28 Oct 2022

Honorary Doctorate to Erol Sayan, the Doyen of Our Music

Istanbul Technical University (ITU) awarded the title of “honorary doctor” to Erol Sayan, one of the most important composers of our country. At the honorary doctorate ceremony where Erol Sayan was present, ITU TMSC gave the audience a feast of Turkish art music with a repertoire consisting of Erol Sayan’s compositions.

News: İTÜ Media and Communication Office

Istanbul Technical University awarded an honorary doctorate diploma to Erol Sayan, one of the lecturers of ITU TMSC, known as the composer of more than 300 Turkish art music works in our country. The ceremony held at Mustafa Kemal Auditorium in our Maçka Campus on October 27 was attended by many people, particularly our Rector Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu, our Vice-Rectors and Senate members.

As a result of the decision taken by our University Senate, Artist Lecturer Erol Sayan was presented an honorary doctorate diploma “in recognition of his contributions to art and culture in Turkish music, raising countless students in order to transfer them to future generations, carrying the issues of our music to the scientific field with his books and articles, writing hundreds of compositions and lyrics in various forms and his great contributions to the art and culture of our University as well as the Turkish Music State Conservatory of our University.”

The ceremony started with a moment of silence and the National Anthem, followed by a musical recital by the choir and instrumentalists of ITU TMDK Voice Training Department students. Soloists Sadiye Erimli, Faruk Onur Korzay and İbrahim Suat Erbay performed the works of Erol Sayan. After the concert, an interview with Erol Sayan, which was shown on TRT in 1989, was projected on the screen.

At the honorary doctorate ceremony, Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu reminded the hundreds of students Erol Sayan raised at ITU TMSC starting from the 1983-84 academic year. Prof. Dr. Koyuncu said, “Our esteemed master composed songs in many forms of Turkish music, as well as songs that can be easily sung by all segments of the society.” Mentioning Erol Sayan’s books on music theory, Prof. Dr. Koyuncu drew attention to his identity as a scientist as well as an artist.

ITU TMSC Director Prof. Dr. Ali Tüfekçi expressed his feelings with the words, “I am very proud and happy to be raised in the hands of my teacher since I was 10 years old,” and read the Senate Decision on the awarding of the honorary doctorate to Sayan.

“A sentimental title conferred by a 250-year-old university”

Our Rector Prof. Dr. Koyuncu presented his gown and diploma to Erol Sayan. Sayan, who was also presented with a gift, took part in a group photo with ITU TMSC faculty members. After thanking those who contributed to the preparation of the doctorate ceremony and the students, Sayan said the following: “An honorary doctorate is a purely sentimental title. However, it is a supreme title that can be used for a lifetime. Especially if it is given by the senate of a university with a history of 250 years... One does not know how to thank. Endless thanks. I would also like to thank and give my respects to all my guests who did not leave me alone on this joyous night.”

At the end of the ceremony, the ITU TMSC choir performed the song “Ömrümüzün Baharı Birlikte Geçsin (Let the Spring of Our Lives Pass Together)”, one of Erol Sayan’s works. After the performance, which received great applause from the audience, Erol Sayan did not turn down the audience’s request and joined his students on the stage. Erol Sayan took the microphone and sang “Hatırla (Remember)”, one of his works. The honorary doctorate ceremony ended with Erol Sayan greeting the participants and applause.

Who is Erol Sayan? 

Erol Sayan was born in Kastamonu in 1936. Since his childhood, he had a great interest in music and instruments and showed those around him that he had great artistic talent. In 1961, he succeeded in the examination of Ankara Radio and became the repertoire chief. In the same years, he gave lectures at the Technical Higher Teacher Training School for Boys. In 1967, he founded Türkiye’s second university choir at METU and focused on scientific studies on Turkish music. He raised many students at Istanbul Technical University TMSC since 1983. In 1985, he won the first place in the composition competition organized by TRT. In 2018, he was awarded the Presidential Culture and Arts Grand Award. He is the composer of more than 310 works, including many popular and well-known Turkish art music songs.

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