100th Anniversary of “Winter Garden” Program
Dec 16, 2015

With the 100th release the “Winter Garden” program has left behind many seasons. ITU Radio listeners have been enjoying the meticulously selected musical compositions for 2 years.

“Winter Garden” occupies a very special place on ITU Radio, because it is prepared by a photographer Ali Arif Ersen, who is confined to bed due to his illness and a lecturer of the ITU Faculty of Computer Engineering and Informatics H. Turgut Uyar. The 100th “Winter Garden” program broadcast last Sunday was as usual recorded at the house of Ali Arif Ersen.

Ali Arif Ersen evinde

Music Composed From Letters

The program is prepared letter by letter after a long preparatory work by Ali Arif Ersen and Turgut Uyar. Ali Arif Ersen, who has had a locked-in syndrome for 11 years, produces sentences with a letter table placed in front of him. During the process Ali Arif Ersen uses glass frames without lenses, a laser pointer, a letter-figure table and a table of frequently used words. As the laser light moves from one letter to another the produced texts are voiced. Every new word or idea is produced by pointing the light at the same letter twice.

Ersen chooses the track that will be played. Uyar composes the songs and prepares the voicing of the program. Uyar also writes down the tracks chosen by Ersen and the notes the photographer wants to emphasize in the “Winter Garden Journal”. The jourmal contains information about the tracks, their names, the album names, the number of tracks to be played and their list.

“We play a brunch of various tracks”
The friendship of Ersen and Uyar dates back the 1980s when they were ITU students.
Ersen, who prepared illustrations for the two books by Tomris Uyar and the book titled “Güzel Yazı Defteri” (“Fine Writing Book”), was introduced to Uyar by Uyar’s mother, Tomris Uyar, and their mutual friend Memet Baydur. During these 30 years of friendship Ersen and Uyar made collages of various musical tracks including film soundtracks and jazz. For the last few years the two friends have been working on minor musical and photography projects meeting at weekends.

In autumn 2013 Ersen, who is interested not only in drawing and photography but also in jazz, offered Uyar to create a jazz program to be broadcast on ITU Radio. Uyar, in his turn, forwarded the idea to the radio administration which supported it. The first program was broadcast on the first Sunday of 2014.

Ersen summarizes the concept of the program by saying “We play a brunch of various tracks that come to our mind after a long Saturday night. In short, we create our own jazz improvisations.”