BIOGRAPHY

 

      “ . . . One of the outstanding pianists and composers in       Europe today . . .At the cutting edge of the world music.”

                                              Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records

 

•        “Undeniably skillful and unique” -- Jazz Times

 

         “Pianist Fahir Atakoglu brings an assertive and exotic               approach to the piano” -- All About Jazz

FAHIR ATAKOĞLU

 

A native of Turkey, Fahir Atakoğlu is an international, award-winning composer and pianist well known in the fields of jazz, world music, large symphonic works, theatrical and dance music and film scores. His works have been performed at various music festivals in Europe and the United States to critical acclaim, and he is considered one of the most outstanding pianists and composers in the world today. In 2015 Fahir was honored as one of the 50 Most Influential Turkish American Artists.

Since 1986, Fahir has composed music for commercials, documentaries and feature films for many Turkish and international productions. For his work in film composition, he won first prize for “Documentary Music Compositions” at the Milano Film Festival as well as “Outstanding Achievement in Arts Award”, Platinum Sales awarded by EMI Greece, Telos Dios Telos for sales more than 480,000 and he won “The Best Song Award” from the Mega Channel in Greece.

 Fahir Atakoğlu scored and composed the TV Drama soundtrack for “Magnificent Century” (“Muhtesem Yuzyil”), which was broadcast in 65 countries as well as on Netflix.In 2017 he composed the music for “Ayla” which was submitted by Turkey to the Motion Picture Academy in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.

Fahir’s virtuosity is further demonstrated with the music that he composed in 2005 for the Istanbul National Ballet’s performance of “East Side Story” which was also presented at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles in August, 2006. He was then commissioned by the Imagination Stage organization to compose music for their plays “Aladdin’s Luck” and “Never Ending Story”.

In 2016 Fahir composed “Musical Reflections of the Art of Banksy” for “The Art of Banksy” exhibition in Istanbul.  For the recording, Fahir created a 6-part, 25-minute length, musical compositions.  The lyrics are a compilation of Rumi’s poems and Banksy’s quotes

Also, an accomplished jazz artist, Fahir has released 17 albums since his solo debut in 1994, and he maintains an intense international touring schedule in Europe and the USA, including sold out shows at the world-renowned Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Along with his trio, he has performed at such venerable jazz venues as Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. and The Velvet Rope in Atlanta, andthe Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania.

His CD releases include: If (2005); Istanbul in Blue (2007) and Faces & Places (2012). On If, Fahir is joined by legendary bass player Anthony Jackson and acclaimed drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez.

Istanbul in Blue, features Bob Franceschini, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Anthony Jackson, Wayne Krantz and Mike Stern, in which he takes the listener through a deep exploration of his unique rhythmic melodies and harmonies. Istanbul in Blue charted at #1 on the JazzWeek World Music charts 2 times and on the JazzWeek Jazz chart at #15. Faces & Places also charted at #1 on the JazzWeek World Music charts.

Faces & Places casting a wide stylistic musical net while deftly incorporating musical elements from Spain, Brazil, the Middle East and New York City into the compelling mix. Faces & Places hosts an all-star ensemble featuring, John Patitucci (bass), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Bob Mintzer (sax), Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez (drums), Rogerio Bocatto (percussion), Romero Lubambo (guitar), Rene Toledo (flamenco guitar) and Wayne Krantz (electric guitar). 

“Live at Umbria Jazz”, Fahir’s 2016 release, was recorded at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. It features the master musicianship of Fahir on piano, Cuban drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, and Canadian bass player, Alain Caron.

Fahir Atakoğlu’s new release For Love is the composer and pianist’s first collaborative jazz album that features truly remarkable vocalists from around the world. Buika (Spain), Luciana Souza (Brazil) Letizia Gambi (Italy) and Aimee Allen (United States). The star-studded group adds a wide variety of expressive cohesion of instrumentation.  The group includes Fahir on piano, drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, bass player Alain Caron, Bob Franceschini on saxophone, Romero Lubambo on guitar and Mustafa Boztuy on percussion.

