Tanburî Cemil Bey

Tambur Sanatçısı, Müzikolog

29 Temmuz, 1916

Tanbur virtuoso, musicologist (B. 1873, Molla Güranî district, Istanbul – D. 29th July 1916, Istanbul). He was the father of Mesut Cemil, a famous composer and tambour virtuoso. He lost his father in his early ages and his uncle took him under his protection. While he was attending Rüştiye (secondary school), together with his cousins he took French lessons from a tutor. Upon Refik Bey’s death, he moved to Mahmud Bey’s house, his uncle’s son and district governor of Bakırköy. His fame began to increase in his young ages. He was invited to many musical meetings by prestigious people, however Mahmud Bey who was a disciplined, traditional man and who would like to live an orderly life didn’t let him go to those meetings. Mahmud Bey placed emphasis on his education, though.

When Mahmud Bey was appointed district governor of Kartal, Cemil Bey went with him and had lived in Kartal for 2 years until he was seventeen years old. Upon Mahmud Bey’s appointment to Humus, Cemil Bey returned to Taşkasap, his mother’s house. After having completed his secondary education, he continued in a Faculty of Political Sciences (Mülkiye). He was the class mate of Mustafa Nezih Albayrak and Aziz Mahmud Bey, the son of Tanburî Ali Efendi in Mülkiye. He began to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He worked there for a long time but he didn’t want to continue his career in civil service. He resigned from his duty, because of the reduction in stuff after the constitutional monarchy (1908).

He married Şerife Saide Hanım upon the request of his mother and other relatives in 1909. Şerife Hanım’s mother, Eflaknur Hanım was from Adile Sultan Palace just like as Cemil Bey’s mother, Şehniyar Hanım. According to Mesut Cemil, they were worlds apart and it was not possible to build a healthy marriage for them. He was a man who devoted himself to art, on the other hand, Şerife Hanım was a woman who couldn’t approve it and who did not understand her husband but love him as well. In 1902 his son, Mesut Cemil, was born. After he retired from civil service, he made a life himself with his friends helps, incomes from albums and private lessons. Late in his life, he stayed away from his friends and began to live in a house which he called “Uzletgâh” in his yard.

He was summoned into army when World War I erupted in 1914. During his physical examination in the army, it was understood that he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. He was asked to stay in a sanatorium or to go to Switzerland, but he didn’t accept any of them. His illness got worse in a very short time. He woke his wife up at midnight saying: “The time has come, I had live a happily life for twenty-five years. I do not regret my death, but I have discomforted you. Forgive me, take care of yourself and Mesut.” and passed away. He was buried in Merkezefendi Cemetery. His grave’s location is unknown today. He had a book called Rehber-i Musiki (1998).



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