CiH traveled to Turkey in 2007 in a project generously underwritten by the Turkish Cultural Center (which also coordinated the project) and the McGraw-Hill Companies. In Istanbul, they performed outreach concerts at various psychiatric hospitals and collaborated with the Dünya Renkleri Korosu to present a highly successful benefit concert for the renowned humanitarian organization Kimse Yok Mu. They also traveled to Konya, where the whirling dervish ceremony originated as a result of the teachings of Mevlana Celaluddin Rumi over 700 years ago. During the ceremony, the dervishes turn around and around as a symbol of their unity with creation, while the musicians play ecstatic Sufi music on oud, ney, kanun, and drums. While in Konya, CiH musicians shattered an ancient historical barrier by becoming the first women ever to join male musicians in accompanying the ceremony in Konya.
In 2015, as part of our 10th anniversary celebration, the Passacaglia Project, we worked with Klasik Keyifler to help children from Cappadocia create a passacaglia celebrating their culture. Haber has this article in Turkish about the Passacaglia’s premiere.
Many people helped the children create the passacaglia: from the USA, CiH Executive Director William Harvey (violin) and KK student Esther Um (cello); from Turkey, KK guest artist Eren Can Yıldız (bağlama) and students Ceren Türkmenoğlu & Naz Altınel (violins); and from Afghanistan, Ahmad Samim Zafar (rubab), Sheraz Azizi (clarinet), Hamidullah Amiri (tabla), and Iqbal Hasefi (tanbur), all of whom study at Afghanistan National Institute of Music, where William taught from 2010 to 2014.
William also taught and performed extensively during the two weeks of Klasik Keyifler’s music festival in Cappadocia. Afghan & Turkish instrumentalists and the KK Strings played his arrangement of the Afghan folk song “Arghawan,” and he joined with other festival guest artists to play Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence.
Thank you to Ellen Jewett and Hüsam Suleymangil of Klasik Keyifler for their unstinting encouragement and support.