 

For Love is nominated in the first round for Grammy Awards in seven  categories including Album of the Year, Jazz Album and Jazz Instrumental. 

Fahir Atakoğlu’s compositions speak with striking originality, and always remain connected to the culture of his homeland.

 

  • “ . . . One of the outstanding pianists and composers in Europe today . . .At the cutting edge of the world music.”

Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records

 

 

 

  • “The depth and breadth of Atakoğlu art: his composing, arranging, and orchestration is summed up in the disc's [Live at Umbria Jazz] coda piece, "Saturday," which alternates between thundering percussiveness, precise fingering, and sumptuous lyricism in the waltz sections.” 

– All About Jazz – July 8, 2016

 

  • “This [Live at Umbria Jazz] is true trio music, carefully considered and daringly presented. It possesses its own inevitable momentum and destination. A superb disc.”

                                                                                                                                                –All About Jazz – July 8, 2016

 

  • “Atakoğlu's playing can be described as percussive precision, a precision that extend to his careful arrangement of the bass and drum parts. These performances are no mere blowing sessions. They are carefully crafted tone poems delivered with a muscular virility and near scientific exactness. “

– All About Jazz – July 8, 2016

 

  • “Fahir Atakoğlu is a musical polyglot from Turkey, who is as at home with classical, jazz, and popular music as he is producing tunes for commercials, ambient background, and soundtracks.” – All About Jazz – July 8, 2016

 

·       “Atakoğlu’s Live at Umbria Jazz forges a bridge between East and West in a sonic summit unfettered by boundaries.” -- JazzIz – Lissette Corsa, June 2016

 

·      “It’s easy to get lost in Turkish-American pianist Fahir Atakoğlu’s vertiginous compositions, characterized as they are by an unbridled elegance and billowing mystique.”

                                                                                                                                                JazzIz – Lissette Corsa, June 2016

 

·      “Throughout the set, the musicians vigorously introduce influences from Afro-Cuba, the Middle East, Europe and North America to create contemporary world jazz 

of the highest caliber.”

                                                                                                                              JazzIz – Lissette Corsa, June 2016

 

·      “The live recording captures the magic of these technically gifted musicians whose onstage chemistry transcends geographic and musical borders.”

JazzIz – Lissette Corsa, June 2016

 

·       “Newly released but recorded some six years hence, the lyrically and technically adept leader is joined by rhythm section bad boys Caron and Hernandez, and while neither is short on subtlety or muscle, they deploy both with keen intelligence.”  

JazzWise -- Mike Flynn – June 6, 2016

 

·      Atakoglu’s fourth album, “Live at Umbria Jazz” came out recently 

and it is a tour de forceof jazz piano trio art. – All About Jazz – Duncan Heining – May 3, 2016

 

·       “Maybe the most intimate and brilliant critique on Turkish-born jazz pianist and composer Fahir Atakoğlu and his music! It takes you to his childhood and brings all the flavors he possesses onto the table with utmost wisdom on how to write a critique. If you are a fan of Atakoglu, you'll definitely and finally understand his ins and outs, how he became one of the "unique" jazz musicians that ever lived, bringing all those myriad inspirations starting from his homeland all the way to the heart of jazz. I loved it.  . . . completely astonishing!”

                                                                                                            Armağan Durdağ—Composer – May 3, 2016

 

·      “Its (“Live at Umbria Jazz’”) tunes are melodically complex but filled with clever hooks and delivered with a joyous abandonment by Atakoglu and Cuban drummer (Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez) and electric bassist (Alain Caron).”

All About Jazz – Duncan Heining – May 3, 2016

 

·      “This is music that ebbs and flow organically. It is music of tension and release. But most of all, it is the sheer range of different musical experiences that Atakoglu’s brings to bear that really sets his music aside from the pack.”-- All About Jazz – Duncan Heining – May 3, 2016

 

·      “Recorded in the Teatro Morlacchi, Perugia’s wedding cake of an opera house, “Live” is one of those records that makes you wish you’d been there.”

