Necil Kâzım Akses


06 Mayıs, 1908
16 Şubat, 1999
Istanbul Boys’ High School

Composer (B. 6 May 1908, Istanbul – d. 16 February 1999, Ankara). He learnt violin at primary school and cello at secondary school. During high school years he continued Darülelhan and took lectures of harmony from Cemal Reşit Rey. He produced his first attempts of compositions at the age of fourteen monotonic with cello. After graduating from Istanbul Boys’ High School (1926) he went to Vienna to develop his musical works. In Vienna State Music and Performing Academy he took lectures of harmony, counterpoint, fugue and composition from Joseph Marx and cello from Kleinecke. While continuing master studies at Vienna Academy he also enrolled to Prague State Conservatory. He studied high composition with Josef Suk and microtonal music with Alois Hába.

When he returned to Turkey in 1934 he became part of the “Turkish Fives” together with Cemal Reşit Rey, Hasan Ferit Alnar, Ulvi Cemal Erkin and Adnan Saygun. He started to develop and institutionalize polyphonic Turkish music. In 1935 together with the German composer Paul Hindemith he participated to the foundation works of Ankara State Conservatory and became a teacher of composition in this school. In a concert in 1939 which was held within a music festival during the 7th foundation anniversary of community centers Akses’ work Çiftetelli was performed. He wrote first sketches of Ankara Kalesi, Senfonik Tarih (1942) during his military service in 1938-39, which was performed by Symphonic Orchestra of Presidency at Ankara and City Orchestra of Berlin at Berlin. It was also released as a record in Europe. This work was the first Turkish work recorded abroad.

Akses served as Conservatory Director in 1948 and as Fine Arts General Director in 1949 . He was in Bern (1954) and Bonn (1955-57) as a Cultural Attaché. During the years 1958-60 he became General Director of State Opera and Ballet. In 1971 he undertook the same duty. Upon the change of the government, since he could not get well with the new cultural undersecretary he retired by his own will in 1972. The composer who became a professor in 1985 gave lectures of composition at Ankara State Conservatory until the last periods of his life.

Necil Kâzım Akses, who is rather known as master of large symphonic forms, used essential rhythms and melodies in his compositions, as well as applying occasional music technique in which different instrument groups participated to the music with different tempos. He used maqams of classical Turkish music, rhythmic and melodic elements of folk music in an intensive orchestration and a stable sentiment of form. He presented his great symphonies, his lieds he composed upon the works of Turkish poets such as Melih Cevdet Anday, Orhan Veli and Cahit Külebi and his works of large choirs after the 1960s.

Akses became one of the eleven people who received the title of State Artist when this title was granted for the first time in 1972. The symphonic poem titled Barış için Savaş he wrote in 1981 for the 100th anniversary of Atatürk’s birth received Atatürk Arts Award. 


Preludes and fugues  (1929), Five piano pieces (1930), Allegro Feroce (1930), Poem (1930), Piano Sonata (1930), Flute-Piano Sonata (1933), Three Poems (1933), Mete (one-act opera, 1934), Çiftetelli (symphonic dance for orchestra, 1934), Şiir ve Müzik (1935), Minya­türler (1936), music for Sophokles' play Antigone (1936), music for Sophokles' play Kral Oidipus (1936), music for Julius Caesar (1936), Conservatory March (for choir and orchestra, together with U. Cemal Erkin, 1940), Ankara Kalesi (symphonic poem, 1942), Trio for strings (1945), Poem (for cello and orchestra, 1946), Quartet for strings (1946),  Unaccompanied polyphonic chorus compositions (1947), Timur (ope­ra, incomplete, 1956), Eskilerden İki Dans (1960), Ten piano pieces (1946), On türkü (for full chorus unaccompanied, 1964), Portreler (1965), Symphony (No. I, 1966), Concerto (1969), Scherzo on Itri’s Nevâ-Kâr'ı  (for large orchestra, 1970),  Quartet for strings "Ağıt Kuartet" (1971). Cumhuriyet'in 50. yıl marşı (1973), Sesleniş (1973), Senfonik destan (1973), Sololar geçidi (From the opera Timur, 1974), Şiirlere müzik (1975), Bir divandan gazel (1976), Viola concerto (1977), Capriccio (1977), Symphony for string orchestra (1978), Quartet for strings (1979), 3rd Symphony (1979-80), İdil (for solo cello and orchestra, 1980), Barış için savaş (symphonic poem, 1981), İstanbul'a gönül veren ozanlar (for polyphonic choir, 1983), 4th Symphony  (1983).




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