Every concert by Hezarfen Ensemble is an adventure. Co-founded and directed by Ulrich Mertin and Michael Ellison, the ensemble is internationally recognized for its performances of contemporary music, it is above all the energy and vitality of this Istanbul-based group which has brought Hezarfen increasingly widespread recognition as the ensemble enters its sixth season.    With signature projects ranging from trio (Turkish Trios in Trieste and Word and Sound) to interdisciplinary chamber opera (Deniz Küstü and Say I am You) and Music of Displacement, the impact of Hezarfen on music in Turkey has been profound, changing the face of contemporary music in its home country, while the infectious energy of its performances has brought acclaim for the ensemble in its appearances at festivals across Europe.   Key performances abroad have included MärzMusik (Berlin, 2013), Rotterdam Operadagen (2012), Klangzeit Festival Münster (2013), Essen Cultural Capital (2010), GHI, Rome (2016) and at the Trieste Prima festival (2015).  At home, Hezarfen regularly appears at Istanbul Music Festival (2011, 2012, 2016), Borusan Music House (2010-2016), Akbank Sanat (2011), Boğaziçi University (2013),  Bilkent New Music Days (2011/15) Institut Francais (2011), Saygun Centre Izmir (2012), Koç University (2015) and in collaborations with Goethe Institute (2011-16), Italian, Netherlands and Austrian Cultural Centres (2017, 2012 and 2016-17).  


Hezarfen has given countless Turkish premieres of works by composers from around the world in innovative formats, while presenting Turkish works to European audiences for the first time. Hezarfen’s interdisciplinary work ranges from modest integration of electronics, poetry and video (Music of Displacement) to major collaborations with dance, Music Theatre, live video art, and chamber opera. From 2015-2020, Hezarfen Ensemble forms the nexus of its ongoing transcultural initiative Beyond East and West, a groundbreaking European Research Council (ERC)-supported project that will facilitate Hezarfen’s long term goal of integrating Turkish traditional instruments and voices into contemporary music, while researching processes of combining of oral and written transmissions into evolving traditions.


In 2016-2017 Hezarfen will perform for the first time in Malta, begin collaborations with Klangforum Wien and Icarus Ensemble, and continue its transcultural project Beyond East and West, with recordings of Turkish instruments and voices in Istanbul. Also this season, it will collaborate with world-class percussionists and musicians including vocalist Mariana Sodovska for the premiere of Trommelsprachen on the Acht Brücken (Eight Bridges) Festival in Köln (May 2017), while contributing to a NRW transcultural initiative led by Matthias Mainz in nearby Bochum. A tour of Hezarfen’s acclaimed Total Music Theatre production, of Deniz Küstü (The Sea-Crossed Fisherman), is planned for 2017-18.