All About Jazz – Duncan Heining – May 3, 2016

 

  • “If” made for a very impressive opening statement. At times, there is almost a Mozart-like quality to some of the melodies but then the Austrian had been influenced, to a degree at least, by the Turkish music of the Mehter, the elite Turkish military bands of the Ottoman empire. --All About Jazz – Duncan Heining – May 3, 2016

 

  • “It (“Live at Umbria Jazz”) is a summation of Atakoglu’s career to date 

and a complete expression of his virtues and values in music.”

All About Jazz – Duncan Heining – May 3, 2016

 

·      "The chemistry between Atakoglu, Caron, and Hernandez on this live date is exemplary, and pushes the boundaries of the piano trio ensemble. They not only complement each other's improvisations, but meld into a singular cohesive unit exhibiting 

a high standard of flamboyant musicianship on a global scale." 

James Nadal, All About Jazz, March 9, 2016

 

·               “‘Taste and feeling’ are of paramount importance and Fahir Atakoglu’s piano playing flows like fragrant oil.”  -- Latin Jazz Network-- Raul da Gama-- Apr 6, 2016

 

·       “Fluent, multi-faceted and tonally-sensitive Fahir Atakoglu is a technician of exceptional elegance and sophistication.” -- Latin Jazz Network-- Raul da Gama-- April 6, 2016

 

·               “The playing is also informed by exceedingly melodic inflection and is curvaceous, natural and discreetly sensuous; the tonal palette is unfailingly refined and the 

pervasive polyphony. This entire package of accompaniment provides 

considerable encouragement for the pianist enabling him to push the envelope even 

further than he might have on any other occasion. Add to that the superbly captured 

sound and you have a truly unforgettable experience on record to enjoy again, and again ”

Latin Jazz Network-- Raul da Gama-- Apr 6, 2016

 

  • Live at Umbria Jazz showcases the talent of Atakoglu and his colleagues, delivering stellar individual playing and superb musical dialog. . . . Live at Umbria Jazz combines jazz passion, vivacity and high energy rhythms served by a world class pianist.”

                                                                                 World Music Central, Angel Romero, March 15, 2016

 

 

• “Undeniably skillful and unique” -- Jazz Times

 

• “Pianist Fahir Atakoglu brings an assertive and exotic approach to the piano” -- All About Jazz

 

 

• “International award winning composer, Fahir Atakoglu is a much‐esteemed composer in Europe and Turkey in the fields of large symphonic works and film music. His works have also been 

performed in various music festivals in Europe and across the United States to much acclaim.”

Arif Mardin, Producer, Composer, Arranger

 

• "…Moreover, Atakoglu's taped score sounded utterly at home in every style, with lush symphonic lyricism layered over invigorating folk rhythms. As in Istanbul itself, you journeyed from 

Europe to Asia and back without ever leaving a unique environment.

Lewis Segal, LA Times Staff Writer on “East Side Story

 

• “Turkish‐born pianist Fahir Atakoglu brings an assertive and exotic approach to the piano trio format, blending a geographical mixture that includes the sounds of his own homeland, drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez's native Cuba, and bassist Anthony Jackson's New York state of mind.” -- Dan McClenaghan , All About Jazz

 

• “Atakoglu composed all the tunes on If.A very original melodic approach flows through the always interesting and often intense rhythmic drives, taking this piano trio to places that you've 

probably never been before.” Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

 

• “The result is more jaw dropping music from this most awesome, brilliant, death defying pianist who deserves a ton of wider recognition and admiration.  “There's a lot to enjoy on this recording 

[Istanbul in Blue] from a contemporary and historical standpoint, and as listeners 

should definitely own a copy of "If," this one shows a willingness to expand, employ 

different styles, and bodes well for Atakoglu's next adventurous excursion.”

