Saturday, July 1, 2023

Short Bio

Babür Tongur (1955) is a Turkish Canadian composer, conductor and academician. He started his music education when he was four and started composing music at the age of six. At the age of eleven, he completed talent exams and was accepted to the İstanbul Municipal Conservatory. He started composition studies in Ankara State Conservatory in 1972, and started to study with A. Adnan Saygun in 1978 in Istanbul State Conservatory, completing his Bachelor, MA degrees and DMA in 1987.

He co-established The Tiyatora Orchestra (1979-1992) in Istanbul, and conducted the first productions of several major works in Türkiye. These productions included The Threepenny Opera and West Side Story.

Between 2000 and 2007, he conducted several operas, cantatas, and symphonic works with the MSGSU State Conservatory Orchestra. Between 1979 and 2007, he taught several classes, and programmed syllabi in the MSGSU State Conservatory.

He has composed for solo instruments, choir, chamber ensembles, and orchestra, as well as several other stage-works since 1973. He won several awards for these compositions. His works were performed in Türkiye, Europe and North America, and took place in several CDs. He has been commissioned by preeminent ensembles. His long-time contributions in stage works and his past in theater works influences his expressive musical language. In his compositions, he tells stories, and oftentimes he writes these stories, he explores paintings, and is freely inspired by other art forms. He explores human experiences such as love and death. His studies in ethnomusicology, which he defines as ‘musical anthropology’, nourishes his harmonic and modal language. His works have been defined as captivating, expressive and intense. Since 2009 he has lived, composed and taught in Canada.

Babür Tongur is from Istanbul Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory. He composed for solo instruments, chamber music groups, orchestra, ballet, opera and theater. His compositions are played in Turkey, Europe and North America, and took place on several CDs. He worked as conductor, music director and instructor between 1979-2007. Between 2007-2009, he lived and composed in Bodrum (Halicarnassus) - Turkey. Since 2009, he lives and composes in Canada.

Babür Tongur's composition master was Ahmed Adnan Saygun who was from Schola Cantorum Paris, and his lineage includes Vincent d'Indy and Cesar Franck. Babur Tongur grounded his compositional language on the concept of his colourful, horizontal and vertical synthesis of pitches which he sets up according to his compositional story. He organizes his musical storytelling in time and space through metamorphosis  setting in the overarching structures of his pieces and establishes contrasts on the stage. He brings rhythmic and serial characteristics of differing times and places in his works. Especially, the Mediterranean and Anatolian cultures and their musical characteristics have an important place in his thinking. He also writes his own lyrics and librettos.
Babür Tongur won the ‘Istanbul State Conservatory Composition Prize’ in 1985 with his Viola-Piano Sonata, and in 1987 ‘Dilligil Stage Music Prize’ with his Macbeth, and in 1988, won the ‘ENKA Composition Prize’ with his ‘Grand-grandmother and the Crow’.
Between 1978 and 2008 he worked as conductor, music director and composer in Istanbul State TheaterAnkara State Theater and Kenter Theater for various plays. He co-founded Istanbul Theater Orchestra in 1978. He conducted the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Orchestra as well as teaching various courses in the university from 1979 to 2007. 
Babür Tongur compiled music during field researches in rural areas of Turkey as well as demographic researches. His papers were accepted in various national and international conferences and symposiums on composition, musicology, and education of music.
Babur Tongur had a distinctive teaching career in music. In 1979, he started to teach part time in Istanbul State Conservatory and Marmara University. From 1983 to 2007, he taught full time at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory in Orchestral Conducting and Composition Division. In this institution he taught solfeggio, harmony, counterpoint, partimenti (figured harmony), modal music, composition, musical analysis, advance music history,  rhythmic, score reading, score playing. He also worked for Bilkent University and ENKA Schools. During his educational career he worked as a syllabus programmer and wrote, updated and improved the syllabuses for several universities and colleges; these syllabuses included topics such as solfeggio, music theory, harmony, counterpoint, partimenti (figured harmony), modal music, composition, musical analysis, rhythmic, score reading, score playing and programs for music teachers. He founded, programmed divisions such as Music Theory, Rhythmic, Correpetition and Conducting. Babur Tongur co-founded TongurMusic-Publishing, Organisation-Education- in Calgary in 2014.

Calgary, August 2015

A A Saygun, A Timucin, E Saydam, E Z Un, G Reusch-Onay, H Saydam, I Usmanbas, M C Higney, M Sun, N Karatekin,  d'Indy, C Franck, H Challan, M Bitsch, G Dandelot, N Gallon. J Gallon, P Maurice, P Lantier, H Reber.  N Tagizade, R Wagner, Y Lorriot, O Messiaen, M C B Patier, M D Guillemin, S Adler, S Fink, Y Desportes, E Pozzoli, F Fontain, F Fenerolli, R O Morris, Fernand Fotain, Ettore Pozzoli, Yvonne Desportes