Sacred Songs from Istanbul

The Intercultural Institute of Comparative Music Studies (IISMC) publishes the full version of the outstanding concert ‘Sacred Songs from Istanbul’ conducted by Kudsi Erguner, with Ensemble Bîrûn, on Saturday 6 April 2019 in the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore.


The concert featured sacred songs from Istanbul’s various language communities, where different ritual traditions are expressed according to the rules of the makâm modal system of classical Ottoman music. The songs in Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Armenian, Arabic and Persian were all transcribed and translated into subtitles for the video.

The texts were transcribed and translated by Giovanni De Zorzi, Kudsî Erguner, Roderick Grierson and Piergabriele Mancuso.


Among the musicians present at this particular edition were some of the best participants in the multi-year project Bîrûn, Seminari di alta formazione in musica classica ottomana, founded and coordinated by Kudsi Erguner in collaboration with Giovanni De Zorzi and Giovanni Giuriati since 2012.


Audiovisual documentation by Simone Tarsitani.





Kudsi Erguner, artistic director and ney


Ensemble Bîrûn 2019


Ilhan Yazici, singer

Bora Uymaz, singer

Safa Korkmaz, singer

Burak Savaş, singer

Ibrahim Ethem Uçar, singer

Giovanni De Zorzi, ney

Selman Erguner, viola

Zeynep Yildız Abbasoğlu, kanûn

Hasan Kiriş, tanbûr

Giannis Koutis, ‘ûd

Reza Mirjalali, târ

Jacobus Thiele, percussions




Project realised in cooperation with Cà Foscari University Venice – Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage and Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore – Benedicti Claustra onlus.