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a musical love tale of

turkish classical music

Join Us for an Extraordinary Musical Journey Inside Out!

Get ready for a musical experience with Dr. Timucin Cevikoglu, a master musician and esteemed musical historian dedicated to preserving and promoting Turkish Classical Music. Explore the rich tradition of Turkish Classical Music, delve into the intricacies of Makam and Ussul, and be part of a transformative journey towards musical maturity.


Immerse yourself in the captivating melodies of Anatolia, Sufi Musical traditions, and embrace the intricate spiritual civilization that has thrived for over seven centuries. Don't miss the chance to be a part of this unique music lineage and experience the musical culture.

Join us for workshops, and perform what you have learned with a master on stage at ASHKENAZ, a World Music Hub at Berkeley, as a Final Performance!

Meet our Master Musician:



Dr. Timucin Cevikoglu is a master musician and esteemed musical historian, devoted to preserving and promoting Turkish Classical Music. With a Ph.D. in Music Education and Musical Sciences  his expertise extends to transcribing historical compositions from the Ottoman era, shedding light on earlier musical versions and enriching our understanding of historical practices.


He excels in playing the ney, kudum, bendir, and has a deep understanding of vocal traditions. Not only does he play these instruments, but he also guides others, including the tanbur and oud players, in the realm of Turkish Classical Music.


Dr. Cevikoglu is passionate about sharing this unique heritage worldwide through teaching and performances, passing on the legacy of this tradition as a mentor. Additionally, he holds a distinguished position within the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, serving as a cultural ambassador. In this role, he shares the treasures of Turkish music and culture with the world while nurturing emerging talents in the field. 

Workshop Classes

Join us for immersive workshops focused on the study of devotional songs (ilahis) and partial Mevlevi ayins, regarded as the pinnacle of musical artistry in this tradition. These compositions provide an exceptional platform for delving into the intricacies of Makam (the melodic system) and Ussul (the rhythmic system), both of which are highly refined.


These workshops are designed to accommodate vocalists, percussionists, and instrumentalists whose instruments allow for flexible pitch articulation. It's important to note that standard fretted or keyed instruments may not be suitable for these workshops, given the use of microtonal  Makam system. However, Timucin Cevikoglu is open to the inclusion of Western instruments for those who are enthusiastic and interested in participating.


Workshop 1 and Workshop 2 have distinct content, participants are highly encouraged to attend both workshops to fully immerse themselves and make the most progress.

WORKSHOP 1 - NOV 23-26

Nov 23rd, Thursday      5pm- 10pm

Nov 24th, Friday           5pm- 10pm

Nov 25th, Saturday      11am - 6pm

Nov 26th, Sunday        11am - 6pm

Note: Nov 23rd Meshkgiving ; includes potluck style Thanksgiving dinner.




Nov 29th, Wednesday  5pm- 10pm

Nov 30th, Thursday      5pm- 10pm

Dec 1, Friday               5pm- 10pm

Dec 2, Saturday          11am - 6pm












This workshop will lead to a final performance of participants with Timucin Cevikoglu at world music hub, Ashkenaz at Berkeley.

DECEMBER 3, 2023, Sunday  7-9.30 pm


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MORE INFO About the Musical Culture


Whereas the great traditions of Western classical music have developed harmony and counterpoint as foundational elements, the musical cultures of the East leaned in the direction of melodic development. As such, the palette of pitches that are drawn from in the music you will hear extends beyond the confines of the diatonic tempered scales characterizing most of the music we in the West are familiar with.  

Rather than scales, melodic modes known as Makams define the  musical architecture, and these are distinguished not only by the subtle microtonal intervals which can occur,  but also the behavior and shape of the melodic lines. While most Western music employs either of two important melodic devices, the major and minor scales, there are well over 600 Makams that were developed, of which about 40 are now in contemporary use.  


Like the two wings of a bird, melody can enable musical flight only with a precise rhythmic foundation, and the rhythms used in Ottoman music are typically more complex than those found in our Western compositions. These rhythms, known as Usul, are carefully selected in the pieces you will hear to support the meters of the poetry which have inspired these compositions. 


The full expression of this musical culture would be incomplete without yet a further element, which is improvisation. The extemporaneous establishing of the Makam  by a melodic instrument (or voice) prior to playing a composition, or within a suite of compositions is known as Taksim. The artist’s understanding of Makam is most fully conveyed though their improvisation, and a well-executed Taksim  can capture the imagination and impress the listener with the particular emotive quality embodied by that Makam.


Important Influences 


This music enjoyed the benefit of maturing over an extended period of time in the context of Ottoman culture. This provided the unusual possibility of continuity for over six centuries, and a proximity to many and diverse cultural influences. Importantly, the Ottoman Empire also became the seat of Islamic authority of its time, and ultimately provided patronage to artistic endeavors that developed with a distinctively Islamic identity. Literature and poetry, architecture and painting, and also music were cultivated with the support of the state. 


Perhaps the most important lines to this musical tradition can be traced through the mystical brotherhoods, largely at whose influence Islam had become established in the region. Although typically apolitical, the Sufi orders in Ottoman lands existed in a dynamic relationship with the state authorities, and arguably the most significant among them with respect to the transmission of artistic culture were the Mevlevis. This order was founded by the son of the renowned scholar and poet Mohammed Jelaluddin Rumi, whose poetic masterpieces continue to be treasured in large areas of the Islamic world and beyond. 


