Ulvi Cemal Erkin

Piyanist, Müzisyen

Paris Conservatory

Composer, pianist (B. 1906, Istanbul – D. 1973, Ankara). After graduating from Galatasaray High School he won the exam organized by the Ministry of National Education for education abroad and went to Paris (1925). In Paris Conservatory and in Ecole Normale de Musique he took lectures of composition from Gallon and Boulanger. Upon his return, he was assigned to Ankara Musical Teachers Training School as teacher of harmony and piano. This school was reorganized as State Conservatory in 1936 and he continued giving piano lectures. Between the years 1949–51 he served as a director in State Conservatory and later he worked as the head of piano department and piano teacher until his death.

Erkin received his first musical education from his mother at a young age. At the age of seven he started piano lessons with Adinolfi. He held his first concert, which consisted of his own compositions in 1946. After returning from his education abroad he made arrangements of polyphonic folk songs and used traditional sonata forms of the West in piano, chamber and orchestra music. In essential dressings of these forms outside of their main architecture the influence of “late romanticism and impressionism” streams gained depth. The artist who closely knew all details of homophonic Turkish music processed this source in his works. Besides, it is observed that he applied the methods of Turkish folk music in slow parts of the same works, and processes of rhythm belonging to Black Sea region in parts with a rapid tempo, especially which carried characteristics of scherzo. Erkin reflected in music the abstract understanding with limited attempts and did not use non-tonal technique in his method of composing. Nevertheless, he followed new streams with tolerance and supported his students inclining to them.

He joined the composition competition organized by Cumhuriyet Halk Party in 1943 with his Köçekçe and Piyano Konçertosu (Piano Concerto). His Piyano Konçertosu was deemed worthy of an award. This work was vocalized by the Presidential Symphony Orchestra with his wife Ferhunde Erkin as soloist. In 1943 it was again vocalized in Berlin by the Berlin City Orchestra with Ferhunde Erkin being its soloist. Erkin was awarded with French and Italian orders of merit thanks to his success in his artistic career. In 1971 he was entitled to “State Artist”. After his death, in the year 1985, stamps were printed in his memory. In 1991 he was granted honorary award, gold medal by Sevda-Cenap Ant Music Foundation.


İki Dans (1930), Beş Damla (1931), Bülbül ve Ayın On Dördü (1932), Bayram (1934), Yaylılar Dörtlüsü (1935-36), İki Sesli Halk Şarkıları (1936), Yedi Halk Türküsü (1939), Karagöz (1940), Sanat (1946).



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