UW News

February 28, 2011

Turkish, African music coming soon to School of Music stage

Münir Beken

Münir Beken

Münir Beken, assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles and a virtuoso performer of the Turkish Ud, presents a lecture-rehearsal and seminar Friday, March 4 at the School of Music.

His appearance is part of the School’s Winter Quarter Performing Ethnomusicology Series, an array of lectures, seminars, concerts and workshops running through Winter Quarter and organized by the school’s Ethnomusicology Division. The series wraps up on March 11 with an appearance by Senegalese percussionist Thione Diop.

In the first half his appearance, Beken leads an open rehearsal of Memories of a Shoehorn, a 20-minute chamber work in two movements for flute, violin, viola, and cello, and discusses the background of the piece, his compositional process, and issues of cross-cultural composition and performance in the 21st Century. The event will be at 12:30 p.m. in Brechemin Auditorium.

“The ‘shoehorn’ refers to an item that my father always carried with him when he went to musical gatherings at other peoples’ homes in Istanbul, Turkey, in the 1940s and 1950s,” Beken explains. “Since polite guests always took their shoes off in the house, he carried his own shoehorn with him.

“The inspiration for this piece comes from my childhood imagination of what the shoehorn might have heard at these musical gatherings, rather than a duplication of the music that would actually have been played. I based the work on my memory of what my father, arriving home from a gathering, used to explain to me as an 8-year-old child. The composition incorporates some elements of Turkish classical music, such as melodic modes, rhythms, and ornamentation, to create an impression of traditional music heard in Turkey.”

The performers will be School of Music students Katherine Isbill (flute), Constance Shepherd (violin), Romaric Pokorny (viola), and Lauren Vander Lind (cello).

A former visiting artist in Ethnomusicology (2000-2002) at the UW, Beken will lead a seminar on world music theory in the second half of his appearance. The seminar, “Pitch-Form Continuum and Teaching World Music Theory,” will be * from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Fishbowl Conference Room.

On March 11, Senegalese percussionist Thione Diop will be on campus. He is a master of the djembe, sabar, tama (talking drum), and djun djun. Based in Seattle since 1999, he has toured internationally with musicians such as Poncho Sanchez, Alpha Blondy, Lucky Dube, and Max Romeo. He is the creator and producer of the annual Spirit of West Africa Festal at the Seattle Center, and Kasumai Africa at the Northshore Performing Arts Center in Bothell.

Diop will perform a concert of traditional West African music from 12:30-1:20 p.m. in Brechemin Auditorium. He will conduct a workshop from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in 313 Music.

All events are free and open to the public.