Report of the 3rd Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Music of the Turkic-speaking World

Groups audience: ICTM Study Group on Music of the Turkic-speaking World

“Popular Culture in Turkic Asia and Afghanistan: Performance and Belief” was the subject of the 3rd Symposium and Workshop of the ICTM Study Group on Music of the Turkic-speaking World, held at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. The event started with a roundtable revolving around “The study of Turkic languages in the University of Cambridge”, where the representatives of the embassies of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan and the Deputy Secretary General of Turksoy (Ankara) actively participated of the discussion. The following days, 1-2 December, were filled with a tight program within which participants from 15 different countries (USA, UK, Germany, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Holland, Bulgaria, Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iran) gave their papers and contributed at discussion sessions. Presenters delivered papers on popular culture in the Turkic-speaking world, religion and music, improvisation as major music quality, cultural preservation, the issue of national identity at the time of globalization, and many others.

The workshop-concert at the astonishing 10th century Chapel of Jesus College was a beautiful addition to our symposium, where four groups of authentic performers (from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Kazakhstan) sang and performed with the help of their traditional instruments. The concert concluded with the cross-cultural workshop improvisation conducted by famous British Composer Peter Wiegold.

The new initiative was not to only invite ethnomusicologists and musical performers to our symposium-workshop, but also to bring three composers into the mix (Peter Wiegold, Aziza Sadykova, and Hossein Hadisi), and even an artist (Elena Tchibor), whose exhibition “Musical Instruments of the Turkic speaking World” was displayed during the event. The symposium’s closing ceremony was a dinner at the 14th century Old Library of Pembroke College. The outcome is going to be a book publication with the best papers of the symposium and a CD with recordings of the symposium-workshop’s performance.

One thing that needs to be mentioned, is that our 3rd Symposium and workshop would not have had the ability to take place, were it not for the support and financial sustenance of the University of Cambridge, the British Council, and Turksoy.

The website of the  3rd Symposium:

Closing ceremony photo:

Source: International Council for Traditional Music