participated in the Abduction from the Seraglio under the direction of George Tabori. He made two recordings with Zotos Compania, a Greek-German-Turkish band. As a composer, he has written solo pieces for baglama, works set to Turkish poetry, and chamber music. He composed Johann Dede, a work for string orchestra, oboe, baglama and choir, which was performed by the Berlin Symphonic Orchestra at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. Together with Haydar Kutluer he directs Baglama Muezik, a baglama school in Berlin.

scheduled events

Nevzat Akpinar Ensemble

Friday, Nov 9 at 8:30 PM

Zankel Hall

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Member Kemal Hür on the ensemble’s music

Interview by Tamara Tischendorf

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