Ottoman state support enabled the establishing and maintenance of Mevlevi learning centers, known as tekkes, which fostered rigorous traditions of Islamic scholarship coupled with spiritual discipline aimed at cultivating the character and manner of the practitioners. Individualized instruction was given to residents under the direction of qualified mentors, and the education of the complete human being was understood to have integral to it the development of artistic expression. These lodges could be likened in important respects to university campuses, and at the height of the Empire over one hundred of these were established, distributed over much of the Ottoman lands. Among the most significant legacies of the Mevlevi tekke culture was the development of a classical music form that distinguished itself by degree of refinement over all other regional musical forms and has been preserved to the present time.


From Then to Now


As with many traditional forms of cultural expression, the music performed by Dr. Timuçin Çevikoğlu has been carried into the present though oral transmission and represents the continuity of an unbroken chain to the masters of the past. Although historically there have been systems developed to notate this music, any notation is at best an approximation that can convey basic melodic contours. The music it represents cannot be adequately interpreted without knowledge that has been acquired directly from a legitimate inheritor of the tradition. 


The process by which musicians receive training is known as meshk, which is a term comprehending more than simple musical instruction. This traditionally implied a context where students lived in close proximity to a master and understood the engagement together in basic daily activities to be part of the instructional process, whereby the manner of the teacher is conveyed to the student. In contemporary culture the opportunities to be immersed in such a context us uncommon, but meshk continues through master classes in which the essential musical understanding is shared in the same way as it has always been, directly from the teacher to the students in shared company.


Because of the increasing influence of a homogenized global culture, great pressures are faced by traditional cultures and the continuity of musical forms such as this is threatened. We appreciate all the more your being with us to share the experience of this music this afternoon, as the way to its preservation will certainly be through the growing of an audience that can appreciate and support it.

(excerpt from STCM Website)



Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, or just “Ashkenaz”, is a 50-year-old music venue and dance hall in the heart of West Berkeley. The venue holds decades of stories of community members — composed of dancers, musicians, audience members, volunteers, and staff, both past and present — who have found themselves drawn to this unique building and the music that lives within.

When you enter Ashkenaz, you will find yourself on 1500sq ft of wooden dance floor of the main hall, where we have hosted dances and performances from numerous cultures from across the globe. As you wait in line, you will notice our unusual Cafe, custom-built by the founder of Ashkenaz, David Nadel, and his friends. If you look up, you will also see custom-built stained glass throughout the main hall and through the rest of the building.

​ABOUT This event

Timucin Cevikoglu's US tour, in Seattle, Washington and Berkeley is sponsored and organized by STCM.

Society for Turkish Classical Music (STCM) is dedicated to supporting, promoting, and preserving the rich tradition of Turkish Classical Music. STCM pursues these goals through various avenues, including the organization of concerts, informative lectures, captivating demonstrations, and the publication of educational materials, all aimed at enhancing public awareness and appreciation of this unique musical and cultural form. Additionally, the society provides valuable learning opportunities by conducting workshops and master classes for musicians, collaborating with educational institutions to develop specialized curricula, and fostering community development by supporting individuals and organizations that share similar interests. Notably, STCM undertakes the task of transcribing and publishing contemporary notations of compositions dating back to pre-twentieth century forms, thereby ensuring their preservation and accessibility for generations to come.  


Link to STCM's website

With invaluable support from:

Mevlevi Order of America  (MOA) representing a spiritual civilization in the US, a tradition whose roots flourished in Anatolia over seven centuries, nurtures human sentiments and contributes to both the mystical appreciation of life and the joy of living. The path of Mevlevis is a journey toward maturity, with the study of sacred texts, Rumi's writings, and self-examination playing a vital role. Service is paramount, instilling freedom through humility and honoring the interconnectedness of all. The formal whirling ceremony, Sema, transmits blessings and links to the infinite, while Zikr fosters a deeper connection with our True Nature. Sohbet encourages heart-to-heart discussions and the sharing of oral traditions. Refinement is cultivated through various arts and civilized forms, and Adab emphasizes respect for all of creation and individuals. This path is guided by grace and consideration, allowing space for the extraordinary to enter the heart. Mevlevi Order of America (MOA) is honored to represent and preserve this transformative path, dedicated to nurturing the soul and fostering the richness of both the spiritual and the cultural in the journey towards maturity and self-discovery.

Link to MOA's website

The Berkeley portion of this event is organized by:


Anatolian Arts Institute (ANA+), as part of the ASHIK SERIES program. In 2023, UNESCO commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of the poet-musician-bard Ashik Veysel. Turkey has recognized this year as the Year of Ashik Veysel. ANA+ is committed to organizing concerts, research projects, lectures, film screenings, and workshops on Ashik Veysel and Ashik Culture. Recognizing the diversity of the ASHIK Tradition in Anatolia, ANA+ will also explore the lineage of Women Ashiks and Ashik cultures in Armenian, Greek, Kurdish, and other communities, past and present. 

The ASHIK SERIES program is partially funded by the California Arts Council and The Center for Cultural Power.


ANA+ serves as an interdisciplinary platform for events, research, and education, bringing the diverse arts and cultures of Anatolia to the Bay Area and beyond.

ANA+ Homepage


A heartfelt thank you to Erbil Karaman for his outstanding support in every aspect of this project, from translation and paperwork to seamless coordination between organizations, including his invaluable assistance in coordinating with Timucin Hoca. His unwavering dedication has played a pivotal role in the project's fruition.


This event's revenue is covering the expenses of Timucin Cevikoglu's US trip from Turkey. All the organization work by organizers is dedicated to promoting Turkish Classical Music in the US.

If you wish to become a patron of this program, please contact us so that we can offer more sponsorships to talented and low-income musicians and bring Hoca/Master more often to the US.

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