Erkin Ulvi 1906 - 1972 (66)


Ulvi Cemal Erkin (1906 - 15 September 1972) was a Turkish composer, who distinguished himself for his use of Turkish folk music in a Western style.

Born on March 14, 1906 in Istanbul, his father was a senior civil servant who died when Ulvi was 7 years old. The widowed mother and her three sons took refuge in her father's mansion, also a high-ranking official of the declining Ottoman Empire. His mother was a pianist who recognized her son's talent and encouraged him as much as she could. She gave Ulvi his first piano lessons. He graduated from Galatasaray High School and at the same time he pursued every opportunity to become a musician.

The newly established Turkish Republic by Ataturk aimed to extend modernization and Westernization to all aspects of life, including music, and to this end, scholarships were awarded to gifted young students in European academic institutions. Ulvi was awarded a scholarship to study music at the Paris Conservatory and the Ecole Normale de Musique. Upon his return to Turkey in 1930, he began teaching at the School of Music Education, where he met his pianist wife who became his muse; together they shared a lifetime of efforts to train young musicians and create a polyphonic music audience throughout Anatolia.

Erkin composed his first works while a student in Paris and was a productive composer throughout his life. He appeared as a pianist or orchestra conductor to perform his own works or operas. He also conducted the Conservatoire Student Orchestra in its periodic concerts and composed "Sinfonietta", a work to help organ players overcome some rhythmic and tropical difficulties, especially in Turkish music. With its authentic quality, warmth and apparent simplicity, Erkin's music has had a great influence on stimulating the Turkish public's enthusiasm for polyphonic music.

Erkin had heart problems since he was 40, eventually having a stroke and dying at the age of 65 on September 15, 1972.