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Steve Layton

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Christian Carey

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Listening to Istanbul

Turkish pianist Seda Röder has been around these parts more than a few times; sometimes for her wonderful playing and sometimes for her wonderful podcasts. Now an Associate at Harvard, since coming over to the U.S. in 2007 (after graduating the Mozarteum in Salzburg) Seda has been a bit of a whirlwind when it comes to new music. Not content to take the standard performer’s trajectory, Seda gives almost equal measure to not onlyconcertizing, but also informing and promoting on behalf of the lesser-known — both newer and older — corners of modern classical music.  Of course, in one of the corners most dear to her lies the work of living Turkish composers, a corner most of us have never paid any attention to.

Now Seda has taken a pretty big step on the way to rectifying that gap in our awareness: first, with the release of her new CD Listening to Istanbul, a collection of six newly-commissioned piano works by Turkish composers both established and emerging; and second, through a marvellous accompanying website that amplifies the CD and the works on it with all kinds of extra information, background, notes and interviews with the composers themselves.

Here composer Tolga Tüzün talks about his work Permanence:


Comment from Susan Scheid
Time: April 4, 2011, 8:31 pm

Seda Röder deserves a public service award for her black box podcasts alone. I recently ordered the CD and am looking forward to its arrival.

Comment from Jeff Harington
Time: April 5, 2011, 3:26 am

This really is a wonderful CD… lots of variety and all the pieces are passionately realized. It was something of an eye-opener for me and I have a couple of friends who live in Turkey who are always telling me to check out the different new music groups.

Comment from Chris Becker
Time: April 5, 2011, 9:14 am

Great article, Steve. This is why I read Sequenza 21 :)

Comment from Austen
Time: April 15, 2011, 1:39 pm

Anyone know what software he’s using?

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: April 16, 2011, 10:47 am

I don’t, Austen, but there’s a pretty simple solution in our day: just send Tolga an email directly and ask! The contact is right on his site:

Composers by and large aren’t inaccessible, mythical creatures; most are regular folk who are happy to receive word that someone knows they exist, and is interested in what they’re doing.