A masterful solo debut album from Neva Özgen, an up and coming star of Turkish classical music. A rare opportunity to hear the subtle nuances of the kemençe. Beautifully recorded, Legacy covers a wide range of Ottoman repertoire, with an ear for the modern.

Neva Özgen


  • Neva Özgen – kemençe
  • İhsan Özgen – tanbur and rebab
Genre: Turkish & Ottoman Classical.


1. Hüzzam Pesrev – Seyfeddin Osmanoglu 4:37
2. Hicaz Ayin – Nai Osman Dede 7:27
3. Pençgah Pesrev – Neyzen Salih Dede 2:35
4. Beraber Taksim – Joint Improvisation 4:57
5. Evcara Pesrev – Dilhayat Kalfa 2:55
6. Sevk-u Tarab Ayin – Ismail Dede Efendi 7:47
7. Ferahfeza Beraber Taksim – Joint Improvisation 1:50
8. Ussak Saz Semai – Neyzen Salih Dede 5:16
9. Ussak Nefes – Anonymous 3:56
10. Saba Nefes – Anonymous 2:06
11. Beyati Araban Pesrev – Gazi Giray Han 2:27
12. Mahur Taksim (on tanbur), Mahur Pesrev – Tanburi Cemil Bey, Taksim on kemençe 6:52
13. Acemkürdi Pesrev – Ismail Hakki Bey, Acemürdi Saz Semai – Cevdet Çagla 6:02
Total time: 59:10


Nai Osman Dede

Nai Osman Dede was born in 1652 in Istanbul.In his youth he became a dervish and joined the Galata Mevlevi Lodge under the sheikh Gavsi Dede.It is unknown who taught Osman Dede to play the ney. The involvement in Galata Mevlevi Lodge as a ney player (neyzen), and according musical life in Istanbul helped him to become one of the best of his time. In 1680, he became the head neyzen, and in 1698,after Gavsi Dede’s passing, the sheikh of his dergâh (dervish convent). Besides music, he was involved with Islamic mysticism, literature and calligraphy. He died in 1730. 

Nai Osman Dede is considered to be one of the most important Turkish ney players of all time. Though it is known he developed a new notation style and notated many works, this collection has been lost. In addition to compositions, he wrote a music dictionary and a book about the Prophet Mohammed.He also wrote poetry under the “Nai ”and “Osman ”pen names.

Miraciye, a work composed by Nai Osman Dede, is considered to be his masterwork (he wrote both the music and lyrics). The topic of Miraciye is Prophet Muhammed’s ascent to heaven (mirac). About half of this piece has been lost. With its remaining 122 couplets, Miraciye is still the longest composed piece of Turkish classical and religious music. Among his other musical works, there are four Mevlevi rituals, a number of secular and religious pesrevs and saz semais, and one yürük semai.

İsmail Hakkı Bey

İsmail Hakkı Bey was born in Istanbul in 1865 and died there in 1927. As a young man, he was renowned for his beautiful voice as he sang ezan (call to prayer) in neighborhood mosques. Noticed by an employee of the Ottoman Palace,he was admitted to Mızıka-İ Hümâyûn.While studying traditional Turkish music,he also took lessons in Western music and notation.In Enderûn (the palace school),he learned the old Hamparsum music notation system.

He was later to become the head müezzin (person who calls Moslems to prayer) of Istanbul. After the declaration of Meşrutiyet in 1908 (forming of constitution), he formed Mûsıkî-i Osmanî Ensemble (Ottoman Music Ensemble) and Mûsıkî-i Osmanî Mekteb (Ottoman Music School). He was a dedicated teacher who inspired many musicians of his time and as a result became known as “Muallim” (teacher). 

İsmail Hakkı Bey was an important professor of music. Prior to İsmail Hakkı Bey, traditional music education was based mainly on memory and oral transmission of pieces, which resulted in the loss of many compositions over the years. In his teaching, he emphasized the meticulous writing down of notation, the preservation of old works, and the practice of lesser-known makams (Turkish modes), many of which had not been used regularly in hundreds of years.

