Colors of Turkey

Festival Program

Concerts and Performances

Folk inspired classical guitar


First appearance in Boston

"This is a great virtuoso who will dazzle audiences 
for years to come."
     Benjamin Verdery, Chair of Guitar Department, Yale University
Frequently collaborating with other composers, award-winning guitarist/composer Mesut Özgen haslong been a strong advocate of new music for guitar. His eclectic tastes, rooted predominantly in traditional and folk musics of the world, have inspired composers to combine avant-garde compositional techniques with traditional tunes and rythms. His own compositions are mainly based on or influenced by traditional Turkish music. Composers who have written solo, concerto, and various ensemble music for Özgen include Anthony Gilbert, Pablo Ortiz, Benjamin Verdery, Deepak Ram, Christopher Pratorius, Robert Strizich, Charles Nichols, Paul Nauert, Yalçin Tura, and David Cope. 


                            CONCERT PROGRAM
Sunday, November 13, 2005 at 7:00pm
Tower Auditorium, Tower Building
Massachusetts College of Art
621 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Located at the corner of Longwood Ave. & Huntington Ave. Accessible by Green Line E train (Longwood stop) or by #39 bus.




CD Reviews:
Guitar Review (New York)
"a shining example of this guitarist's great talent."
Acoustic Guitar (California)
“Özgen’s playing is stunningly versatile and expressive throughout.”
Acoustic Player Magazine (Texas)
"an exceptional talent who breathes freshness into every piece he plays."
Soundboard (Guitar Foundation of America)
"Özgen delivers performances that are forceful and convincing even when the music is dauntingly difficult."
Classical Guitar (England)
"a highly accomplished and exciting player; he gets the most out of the music he performs... The phrasing is immaculate and his technical capabilities are considerable."








Mesut Özgen has performed and taught master classes throughout the United States, Spain, and Turkey and has been on the guitar faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz since 1998. He was the first guitarist to be awarded the "Dean's Prize", which is the highest honorary prize of the Yale School of Music. He began playing guitar in 1981 while pursuing his study at the School of Medicine. During his seven years of medical practice, as a self-taught guitarist, he also played concerts and taught guitar at the Gazi University School of Music Education and the Hacettepe University in his native Turkey. After his two performances in the International Paco Peńa Guitar Festival in Cordoba, Spain in 1989 and 1990, he was invited to the U.S. by Benjamin Verdery to study with him at Yale University, School of Music. Özgen completed both his Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma at Yale. Later, he studied with Professor Frank Koonce in the doctoral program at Arizona State University, and worked as his teaching assistant between 1994 and 1998. He performed in master classes for many notable guitarists, such as John Williams, David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, and Leo Brouwer. He has also studied early music on guitar, lute, and Baroque guitar with Jaap Schroeder, Rosalyn Tureck, John Metz, and Robert Spencer. 
Besides teaching, Özgen has been giving solo recitals regularly, writing solo, duo, and ensemble music for guitar and other instruments. His solo CD Troubadour was released in 2004.
Özgen has also a long-standing interest in bringing classical guitar music to wider audiences. His staged performances include "Folkie Classical Guitar", presenting classical music based on American, Spanish, Turkish, Greek, and Argentinean folk cultures, with special stage design and costumes, as well as "Pick and Roll" for guitar ensemble by Ben Verdery, featuring a basketball player in dialogue with the ensemble and utilizing spatial elements in the hall.