MUSICA MUNDANA Chamber Music Society

Musica Mundana’s Musica Mundana’s name originates from an ancient conception of music that refers to the sound of universe. Founded by pianist Aysegul Durakoglu, it aims to embrace the audiences through the music of different backgrounds and promise musical voyages into the music of past, present, and future. The members of the society have come together in various events like the Niagara International Chamber Music Festival and Dominion Chalmers United Church in Canada, Asian Music Festival at Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Merkin Concert Hall, Dag Hamorksjold Hall in the United Nations, St. Peter’s Concert Series, Bodek Hall at the University of Pennsylvania, and many others. Musica Mundana has brought together distinguished performers like Cihat Askin, Atis Bankas and Machiko Ozawa, violin; Leo Grinhauz, Justin Kagan, Luke Pomorski and Roman Mekinulov, cello; Judith Davidoff, viola da gamba; Laura Falzon and Patricia Karczmanczyk, flute; Serap Ciftci, mezzo-soprano; Alexandria von Busseldorf and Sebnem Mekinulov, soprano; Ismail Lumanovski, clarinet; Jose Bevia, composer.

Aysegul Kus Durakoglu, Director and Pianist

Aysegul Durakoglu “She hears this music's shapes and points of emphasis and knows how to make them felt. There is nothing artificial or false in her conceptions. Her musicality is naturally come by.” — Bernard Holland, New York Times

Aysegul Durakoglu is a performer with versatile interest and repertoire that extends from earliest to latest styles in the classical and world music areas. She was featured as soloist in the International Istanbul Music Festival with James Galway; Musical Intersections and International Niagara Chamber Music Festival in Canada; and new music festivals in Russia and Europe. She has appeared with major orchestras in her Turkey and has been featured in various festivals, radio and television programs. Durakoglu began her musical life in Istanbul, and continued in the States. She received her Master’s from the Juilliard School and a Ph.D. degree with notable distinction at the New York University where she served on the piano faculty. As a member of the NYU Chamber Music Ensemble, she won the NYU’s Chamber Music Special Award for her leadership. She is currently serving on the full-time faculty of the Music and Technology Division of the College of Arts and Letters at the Stevens Institute of Technology. Most recently, she has released an album of Debussy’s Twelve Piano Etudes and a demo CD of the Orient Express Concert; and presented a lecture-recital on the history of Turkish Tango Music at the International College Music Society’s Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information, please visit

Cihat Aşkin, Violin

Cihat Aşkin Born in Istanbul, Cihat Aşkin graduated from Turkish Music State Conservatory, under the tutelage of Ayhan Turan. He was able to perform all of Paganini’s Caprices before he was fifteen. He completed his studies in London studying with Rodney Friend at the Royal College of Music and Yfrah Neaman at City University. He is currently the Director of the Turkish Music State Conservatory of ITU and the co-chair of MIAM (Advanced Music Research Center). Being a prominent musician in Turkey, he has performed in festivals and concerts across Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States. He has appeared with violinists Shlomo Mintz and Ida Haendel and conductors J.L. Cobos, Yoel Levi and Alexander Dimitriev. He serves on the juries of many international competitions. He teaches at Keshet Eilon Violin master-classes, and founded the Aşkin Ensemble, a chamber orchestra that performs a wide range of music from the classics to the modern. His educational project, CAKA, aims to develop violin education throughout Turkey. Aşkin performs on a violin by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume (1846). For more information, please visit:

Serap Ciftci, Mezzo Soprano

Serap Ciftci Born in Izmir, Mezzo Soprano Serap Ciftci started her professional music education at the Opera Department of Performing Arts and Music at Dokuz Eylul University State Conservatoire in Izmir, Turkey. She worked with Prof. Sevda Aydan, who is considered one of the most successful Turkish opera singers. Following her graduation, she won the audition at the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul and began her professional music career at Cemal Resit Rey Opera House in 1998. A year later, she joined Antalya State Opera and Ballet and participated in their opera productions. In 2002 and 2005, she went to Austria to attend master- classes in opera voice training in Summer Music Academia in Lilienfeld. In addition to her opera performances and concerts in Turkey, she has given numerous concerts and recitals in Europe, and participated in Musica Mundana’s performances in the United States.

Judith Davidoff, Viola Di Gamba

Judith Davidoff Judith Davidoff, cellist, is also known as a viola da gambist. A native of Boston, she was a founding member of the Helikon String Quartet and taught the cello at the New England Conservatory and Longy School of Music. Fluent on a number of string instruments, she has appeared several times with the New York Philarmonic under Zubin Mehta and Kurt Masur, and with the Boston Pops on several occasions. Dr. Davidoff is currently the artistic director of the New York Consort of Viols, and has been on the faculties of Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia Teachers College. Her recorded performances reflect her wide range of repertoire and styles. Her recent CD, "The Road from Valencia" features the New York Consort of Viols in the music of Sephardic musicians after the 1492 Inquisition.

Leo Grinhauz, Cello

Leo Grinhauz Leo Grinhauz, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina has performed throughout the Americas as a soloist, recitalist and ensemblist including the International Festivals at Marlboro, Ottawa, and Lanaudiere. Heard frequently over the airwaves of the CBC, Leo Grinhauz's discography includes several recorded for that company. Grinhauz's principal teachers have included Gary Hoffman, Janos Starker, and Bernard Greenhouse. Leo earned his Bachelor's degree and the prestigious Performer's Certificate from Indiana University, and received his Master's from Rutgers. After a brief stint in the New York Amati Trio, Leo has been cultivating a diverse career in the New York Metropolitan area. Since 2010, Leo Grinhauz has been principal cellist with The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. For more information, please visit:

Ismail Lumanowski, Clarinet

Ismail Lumanovski The gifted Macedonian/Turkish clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski is a musical force of passion and dynamic virtuosity. Already of international distinction, Lumanovki has launched a major career as a soloist, chamber musician in both classical and cross-over repertoire. Lumanovski’s performances throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and China have received critical acclaim and have been widely reviewed. The New York Times wrote of his work under Pierre Boulez, “the soloist — the brilliant, fearless young clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski — aligned himself with various instrumental contingents of the large ensemble”. Lumanovski is also a master improviser and performer of Macedonian, Turkish and Gypsy music and is presently touring with the New York Gypsy All-Stars, playing throughout the United States, Asia and Turkey. For more information, please visit:

Machiko Ozawa, Violin

Machiko Ozawa Violinist Machiko Ozawa, the former concertmaster of Orquetra Sinaloa de las Artes, gave her debut recital at the Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in 2002 as a winner of the Artists International Competition. As a soloist, she has performed with the C.W. Post Chamber Orchestra, Henry Mancini Festival Orchestra, North Shore Symphony Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes, among others. She received an artistic grant sponsored by the YAMAHA Foundation and released her first Album, Vertical Voyage in JP in 2009. As a performing artist, Ms. Ozawa has extended her musicianship to other styles of music, including jazz, Argentine tango, improvisation, and tap dance, among others. She created her own style of performance called tap-dance-violin, and performed at NYC's major venues such as Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Winter Garden at Financial Center, Joe's Pub as well as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Merkin Concert Hall. Ms. Ozawa received her formal training from The Juilliard School, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Tokyo National University of the Arts.