“(on Kurşundan / of lead ) a moving lament for the past times” (BBC New Music Show)

“Onur Türkmen is one of the few composers who has been deeply, conscientiously, and, I think, pioneering transcultural music (…) Onur is for me the perfect cultural and aesthetic “ambassador” for an artistically and musically convincing treatment of Turkish Makams in a contemporary context” (Ulrich Mertin, violist, Hezarfen Ensemble’s co-director, podcast at Van Outernational)

“(…) (on “Beautiful and Unowned” for solo violin) this composition is full of mystery and magic” (Glyn Pursglove, Music Web International)

In a real sense Türkmen has expanded the vocabulary of international Postmodernism, because as he explains it, his compositional technique refers to a traditional Turkish calligraphic term, hat, or line, which leads to many cultural ramifications” (Huntley Dent, Fanfare Magazine)

“(…) (on “but you alone” for choir and string quartet) if Volti had sung nothing but vowels, this piece still would have made its mark” ( Rebecca Wishnia, music critic, San Francisco Classical Voice)

“(…) I perceive in his works an imposing intellectual edifice, and they typically provoke in me a flood of meanings and interpretations. From listening to Sailing to Byzantium only one time, I already glimpsed the possibility of a great number of webs of connections that the verbal and musical components can form” (Jane Harrison, professor of musicology, personal blog)

For me Onur Türkmen is one of the most important living composers. The use of singular musical lines driven from classical Turkish Art to create a world of images in order to reflect the spirit of our times and also sending shocking messages to our consciousness decayed by virtual realities renders him unique” (Orhun Orhon, conductor, CD liner notes, “Mozart, Beethoven, Türkmen, Ankara Youth Symphony Orchestra”, Çağsav Müzik)

Onur Türkmen (1972 Eskisehir, Turkey) is a Turkish composer whose work mainly centers upon two concepts: Hat”, contemplations on Turkish music makams and instruments; “Ritualistic Drama” that focuses on interconnections between poetry, drama and ritual.

Türkmen has won the 8. Donizetti Classical Music, Composer of the Year Award in Turkey in 2018.

His pieces have been performed by many different ensembles at Schleswig Holstein Festival (2011), Maerz Musik Festival (2013), ISCM (2012, Belgium), November Music Festival (2018), Schiermonnikoog Festival (2018), Bristol New Music (2022), German Historical Institute International Musicology Congress (2016), Left Coast Chamber Ensemble/ Volti Chorus Season Opening Concert (2016), MUSMA (2012), Kreuztanbul (2009), Istanbul Music Festival (2008), Mediterraneus Project (2010), China-Turkey Communication Concerts (2013) among others. He gave masterclasses and lectures on his music at University of California Davis (2016), Würzburg Hochschule für Musik (2017), University of Memphis (2020), University of Bristol (2021).

His two Ritualistic Dramas so far, have been performed by Yurodny Ensemble (Dublin) (Sailing to Byzantium recipient of Ireland Outcome Grant Summer 2015 and new work award from the Arts Council of Ireland 2019) and by Diamanda La Berge Dramm (Amsterdam) (Songs from a Circle, recipient of Eduart van Benium Stichting grant, 2018).

He is the colloborator of European Research Center Project Beyond East and West: Developing and Documenting and Evolving Transcultural Practice” and Ellen Jewett’s Klasik Keyifler. His solo violin piece is featured in Ellen Jewett’s CD “Beautiful and Unowned” published by Naxos Records (2019).

He is the artistic director of NK Ensemble which aims to form a research platform for composers on the usage of Traditional Turkish Music elements in New Music.

In 2022, his recent emsemble piece Hal is commissioned by exxı jahrhundert, besides he is composing a parlando opera in collaboration with novelist Şebnem İşigüzel.

He studied composition at Berklee College of Music (undergraduate) and İstanbul Technical University’s MIAM (masters and phD.) with Pieter Snapper and İlhan Usmanbaş.

He is an associate professor, assistant dean at Bilkent University’s Faculty of Music and Performing Arts in Ankara (

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