Ferhunde Erkin
Ferhunde Erkin / 1909-2007

Ferhunde Erkin öğrencileri Filiz Ali ve Alp Ulusoy ile Ankara Devlet Konservatuarı bahçesinde (1949)

Ferhunde Erkin ACG 28

Obituaries, Farewell to Ferhunde Erkin, ACG 28 – Turkey's First Female Concert Pianist

Robert College'ın İngilizce yayın organında Ferhunde Erkin'in ölümünden sonra yayınlanan yazı.

Turkey's first female concert pianist, a much-loved teacher to generations of Turkish musicians and an inspiration to us all, Ferhunde Erkin died on July 11, 2007 in İstanbul. She was 98 years old.

- Ferhunde's father was a well-educated military officer with a keen ear for music who early on recognized the latent in his two children, Ferhunde and Necdet. While based in Bandırma, he ensured that Ferhunde took piano lessons and her brother began learning the violin. The pair continued their education in İstanbul where they moved in 1918, mostly from Karl Berger. They gave their first recital in Galatasaray High School on March 20, 1920 when İstanbul was under occupation after the end of World War I.

Ferhunde later enrolled at ACG. It was while a student here, in January 1926, that she first met Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. "I was studying at ACG. We went to Ankara to give a concert in Ulus, at the Park Cinema. When we went backstage between acts my father said that Gazi (Atatürk) was here, sitting in his bow. I was very excited as you can imagine. After the concert we were brought a note inviting us to the köşk (presidential residence). Gazi told us that he was proud of us and said to the people surrounding him: "Any one of you can rise to any position, but you cannot become an artist". At that time I had a very fashionable fringe, inspired by the film star Louise Brooks. Gazi pushed my fringe aside and said "A Turkish girl needs to have an open forehead". I returned to the College. Everyone asked me what had happened to my hair, so I boasted to them 'That's how Gazi wants it, he pushed my fringe aside. That night at dinner all my friends came down with their foreheads free of fringes, so I was an example to them." (From Tuşlar Arasında, Erkin's biography by Filiz Ali)

In 1928, Erkin graduated from ACG manga cum laude. Her biographer Filiz Ali notes: "Neither her success at school nor at music ever turned her head, she always believed in being modest." Along with her brother Necdet she applied for and received the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarship and went to the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, Germany. They finished the three year school in two years and graduated in 1930.

Upon their return to Turkey, both started as teachers at Musiki Muallim Mektebi (Music Teachers School) in April, 1931. Ferhunde Remzi met the composer Ulvi Cemal Erkin on her first day and the couple got married in September 1932. They enjoyed a close relationship as collaborators as well as partners. Traditionally, Ferhunde always gave the first public performance of her husband's compositions. In 1943, she famously played his Piano Concerto in Berlin, as bombs rained down on the city.

"Ferhunde Hanım was a historical figure who represented so many of the new Republic's values," says music scholar Evin İlyasoğlu. ACG 66. "She was a symbol of the new freedom that Turkish women gained in the transition from the Ottomans to the Republic."

Filiz Ali sums up Erkin's successes:
- Turkey's first female concert pianist;

- A pianist who played 22 piano concertos for the first time ever in Turkey;

- A teacher to generations of pianists for 36 years at Ankara's State Conservatory and Gazi Education Institute, including Hüseyin Sermet, Nimet Karatekin, composer Nevit Kodallı, Bilge Aydın, Kamuran Gündemir, Filiz Ali, Madlen Saydam and Alp Ulusoy;

- A renowned accompanist for 50 years.

Between 1961 and 1967, Erkin played with the violinist Suna Kan and the pair toured the world in concert. At a talk in Erkin's honor in 1991, Kan said: "I don't know whether to refer to you as my mother or teacher during our seven years together. I still travel the world frequently but have never had as entertaining a companion as you. I have never had a partner who enjoyed every moment to the fullest, and whose sense of humor and company I enjoyed as much." Erkin retired in 1967.

Erkin is survived by two daughters, Sevin Erkin Akçer, ACG 57, and İçten Erkin Sar, ACG 60.

  Copyright © 2009 Ferhunde Erkin | Hakkında
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