  • Neva Özgen – kemençe
  • İhsan Özgen – tanbur and rebab
Özgens, father & daughter
Özgens, father & daughter

Producer: Ates Temeltas 
Recorded on October 5 & 6,1999 in Walnut Creek, California 
Recording Engineer: Eliot Bates 
Mixing & Mastering: Eliot Bates
M/iq Productions, San Francisco, California, October-November 2000 
Graphic Design: Siir Özbilge
Cover Image: Cariye by Reyyan Somuncuoğlu (View more of her artwork at www.reyyan.com
Photography: Merih Akoğul

He was a prolific composer with over one thousand compositions to his credit. Among his works are operets, saz semais, peşrevs, marş (marching tunes), religious works, zeybeks, longas, dance tunes, over three hundred songs and many other works in other forms. Moving outside of Turkish music, he also composed pieces with Hebrew lyrics for synagogues.

Hammâmîzâde İsmail Dede Efendi

Hammâmîzâde İsmail Dede Efendi was born in Istanbul in 1778. At the age of eight, he started studies with Mehmed Emin Efendi.He attended rituals at Yenikapİ Mevlevi Lodge.While here, he learned to play ney, which was soon overshadowed by his accomplishments as a composer and singer. In 1797, he became a Mevlevi and soon after was heard by Sultan Selim III, who called him to perform at fasıls at the Palace.With his sheihk Ali Nutki Dede’s permission, he became a Dede in 1779. Dede Efendi’s music was well appreciated by Sultan Selim III and he often performed his works at the palace, and became a teacher at Enderûn (the palace school).

But soon Dede Efendi experienced many tragedies, starting with the loss of his spiritual leader Ali Nutki Dede. In 1807, Sultan Selim III was overthrown and killed; Sultan Mustafa IV succeeded him. The new palace introduced Western music and instruments, placing less emphasis on traditional Turkish music. However, during this period away from the palace, Dede Efendi composed prolifically, including many of his masterpieces. This visionary composer did return to the palace, but the climate was less amenable to his music, and in 1845 Dede Efendi left to Mecca for pilgrimage. While there, he died from cholera.

Dede Efendi is considered to be the most significant composer of Turkish music in the 19th century. He carried on his forefathers 'work, remaining true to the traditional art, while composing many new pieces with previously unknown ornamentations. His mastery was not constrained to a single form; religious works included ayins (rituals), ilahis and duraks; secular works included kâr, murabba, nakış, semâi and, of course, şarkıs (songs). 

Prior to Dede Efendi, lyrics of most compositions belonged to Divan poetry (Ottoman classical school of poetry). Dede Efendi also used his own poetry, as well as folk songs, as lyrics for his pieces. As a modal innovator, he created the Sultanî-Yegâh, Neveser, Saba-Bûselik, Hicaz-Bûselik, and Araban-Kürdî makams. While expanding Turkish traditional music with his secular and religious works, Dede Efendi also wrote pieces with the influence of Western music that he heard in the Palace.

Dilhayat Kalfa

It is believed that Dilhayat Kalfa lived in 18th century between 1710 and 1780 during the times of Sultan Selim III and that she had a high position in the Sultan’s palace (though some research places the year of her death at 1740). She is the first known female Turkish composer. She was also an accomplished tanbur player and singer. She composed over one hundred works; however, of these only twelve exist today. Her compositions Evcara Pesrev and Evcara Sazsemaisi place her name among the greatest of Turkish composers. Among her vocal pieces the better-known pieces are Rast Beste (Nev-hıramım sana meyleyledi can bir, dil iki), Mahur Beste (Ta-be-key-sînemde ca etmek cefa vü kîneye), Saba Beste (Yek-be-yek gerçi ırmrad-ı dili takrir etdim) and Evç Beste (Çok mu figanım ol gül-i zîba-hıram için).

Neyzen Salih Dede

Salih Dede was born in Istanbul around 1818 and died in 1888. He learned ney playing from his elder brother, the famous neyzen Sheikh Said Dede.He entered Mızıka-ı Hümâyûn as a ney player and worked there until his retirement. Salih Dede was a member of the Mevlevi tarîkat (brotherhood), and became neyzenbaşı (lead ney player) in several Mevlevi lodges in Istanbul.He would himself eventually teach Hüseyin Fahreddin Dede, another great neyzen of Turkish music history. 

