Exploring the Treasures of Anatolia with Cem Duruöz

“Blogda Hayat” continues familiarizing its readers with the works of Turkish artists. In this article, we look at Cem Duruöz, internationally acclaimed Turkish guitarist, and his album “Treasures of Anatolia”.

Turkish guitar virtuoso Cem Duruöz was born in 1976 in Ankara, Turkey. He had his training with Safa Gürbüz and the Fulbright scholar Dr. Ahmet Kanneci. He was 17 years old when he won the First Prize in the Turkish National Guitar Composition and he soon moved abroad where he participated in the master classes of John Duarte, Oscar Ghiglia and Eliot Fisk in Europe, received his Master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory and completed his graduate guitar studies at The Juilliard School with Sharon Isbin. Cem Duruöz has been giving master classes throughout the world and is at present teaching guitar performance at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

“Treasures of Anatolia”, released in 2009, is Cem Duruöz’s fourth album and includes his guitar arrangements of traditional Turkish music. For anybody who would like to discover Turkish music performed by an acclaimed Turkish artist, “Treasures of Anatolia” is a must-buy; an album where you can find the diversity in traditional Turkish music – a real “treasure” indeed.

Some of the songs in the album such as “Haydar Haydar”, “Yüksek Yüksek Tepelere” and “Bozlak”, are masterpieces of Turkish folk music. (Folk songs are mostly anonymous songs of the rural areas.) In an interview for Classical Guitar Magazine, Duruöz is quoted as saying, “Turkish folk music varies according to regions – the black Sea, central Turkey, Western and Northern Turkey. Each region of Turkey has its own dynamic rhythmic structure and musical form.”

The album also offers examples of Turkish classical music such as “Sultaneyigah Sirto” which emerged in the Ottoman periods in the court. These songs in the classical style “have known composers and their style does not depend on the geographical region”, says Duruöz in his interview for Classical Guitar. He adds, “the works in the classical style usually reflect some Arabic influence.”

Finally the album also contains some music in the military style such as “Kolbaşı” and “Zeybek”, religious pieces such as “Bahir” and some dance pieces. The CD booklet includes both historical and stylistic information about each track.

“Treasures of Anatolia” is an album where you can explore the richness of traditional Turkish music arranged for the guitar. You can find more information about Cem Duruöz and this album by visiting the artist’s official website here.



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