HASAN FERID ALNAR (1906 - 1978)
Hasan Ferid Alnar is one of the representatives of the ‘Turkish Five’ collective of composers, joining Cemal Reşit Rey (1904–1985), Ulvi Cemal Erkin (1906– 1972), Ahmed Adnan Saygun (1907–1991) and Necil Kazım Akses (1908–1999). Alnar grew up in a family intertwined with the traditional makam music of Turkey. He received his first musical education in this discipline through learning the kanun to a virtuosic level. He later composed the first ever concerto for this unique string instrument (1944–51). Alnar was also the only composer among the ‘Turkish Five’ who had a formal background in traditional music.
In his creativity, he brought this accumulation of knowledge directly to his musical compositions by preserving the elements of that genre. After studying architecture, Alnar decided to continue his career as a composer. He went to Vienna to study composition with Joseph Marx and conducting with Oswald Kabasta. After his return to Turkey, he mostly continued his career as a conductor and composer. Alnar’s compositions are mainly based on makams (music scales) and usuls (rhythmical cycles), which are derived from and inspired by the traditional music of Turkey. According to Yalçın Tura (composer/music theorist), ‘he digested traditional music like natural food. He’s got that music in his soul’.