Sema Vakf Collection of Turkish Classical Music

One of the largest collections of Turkish music in the world, devoted to the preservation and perpetuation of classical Turkish music.

The Sema Vakf Collection is one of the largest collections of Turkish music in the world. It consists of:

  • more than 1,000 audio and video field and commercial recordings
  • more than 9,000 written musical notations
  • 300 books and dissertations
  • musical instruments collected by the Turkish-American connoisseur of Ottoman classical music Altan Güzey

The collection includes the entire private archive of Ismâil Baha Sürelsan, a Turkish composer and ethnomusicologist who has devoted more than 60 years to performing Turkish classical music.

Among the other treasures of the collection are recordings of the singer Allâeddin Yavaşça's mesk, musical lessons held on Sunday afternoons at his home once a month. Some of Yavaşça's own transcriptions of musical works form part of the collection.

There are also numerous performances by such accomplished artists as Meral Uğurlu, Mes'ûd Cemil, Bekir Sitki, Reha Sağbaş, and Selmâ Sağbaş.

This vakf, or trust, is named for the art of listening (sema), specifically the engaged listening of the connoisseur to wonderful music. Altan Güzey established it for the preservation and perpetuation of classical Turkish music, particularly repertories of court music composed before 1850.

Accessing These Materials

The Sema Vakf Collection is searchable in HOLLIS.


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