Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol — NEC faculty and director of the Intercultural Institute — has teamed up with A Far Cry, founded by numerous NEC alumni, to create a new album, A Gentleman of Istanbul.
Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol has blazed a wholly original path for himself, creating and performing works that range from jazz to classical to traditional Turkish music. He's been very busy with a new book coming out at the end of this month, a new extended composition recording coming out in April and then a jazz orchestra album releasing in July. He's managed all that while serving as a professor at the New England Conservatory, where he serves as the director of the Conservatory's Intercultural Institute.
Sanlıkol shared some of the artistic and personal meaning he has found while pursuing his intercultural career path:
Sanlıkol: Seven years after my arrival in Boston, Massachusetts, I somehow connected with a variety of Turkish and related musics. I took about 10 years off of my career as a composer and did nothing but devoted myself to study and perform Turkish music in its traditional forms.
...from a career perspective, it was like shooting myself in the leg, to take off suddenly all these years and disappear from the scene. But then, when I felt like a lot of identity-related issues inside me were resolved, I returned and I thought that I had a much stronger and unique voice as a composer-performer.
Sanlıkol recently led the Bimusicality Symposium at NEC, exploring musicianship in multiple musical traditions.