Tahir Aydoğdu

Tahir Aydoğdu (born 1959 in Istanbul) is a Turkish virtuoso of the kanun, musician and lecturer. The kanun, a precursor to the European zither, is one of the archetypal instruments for playing classical Turkish and Arabic music. In the thirteenth century it was thought to be the main musical instrument used by the Andalusian Moors, who brought it from the Arab region to Europe. Aydoğdu is noted for fusing together the kanun and Turkish classical music with western jazz and classical music.


1: I enjoy reading books,

2: visiting different seas with sailing boats (I’m a captain),

3: and working to introduce my instrument all over the world.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
My biggest inspiration in music is my father. Because my father is a kanun performer I benefited a lot and took him as an example. His style became my biggest inspiration. After my father, another artist from whom I took inspiration is Hasan Ferid Alnar.

2. How and when did you get into making music?
I began playing kanun in 1978. Because my father is a kanun performer he was also influential in my choosing the kanun. Later, in 1981, I won an apprenticeship at the Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) Ankara Radio. While working at the Ankara Radio I also won a position as a physics student at the Middle Eastern Technical University (Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi—ODTÜ) and continued both at the same time.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Jaco Pastorious, The Birthday Concert
Nat King Cole, Unforgettable
Dave Brubeck, Take Five
Elvis Presley, Love
Joe Sample, Old Places and Old Faces

4. What do you associate with Berlin?
When I think of Berlin I think of festivals.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Anıtkabir (the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Ankara).

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would be a physicist.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Love in Portofino by Andrea Bocelli.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I love working with musicians who can improvise, because for me improvising is the best way to express myself with my instrument.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
The “From Sufi to Flamenco” project that I completed in 1999 in Holland and Belgium.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology is not that important in my creativity. I have a kanun that I use that has technological possibilities but I prefer acoustic kanun—I use technology according to the time and place without becoming its captive!


Tahir Aydoğdu and the ORBIS Quartett from Berlin will jointly follow in the footsteps of composer Hasan Ferid Alnar on Friday, 29th July 2018 at Heimathafen Neukölln.

Photo © Tahir Aydoğdu