Muhittin Kemal




, Ottoman & Turkish

Muhittin Kemal was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, and at age five, began studying classical Turkish music with composer and lutenist Ismet Alpaslan. He soon took up violin and participated in Alpaslan’s chorus. In 1992, he began to study kanun (Turkish zither) first with Eyüp Firat, then diving into deeper subtlety under Göksel Baktagir.

In 2007, he first came to Crete as Baktagir’s student, later joining the teaching staff himself. There, Muhittin began to work with world music luminaries such as Ross Daly, Kelly Thoma, Sokratis Sinopolous, Efren Lopez, and Zohar Fresco, and continued to deepen his technique and musicality.

In 2008, he helped found the Oriental Music Academy in Mannheim, Germany, participating as a lecturer on the educational foundations of kanun playing, makam theory of Turkish music and vocals. This led to collaborations with masters Derya Türkan, Murat Aydemir, and Yurdal Tokcan and conducting the concert series, 'Melodies of old Istanbul'.

His projects include (among others):

* The award-winning LebiDerya Oriental jazz ensemble, bridging traditional Turkish music and jazz. They released their album Orientation in 2011.

* Performing on kanun in the opera, Head-On, based on Fatih Akin’s film with the same name, under the direction of Bernhardt Epstein. This is the first German-Turkish opera to be performed at the State Opera Stuttgart.

* Tango Ala Turka melds Latin American rhythms with Turkish lyrics and music, working with such famous composers, such as Cengiz Onural.

* In 2012, he released his debut album, Emotions, recorded in Crete with Kelly Thoma and Ross Daly, then in Istanbul with Murat Aydemir and Cengiz Onural, and in Mannheim with Serap Giritli, Yurdal Tokcan and Mehmet Yalgin.

In 2012, Muhittin began studying Musicology at the Goethe University Frankfurt in order to deepen his understanding of Western harmony. Since 2015, he has taught at the World Music Institute of the Pop Academy Mannheim and is working on his book 'Introduction to Turkish Makam Theory'.