Salih Dede was also known as a composer and twenty of his works are still known. He composed peşrevs, saz semais, a few songs and one oyun havası (dance tune).

Cevdet Çağla

Cevdet Çağla is one of the most important Turkish music composers of the last period. He was born in Istanbul in 1900 and died in 1988. He was raised in a musical family, and began to play the violin when he was seven years old. In 1916 he went to Berlin to study music on a government scholarship. After his return to Istanbul, he was accepted to the Music Conservatory as a violin player. During his fifteen years of work there, he played almost in every recording produced by the Conservatory.In 1926 he worked on the very first programs of the Istanbul Radio; he later worked in Ankara Radio, Ankara Music Association, Istanbul Radio, Baghdad Conservatory, and the Istanbul Technical University National Conservatory of Turkish Music as a musician, professor and administrator. Today we have eighty-two of his compositions.

Tanburi Cemil Bey

Tanburi Cemil Bey was born in Istanbul in 1873 and died there in 1916. Tanburi Cemil Bey was an innovator; one of the most creative musicians and composers of his time. He was an accomplished player of many instruments including the tanbur, kemençe, lavta and violoncello. Even as a little boy, he exhibited an incredible uniqueness and proficiency in the tanbur instrument. His style of playing and technique would eventually become a school of Turkish classical music. Without making any changes to the characteristics of Turkish classical music, and remaining honest to the traditional structure of Turkish music, he developed an advanced style which proved his virtuosity both in improvisation and composition. 

With their delicate structures, rich melodies and strong aesthetics, these compositions and improvisations invoke a uniquely romantic and lyric feeling that remind the listener of Cemil Bey’s teacher, Tanburi Ali Efendi.

As Haci Arif Bey expanded the aesthetics of Turkish vocal music, Tanburi Cemil Bey was a significant innovator in instrumental music, both technically and aesthetically. His 100-recorded taksims (modal improvisations) on the tanbur, kemençe, lavta and violoncello provide evidence of his virtuosity and musicianship. He composed pieces in several musical forms, including peşrevs, saz semais, dance tunes, songs and lullabies. Even though we have only thirty-five of his compositions, his recorded legacy of about one hundred fifty records (78 rpm discs) establish him as one of the most influential of Turkish classical composers. Modern day musicians continue to be influenced by these recordings, which survive in various archives.

Gazi Giray Han

Gazi Giray Han (Khan) was born in 1554 in Bahçesaray (Bakhchi-sarai in the Crimea). A lifelong military commander, he was twice ruler of Crimea. He died in Akmescit 1607 on his way to a battle in Iran. 

Gazi Giray Han brought new perspectives to Divan poetry. His gazels 'topics included bravery, joy of victories, fearlessness and pride in his people. His musical compositions were popular among Istanbul musicians, who gave him the nickname “Tatar”. His instrumental masterworks include peşrevs and semais in the makams of Mahur, Beyatiaraban, Hüzzam and Irak.In addition to his compositions, he was also known for his accomplished playing.

Seyfeddin Osmanoğlu

Seyfeddin Osmanoğlu was born in Istanbul on September 21, 1874 at the Beşiktaş Palace.He was a şehzade (son of a sultan) and youngest among five sons of Sultan Aziz and Valide Sultan Gevherin. Like many members of the Ottoman Empire’s ruling family, he showed talents in arts and started his studies in painting and music at a very early age. He learned to play the tanbur and kemençe, and was also an accomplished hanende (singer). 

During the last days of the Ottoman Empire, Seyfeddin Osmanoğlu became a supporter of arts. His residence was a place of meeting for musicians. In time, he improved his own musicianship and started to participate in sessions with his instruments and voice. At the end of Ottoman Empire, he moved to Nice, France and died there on October 19, 1926. He is buried in Syria, next to Sultan Vahdettin.

Among his known works are six peşrevs, seven saz semais, eight ilahis, one kâr, eight beste, one ağır semai, two şarkıs and two tavşanca (dance) pieces.


One of the top 10 albums of 2002. Chris Williams, Writer, fRoots