Ottoman Classical and Sufi Music: Lecture and Concert

Key information

6:00 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings
Kamran Djam Lecture Hall
Event type

About this event

This April, experience an authentic performance of a centuries-old ritual that unites the mind, the heart, and the body through the universal language of music and movement.

This unique lecture and concert event, organised by Yunus Emre Institute London in collaboration with SOAS University of London, will be delivered by Istanbul Sufi Ceremonies Ensemble and will feature two insightful talks.

The Head of the Dervishes, Mehmed Fatih Çıtlak, an accomplished Islamic scholar, Sufi shaykh, and author, will talk about the Ottoman Sufi culture and the rich symbolic meanings, rules, and characteristics attached to this centuries old tradition. He will talk about the universal validity (relevance) and unifying meanings of the Sufi tradition in the Ottoman & Turkish contexts. Further in his talk, Çıtlak will also elaborate on the meşk method, the musical education system that was developed by Ottoman / Turkish musicians and has been performed in palaces, magnificent mansions, mosques and lodges throughout history in Turkish music. 

Professor Owen Wright, SOAS Emeritus Professor of Musicology of the Middle East, will talk about the Musical Tradition of the Mevlevi Ayin, and historical aspects of Ottoman Classical Music.

The lectures will be joined by an ensemble of excellent musicians fusing the traditional ney (reed flute), Turkish tanbur, Turkish kanun, Turkish oud, classical kemençe and rhythm. The ensemble will perform traditional pieces from Ottoman Classical and Sufi music. The highest grades of traditional Turkish Sufi music will be played and sung during the concert. 

The concert will be performed by the spectacular İstanbul Tasavvuf İrfan ve Meydan Meşkleri Topluluğu (Istanbul Sufi Ceremonies Ensemble), a specialized ensemble officially established in 2018 under the Republic of Türkiye's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, representing master vocal and instrumental artists and an ensemble of senior Semazens (Whirling Dervishes). Bringing together two musical traditions, the spectacular ensemble will provide the audience with a unique experience of Ottoman & Turkish music throughout the concert. 

Since its establishment, Istanbul Sufi Ceremonies Ensemble has been organising concerts in restored historical buildings and concert halls across the world. During these events, ceremonies and rituals of Islamic tradition and Sufi culture, known to few people, are performed in their original authentic versions.


Registration is required for this event and tickets can be booked via Eventbrite.

The event is free for SOAS students.

All proceeds will go to the Turkiye Earthquake Relief Fund.