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Emre Aracı


A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, composer, conductor and music historian Dr Emre Aracı has made original contributions to the scholarship of Turkish music through his pioneering research focusing on the European musical practice in the Ottoman court. For some time Research Associate at the Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies, University of Cambridge, Aracı recorded four CDs in London and Prague which are released in Turkey by Kalan Music. These include European Music at the Ottoman Court, War and Peace: Crimea 1853-56, Bosphorus by Moonlight and Istanbul to London, the first two of which were later released internationally as compilations by Warner Classics under the title of Invitation to the Seraglio and the last two subsequently by Brilliant Classics entitled Euro-Ottomania which The Gramophone described as “an unexpectedly attractive collection, and the musical presentation is expert idiomatic and alive”.

He is also the author of four books; all published by Yapı Kredi Yayınları in Turkey, these include the biographies of the eminent 20th-century Turkish composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun (1999) and Donizetti Pasha (2006) - view book cover - , Master of Music to the Ottoman sultans, Naum Theatre (2010), Istanbul’s 19th-century Italian opera house and Kayıp Seslerin İzinde (2011) [In search of Lost Sounds], a collection of his selected articles - view book cover - pdf info in English / Turkish. An active public speaker in his field, to this day Aracı lectured at venues ranging from New York University and the British Museum to the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, London, Edinburgh, Sarajevo and Vienna. As cultural ambassador, his lecture and concert tours organised by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and hosted by various Turkish Embassies, have taken him to many parts of the world, from North America to Asia. Last year (May 2012) Ankara State Ballet produced Murad V, a ballet in two acts, based on Aracı’s libretto on the life and original compositions of one of the most productive composer sultans of the Ottoman Empire - photos: - interview connected with this production: Based in the United Kingdom, he continues his Turco-European historical music research under the patronage of the Çarmıklı family / Nurol Holding Inc.

As well as taking part in the Izmir and Istanbul International Festivals, Dr Aracı has also worked with various Turkish orchestras including the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra and the Borusan and Istanbul Chamber Orchestras. He also performed with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta in Holland in the presence of HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, at the Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo, in Moscow with Musica Viva; followed by concerts in Lithuania, Estonia, Cyprus and in St Petersburg with the Orchestra of the State Hermitage Museum, as well as in Kansas with the Pittsburg State University Orchestra and Kazan with the National Tatarstan Orchestra.

Dr Aracı gave a lecture with the title “The Ottoman Waltz: Tracing the history of the Turkish court’s passion for the music of Europe”, on 22 March 2011 - details: - photos: hosted by the Anglo-Turkish Society and in June 21, 2012 gave a lecture on ‘Elgar in Turkey’ at the Turkish Ambassador’s residency, London. In addition on 5th June 2014 Emre Aracı gave a similar talk in the Conference named ‘Elgar in Turkey’ at the Pera Musuem, Istanbul - video in Turkish: and has published a book in 2014 ‘Elgar in Turkey: The English Composer’s Visit to Istanbul and Izmir’.