Musica Mundana Chamber Society
An interview with Aysegul DURAKOGLU
left to right: Sun Sun Kletzien, violin; Aysegul Durakoglu,
piano; Justin Kagan, Cello;
performed together Ilhan Baran's (1934) Transformations
for Violin, Cello and Piano (1975)
November 2, 2003 at the Merkin Music Hall in New York
of the Musica Mundana:
has been the concept of music throughout history
to be an embracing harmony of the world. Departing
from this conception Musica Mundana was founded
by Aysegul Durakoglu to embrace the audience through
the music of different cultures and backgrounds.
Where does Musica Mundana means?
Mundana derives from the ancient music theory founded
by the Greek philosopher and music theorist, Boethius.
It refers to the musical vibrations that surround the
Universe and create the harmony of the world. Departing
from this conception, I founded Musica Mundana in 1998
to embrace the audiences through the music of different
backgrounds and promise musical voyages into the music
of the past, present and future.
we are very open in the selection of compositions. Usually
we work within a conception and select works accordingly
from different backgrounds and times. For example, we
presented programs of Mediterranean, French, composers'
music in various combinations. Musica Mundana is consisting
of five permanent musicians and brings together the wide-ranging
talents of its members: Aysegul Durakoglu, piano; Justin
Kagan, cello; Patricia Kaczmarczyk, flute; San San Kletzien,
violin; Sebnem Mekinulov, soprano. We also invite guest
artists for our performances.
members of our Society have performed together in various
occasions in the past. Our first musical parthnership
occured at the New York University's Chamber Music Society.
then, we have premiered numerous works at the Merkin Concert
Hall, Aisan Music Festival at Lincoln Center, Harvard
Club, Hoboken Art and Music Festival, and Christ and St.
Stephen’s Church, and St. Peter’s Concert
What was the emerging force behind the Alla Turca concert?
composers have emerged since the birth of the Repuclic
of Turkey eighty years ago, in 1923. It was the idea of
the great leader of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, to
renew the Turkish culture, fine arts, and music and place
them in a universal context.
efforts of the first generation of composers were directed
to create a polyphonic character based on the monophonic
structures of Turkish folk songs. Later, their work evolved
into a more spontaneous style without the direct utilization
of the original melodies.
was my dream to organize a concert program that exhibits
the different aspects of Turkish compsers’ music.
Together with the members of Musica Mundana and the participant
artists, we aimed to take the audiences into this musical
journey to celebrate the eightieth year of the Republic
What was the challenge of the "Alla Turca" concert?
these years, we were able to learn and perform a wide
variety of compositions by Turkish composers. I have to
express my gratitude to the members of Musica Mundana
for being so dedicated and willing to overcome such repertoire.
Although they are very much experienced in new music,
the music of Turkish composers contains different challenges
such as the complexity of rhythmic structures.
of the time, it is my duty to bring insights and play
examples during rehearsals. What makes all these efforts
rewarding is the appraisal of the quality of these works
by musicians and audiences. They all agree that this music
is well worthy to be known around the world.
composers emerged since the birth of the Turkish Republic
and their music exhibits different aspects. Some works
are heavily based on the Turkish traditional and folk
music; some carry only certain elements of Turkish music;
and there are also compositions that do not employ them
longtime, I wanted to perform works presenting various
aspects of Turkish composers' music. The 80th Anniversary
of the Turkish Republic was the perfect occasion to perform
such program. With the generous support of the Ministry
of Culture and Tourism of Turkey and the Director of the
Turkish Culture and Tourism Office, Mr. Levent Demirel,
we were able to present a program of Turkish Composers'
Music at Merkin Concert Hall, on November 2, 2003.
What are the names of
the Contemporary Turkish Classical Music Composers
whose pieces you performed during the Alla Turca concert?
program started with compositions by the first generation
of composers. Among them were Necil Kazim Akses, Ilhan
Baran, Ulvi Cemal Erkin, Cemal Resid Rey, Adnan Saygun
and Ekrem Zeki Un. The reknown, Turkish-American soprano
Sebnem Mekinulov sang collection of songs by Turkish Five.
The second half consisted of abstract works that did not
exhibit the characteristics of Turkish music. Some of
them employed electronic music equipment like "Fantasy
and Dance" for tape and viols by Bulent Arel, "Closely
Farfetched Refrains" for solo piano and tape by Ilhan
Mimaroglu, and "Sabah" for solo flute and CD
by Ken Walicki. I performed Mimaroglu's piece for the
first time and flutist Patricia Kaczmarczyk gave the premier
of "Sabah." There were also many US and New
York premieres in the program.