Ahmed Adnan Saygun

Ahmed Adnan Saygun

Ahmed Adnan Saygun

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Ahmed Adnan Saygun (7 September 1907 - 6 January 1991) was a Turkish composer, musicologist and writer on music. Ahmed Adnan Saygun is acknowledged as one of the most important 20th century composers in Turkish music history.

He was a master of the neoclassical form, and his works are rooted in Western musical practice; yet they incorporate traditional Turkish folk songs and culture. He usually adds this folk element by picking one note out of the scale and weaves a melody around it using a Turkish mode. His extensive output includes five symphonies, five operas, two piano concertos, concertos for violin, viola and cello, and a wide range of chamber and choral works. The London Times called him "the grand old man of Turkish music, who was to his country what Jean Sibelius is to Finland, what Manuel de Falla is to Spain, and what Béla Bartók is to Hungary."<!--The Times has been published since 1788; presumably, this statement was made after Saygun's birth, but that is still a century's worth of daily and Sunday issues to sift through in order to find this quotation.--> As Saygun was growing up in Turkey he witnessed radical changes in his country’s politics and culture as the reforms of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had replaced the Ottoman Empire—which had ruled for nearly 600 years—with a new secular republic based on Western models and traditions. As Atatürk had created a new cultural identity for his people and newly founded nation, Saygun found his role...
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