MUSICA MUNDANA Chamber Music Society

A Musical Journey with the Orient Express (New York)

Date: June 2, 2012
Place: The Allen Room at Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City

Performance Musica Mundana presented a classical-world music program with narration, inspired by the journey of the famous Orient Express train that traveled between Paris and Istanbul at the end of the 19 century. The performance consisted of works from major capitals like Istanbul, Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, and Paris following the train’s route, such as the Czigane music from Monti, arias from Lehar’s operettas, folk and dance music from Rumania and Budapest, Hungarian Rhapsodies by Brahms and Liszt, tangos and waltzes from Parisian composers like Debussy, Stravinsky and Satie, as well as premieres from the Ottoman Court and Turkish composers such as Cemal R. Rey and E. Zeki Un.


Music from the Ottoman Court for String Quartet and Piano Gypsy-Czardas for Clarinet and Piano - Vittorio Monti
Roumanian Folk Dances for Violin and Piano - Bela Bartok
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11 for Piano - Franz Liszt
Gypsy Melodies, Op. 55 for Voice and Piano - Antonin Dvorak
Vilja-Lied and Lied and Czardas from Zigeunerliebe - Franz Lehar
Le Grand Tango for Cello and Piano - Astor Piazzolla
Turkish Tango “Mazi” (Past) for Voice and Piano - Necip Celal
Tenderement for Voice and Piano - Erik Satie
Valse Romantique for Piano - Claude Debussy
Tango for Solo Piano - Igor Stravinsky
Vocalize–Fantasy and Variations for Voice, Violin, Cello, and Piano - Cemal Resid Rey


Serap Ciftci, Mezzo Soprano
Adrian Daurov, Cello
Aysegul Durakoglu, Director and Piano
Laura Falzon, Flute
Ismail Lumanovski, Clarinet
Alexander Nazaryan, Viola
Machiko Ozawa, Violin
Anthony Pennino, Narrator

Musical Journey with the Orient Express in Istanbul-Pera Palas

Date: September 6, 2013
Place: Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah

Performance Musica Mundana presented their second performance of the Orient Express project at the Pera Pals Hotel-Jumeirah, that was built for the passengers of the Orient Express. This program aimed to celebrate the 121th anniversary of the Pera Palas Hotel-Jumeirah with music inspired by the journey of the famous Orient Express that traveled between Istanbul and Paris beginning in 1889. This journey begins with music from the Ottoman Court in Istanbul, continues with works that became popular throughout the major cities like Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, and Paris. Among these pieces are dances like waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, and tangos; Roma and Czardas music from the Balkans; songs and arias from Viennese operettas; tangos by Turkish composers; and works by composers like Debussy, Lehar, Joachim, Strauss who were among the passengers of the Orient Express.


Cihat Askin, Violin
Evrim Bastas, Viola
Mesut Caska, Violin
Serap Ciftci, Mezzo Soprano
Aysegul Durakoglu, Director and Piano
Ismail Lumanovski, Clarinet
Leo Grinhauz, Cello

Musical Pathways between Turkish and Sephardic Cultures

Date: March 21, 2013
Place: Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C.

Performance This program aims to demonstrate the closeness of the Turkish and Sephardic cultures reflected on their rich musical traditions. The history of the relation between the Turkish and Sephardic cultures dates back to the Spanish Inquisition in 1492. Since the settlement of the Sephardics in the Ottoman Empire, both cultures were influenced by each other and intertwined different genre of music that have lasted into the modern day. The program begins with a brief introduction of the Turkish and Sephardic musical traditions followed by music from the Ottoman Court. The music of Sephardic composers from Turkey will follow with an introduction and presentation of kemence music by Judith Davidoff. The program will also include works by contemporary Sephardic and Turkish composers who emerged after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.


19th Century Ottoman Court Music for Strings and Piano
“At Grandfather’s Knee” for Voice and Piano by Simon SARGON
Fantasia Sobre ‘Nani, Nani’ for Viola da Gamba by David LOEB
Traditional Sephardic Songs for Voice and Viola da Gamba
Traditional Turkish Piano Music:
Saudades do Brasil for Cello and Piano by Darius MILHAUD
Turkish Tango’s for Voice and Piano
Traditional Sephardic: La Rosa Enflorece for Voice and String


Judith Davidoff, Kemence and Viola di Gamba 
Aysegul Durakoglu, Pianist and Director
Leo Grinhauz, Cello 
Machiko Osawa, Violin
Serap Ciftci, Guest Soprano from Antalya Opera and Ballet in Turkey

THE MUSIC OF TURKEY: From Monophony to Polyphony

Date: November 8, 2008
Place: The Great Hall in S.C. Williams Library, Stevens Campus

Performance In this program, Musica Mundana offers a musical journey through Turkey’s culture and history. Turkey known as “the cradle of civilizations,” has a rich cultural heritage that is reflected on its music. The origin of Turkish music goes back to Central Asia, and includes both monophonic and pentatonic structures. The Seljuk and Ottoman Turks contributed to the development of Turkish musical traditions. With the development of western influences and establishment of the Turkish Republic, these traditions have been transformed into polyphony. This is how Turkey’s music became a mirror that reflects different aspects of its cultures throughout the history.

The program consists of compositions selected from different categories of Turkish music combining monophonic and polyphonic structures. It starts with a brief introduction of Turkish music in general followed by examples from early monophonic traditions in folk and art music. The second part is based on the polyphonic Turkish music developed by Turkish contemporary composers during the Turkish Republic. Among the composers are Ulvi Cemal Erkin, Cemal Resid Rey, Adnan Saygun, Munir Beken, Ekrem Zeki Un and Ilhan Mimaroglu.


Lecture and Demonstration on Turkish Music Instruments
Performance of Turkish Art Music Songs by Tulin Uyaniker
Five Piano Pieces from “Impressions” by Ulvi Cemal Erkin (1906-1972)
Three Azeri Songs by Kuliyev and Hajibeyov
Two Anatolian Folk Songs by Cemal Resid Rey (1904-1985)
Two Piano Pieces from Anatolian Songs by Cemal Resid Rey (1904-1985)
Vocalize- Fantasy on the theme of a song from Istanbul “Katibim” by Cemal R. Rey
Improvisation on the theme of “Katibim” by Carlos Alomar, Guitarist


Alexandria Sultan von Bruseldorff, soprano
Judith Davidoff, cellist and director of New York Consort of Viols
Aysegul Kus Durakoglu, pianist and lecturer on Turkish music
Tulin Uyaniker, Turkish traditional music singer
Carlos Alomar, guitarist