Golden Horn presents Derya Türkan

Derya Türkan is a young master of classical Turkish kemençe (kemenche). He plays improvisational as well as the Ottoman classical music repertoire.

Türkan was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1973. He grew up in a musical family and his first music lessons were with the well known Turkish cellist Firat Kiziltug. Türkan attended and graduated from the Turkish Music Conservatory Instruments Education Department of the Istanbul Technical University, where he studied with Ihsan Özgen, an internationally recognized Turkish musician. In 1990, Türkan was invited to perform as a guest musician by the Turkish Cultural Ministry’s Istanbul National Turkish Music Ensemble, directed by Necdet Yasar.

In 1993 Türkan worked as a guest musician at Turkish Radio Television, Istanbul Radio division for one year, where he earned outstanding praise. He worked alongside such master musicians as Alâeddin Yavasça, Bekir Sidki Sezgin, Niyazi Sayin, and Erol Deran. During this time, he performed at many concerts both nationally and internationally with well known groups such as the Necdet Yasar Ensemble, and Ihsan Özgen`s Anatolia. Türkan has given many concerts in the United States, France, Germany, Finland, Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Israel and many other countries in addition to his native Turkey. In 1996, Türkan performed along with Turkish ney player Kudsi Ergüner at Yehudi Menuhin`s 80th birthday celebration concerts, organized by French President Jacques Chirac, as an invited musician.

Like his teacher Ihsan Özgen, Türkan aims to follow and develop the teachings of one of this century’s genius musicians, Tanburi Cemil Bey, and today continues to work on different projects in his music career with this goal in mind.

Classical Kemençe

The earliest Turkish bowed instrument was called ikl. The Turks brought this instrument to Anatolia and in time it came to be called a kemençe, which literally means little keman (violin).

In Turkey, there are different instruments called kemençe. From these varieties, the Karadeniz Kemençesi (Blacksea Kemençe) and the Türkmen Kemençesi (Southeastern Kemençe) are used in folk music. The Blacksea Kemençe has a narrower body and its shape is more rectangular. The instrument used in Turkish Classical Music is called Klasik Kemençe (Classical Kemençe) which has a wider and rounder body. All kemençes are played with a bow. Unlike a classical kemençe player, however, the Blacksea kemençe player plays while standing.

The classical kemençe has been used in Turkish Classical Music since the middle of the 19th century. Especially after Tanburi Cemil Bey, it has become an essential instrument of classical music ensembles. This kemençe has three strings; it is placed on the left knee with its top leaned against the player's chest. The strings are not plucked with the fingers; rather, they are pushed with the finger nails lightly from the sides.

April 24, 1999 University of California, Santa Cruz
April 25, 1999 San Francisco


Tonight’s solo performance features both composed and improvisational pieces on various makams.

Part I.Makam Acemasiran
Part II. Makam Rast
Part III.Makam Hicaz
Part IV.Makam Saba
Part V.Makam Hüseyni

Derya Türkan