Michael Nastos, All Music Guide

 

• “The album Istanbul in Blue closes with the nostalgically haunting title track that's elegant and simple in the coming together of its diverse parts‐at once a reflection of Istanbul and a 

nod to the timeless city that stands as Atakoglu's eternal source of inspiration.”

Lissette Corsa. JazzIz

 

• “There's music encapsulated here to suit varied taste and that’s because of Atakoglu’s expansive piano expertise. He has the ability to make his instrument sound classical one minute, 

traditional jazz the next and even at times there are saloon type 

ragtime nuances that slip in for good measure.”

Asha Small, JazzReview.com

 

• “Intriguing collaboration between stellar set of fusioneers and a composer who’s at home in the east and west and both the commercial and art world...” Andy Robson, JazzWise,England

 

• “It is that inherently lustful quality balanced with good common sense and spectacular musicianship that identifies Faces & Places as a pure personal statement, and a continuing novel 

with the diversity Fahir Atakoglu has always enjoyed. It's a beautiful statement of 

contemporary jazz from top to bottom, deserving of high accolades, and anyone's high recommendation.” Michael Nastos, All Music Guide

 

• “A strong soloist, with an arranger’s ear for development and form, Atakoglu’s writing also sounds particularly deft at manipulating tension, energy and textural variations… 

Perhaps reflecting both personal experience as well as Turkey’s position as a cultural crossroad, 

a certain Middle Eastern rhythm in Atakoglu’s music is not far from, for example, 

Brazilian samba, flamenco or gritty New York City jazz funk.”

Fernando Gonzalez, International Review Of Music

 

• "Faces and Places" simply intoxicates the listener with a kaleidoscopic masterpiece of moods, colors and textures. It's a killer CD from a killer group.”  Alonzo Veston , stjoenews.net

 

• “In Faces & Placeshis music is just so chock full of energy and chops that you wonder how come this kind of stuff isn’t played more often… Music that energizes like a Duracell!”

George W. Harris, jazzweekly.com

 

              Education 

 

  • Croydon College, University of London

  • Higher National Diploma in Marketing, Advertising 1980-1983

  • London School of Music Composition / Workshops 1981-1983

  • Private Tutoring Cemal Resit REY 1977-1980 Composition, Orchestration, Piano

Awards

  • 50 Most Influential Turkish American Award- by TOA

  • 2006 November, Man of Outstanding accomplishment Award

  • Given by Daughters of ATATURK

  • 2006 November, ATAA

  • Outstanding Achievement in arts Award

  • Platinum Sales Award My EMI Greece

  • (Telos Dios Telos) for sales in excess of 480.000

  • 2002, Mega Channel Greece

  • Best song Award (Telos Dios Telos)

  • 2000, MIlano Film Festival

  • First Prize for Documentary - *Exile in Buyukada* 

  • 1997-1998, Finalist Award

  • Flora-Marshall Boya also Finalist Award "Duru" commercial 

  • 1996-1997, Crystal Apple Award

  • Best Jingle, "Yarina Dort Isik" for Garanti Bank

  • 1996, Finalist Award

  • For the music of "Duru Sabunlari '96

  • 1995-1996, “Crystal Apple” Award

  • Best Jingle, “Renault Laguna” Theme

  • 1995, TV commercials '95

  • Finalist Award -“Toyota Corolla” 

  • 1994-1995, Crystal Apple Award

  • Best Jingle, "Milliyet" Corporate Theme 

  • 1995, Gold Screen Award

  • Best Original Score for the documentary 12Mart

  • 1994, London International Advertising Awards

  • Finalist Award "Traffic Campaign"

  • 1982, South London Jazz Federation

  • Jazz Talent and Composition Contest 1st runner up

Professional memberships

MSG Turkish Copyright Association Member as Writer, Publisher, Arranger, Producer

BUMA/STEMRA (NL) All rights worldwide.

Voting Member of NARAS (The Recording Academy, GRAMMY)

© 2020 Fahir Atakoglu _ Background Photo by Andrea Boccalini