Erol Parlak Receives the Presidential Award for Publicizing Anatolia’s Culture to The World
Nov 02, 2016

Prof. Erol Parlak, the chair of the Department of Vocal Performance at ITU Turkish Music Conservatory has received The Presidential Culture and Arts Award for his musical contributions to publicizing Anatolia’s rich cultural heritage and unifying spirit.


Prof. Parlak is a distinguished baglama virtuoso (a traditional Turkish folk music instrument) who has systematized the şelpe technique, also known as fingerpicking. Parlak’s musical style, reflecting the multicultural character of Anatolia, experiments with new techniques while remaining loyal to the essence of Anatolian culture and tradition. Prof. Parlak has also made a valuable academic contribution to Turkey’s folk music memory by writing a voluminous book entitled “Garip Bülbül Neşet Ertaş”, dedicated to Neşet Ertaş, the great master of Anatolian folk music. The two-volume book is the outcome of a 16-year work and can be called as the most extensive academic work on Neşet Ertaş. While the first volume of the book largely deals with the biography of the celebrated Turkish folk music composer, the second volume includes extensive information on the determinants of Ertaş’s artistic outlook, his techniques, and narrative and nuances in his music.


In addition to being a baglama virtuoso and a prolific academic, Prof. Parlak is a baglama instructor relying on both apprenticeship method and contemporary teacher-student interaction. Through his baglama classes and lectures, Parlak has taught how to play baglama to students from various parts of the world.

Prof. Parlak will receive his award in The Presidential Culture and Arts Award ceremony, the date of which will be announced later.


About Prof. Erol Parlak

Born in 1964 in Eleskirt, Prof. Parlak graduated from ITU Turkish Music Conservatory in 1986. Carrying out fieldwork in various parts of Anatolia for ten years, Parlak listened to around 1000 folk melodies, and drawing on his field research in Anatolia he continued his studies on baglama playing techniques and saz and vocal characteristics. Prof. Parlak publicized the cultural heritage of Anatolia by performing a concert with the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra, and later, concerts at the Berlin and Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra Halls. He also gave a solo concert in one of the world's major ethnic music halls, the Theatre de la Ville in Paris. Throughout his music career, Parlak made 8 solo, 3 instrumental, and 9 mixed albums. He wrote five books (in Turkish), which are Introduction to Fingerpicking Baglama Methods, Şelpe Technique 1-2, Erol Parlak Bağlama School, A Systematic Guide to Fingerpicking Technique (Şelpe), and his latest book “Garip Bülbül Neşet Ertaş”. Granted associate professorship in 2008 and professorship in 2014, Parlak is continuing his academic career as the chair of the Department of Vocal Performance.