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Turkish Choir Ensemble Vancouver will perform at earthquake relief concert celebrating centenary of the republic

Turkish choir
The Vancouver Turkish Choir offers local singers a chance to sing songs from Türkiye. Facebook photo.

Lovers of Turkish music in Vancouver will soon get to enjoy that country’s rich cultural heritage. On Saturday (April 8), the Turkish-Canadian Society will present the Turkish Choir Ensemble Vancouver’s annual concert at Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island.

It will showcase Turkish folk and classical music.

The event will commemorate the 100th year of the Turkish Republic, which was a momentous occasion. That’s because its first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, laid the foundation for a secular and progressive state.

Moreover, he granted equal civil and political rights to women, including full universal suffrage in 1934. That same year, Parliament gave him the surname “Atatürk”. This signified its view of him as “Father of the Turks” for his visionary nation-building.

A portion of the Vancouver concert proceeds will benefit Turkish students in B.C. whose families were directly affected by a devastating February 6 earthquake. It killed more than 50,000 people in Türkiye and Syria.

Ticket prices begin at $35, but concertgoers can also buy $50 and $100 tickets, depending on how much they would like to contribute to relief efforts.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. There will be a cash bar for drinks and light snacks until 7 p.m., when the stage performance begins. Parking is free after 6 p.m. on Granville Island.

This video shows clips of Turkish music performed in Vancouver last year.

Meanwhile, many Vancouver residents are unaware that some classical Austrian composers distantly modelled Turkish military music. Also known as Janissary music, its lively tempo includes plenty of percussion, which was a hallmark of Ottoman army bands.

This was reflected in the use of the bass drum, triangle, and cymbals.

Turkish music influenced Haydn and Mozart

Two examples are Joseph Haydn’s 1775 opera L’incontro improvviso (The Unforeseen Encounter) and his 1794 Military Symphony.

In addition, some of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s compositions had a distinctively Turkish flavour. For instance, his 1782 opera  Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) features two marches for a Janissary chorus. Moreover, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major K. 2019 is sometimes described as his “Turkish Concerto” due to its section of music rooted in Anatolia.

There were deep connections between this part of Europe and the Turks. The Ottoman Empire laid siege to Vienna for the first time in 1529, with the final Battle of Vienna taking place in 1683. That led to the Ottomans being pushed out of most of what’s now Hungary by 1699.

The Ottoman Empire fought against the Allies in the First World War, most notably in the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915. And after the Ottoman Empire and the other Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) were defeated in the First World War, Atatürk prevented the Allies from carving up Türkiye.

The Turkish leader accomplished this by creating a provisional government in Ankara, which is now the capital. Then, his Turkish National Movement fought several campaigns against the Allies from 1919 to 1923. It later became known as the Turkish War of Independence.

Turkish music

The Turkish-Canadian Society will present the annual concert of the Turkish Choir Ensemble Vancouver on Saturday (April 8). Tickets for the event at Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island are available through Eventbrite. Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter @charliesmithvcr. Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.