TİYATRO YÖNETMENİ NEIL S. FLECKMAN
As an American theatre director and producer who works in Turkey and Moldova, I know Umut Deniz Topcuoglu and his abilities well. He is a true renaissance man, with profound talents as a composer and performer.
I have engaged Umut Deniz to create music for my theatre plays in Istanbul, and in Chisinau. These include, "Waiting for Godot", "Strangers on a Train", "Desire Under the Elms", and a Shakespeare collage. His compositions have brought an aura of emotional atmosphere and dramatic tension to these productions.
As a musician, he is a highly accomplished performer on Turkish ethnic instruments, the mouth harp, reed flute, and skin drum. Umut Deniz is also comfortable as a musical pedagogue, skillful in teaching both young people and adults.
I am honored to write this reference for such a gifted young artist.
Neil S. Fleckman
529 West 42nd Street
New York City 10036
PROF. DR. ÖZCAN ÖZBEK
Umut Deniz Topçuoğlu'nu 2008 yılından beri tanırım. Kendisi müziğe istidadı olan bir gençtir. Piyano çalışmalarının yanı sıra beste çalışmaları ve müzik üzerine ilginç araştırma ve buluşlarıyla dikkatimi çeken çok kıymetli bir gençtir.
İleride yaptıklarıyla adından söz ettireceğini düşünüyorum ve kendisine bu yürümekte olduğu yolda başarılarının devamını diliyorum.
Prof. Dr. Özcan Özbek
Atatürk Eğitim Fakültesi
Müzik Öğretmenliği Anabilim Dalı
İstanbul - Türkiye
OLD TOWN SCHOOL OF FOLK MUSIC - CHICAGO
Absolutely, yes. I wanted to hear so much more of Deniz' music after our short Saturday Jam workshop! He also left me a copy of the score for the symphony he composed. His solo work and the sacred ceremonial pieces he shared were a great example of the vastness of his talent.
Very honored to have experienced his art!
Jess McIntosh, Faculty Member
Old Town School of Folk Music Chicago - USA
Thank you to Umut Deniz Topcuoglu for visiting us at the Saturday Open Jam Old Town School Of Folk Music a few weeks ago. He gave us a wonderful presentation of drumming, mouth harp, throat singing and flute music from Turkey.
Thank you, Deniz! We were all very inspired by your music.
Jason McInnes, Faculty Member
Old Town School of Folk Music
Chicago - USA
Deniz is a very captivating performer and educator. He is doing some very cool stuff and would be an excellent addition to Square Roots.
Reach out if you have any questions.
John Huber, Faculty Member
Old Town School of Folk Music
Chicago - USA
MIDWEST YOUNG ARTISTS CONSERVATORY
Dear Sir or Madam,
I have had the opportunity to work with Mr. Umut Deniz Topcuoglu in the
performance of his music at the Turkish Ambassador’s office in Chicago on
August 23, 2018 with rehearsals immediately preceding the concert and
consultations starting in December of 2017. Members of the Midwest Young
Artists Conservatory (MYAC) Orchestra and Chamber Music Programs prepared and performed five of his works.
The largest and most complex of them was “Symphonic Poem Altay
(Bortechine)”, a work for Piano, Flute, Oboe, Viola, Cello, drum and a
Turkish mouth harp. It was a most interesting work with major “cadenzas”
for drum and the mouth harp. Mr. Topcuoglu is a virtuoso on the instrument
and created many interesting and truly creative sounds from the simple
instrument. The work was also very well received by the quite large audience
as was evidenced by the standing ovation. I believe this work deserves more
performances as the chamber version, which we did, and as a full orchestra
work, which I have seen a video of a rehearsal from Turkey.
Mr. Topcuoglu’s talents were also on display in his work “First and Last
Breath”, a work for Ney (Turkish reed flute), flute, oboe, viola and cello.
Again, a work that displayed the colors of his native Turkey were utilized in
this work and his Ney playing was outstanding.
The concert began with a short work reminiscent of Johann Sebastian Bach
titled “Little Fugue”. This work might be considered a practice in the style of fugal writing for Mr. Topcuoglu.
His “Lament” was a beautiful movement featuring viola and piano. It highlighted the colors of the viola, sounds that must be in his ear all the time because they were also obvious in many of his other works. This work should be performed by violists on a regular basis as it represents well the singing character of the viola.
With dramatic pauses and huge dynamic contrasts, “Rebellion” was a work
for solo piano and was extremely well performed. Like “Lament” for violists, “Rebellion” for pianists deserves more performances.
The collaboration among Mr. Topcuoglu, Neil Fleckman, an American supporter of
his works, MYAC students, and MYAC conductors Martin Nocedal and myself was
wonderful. I was somewhat hesitant when we first talked because I have had
less than musical and social experiences with other young composers who have approached me and MYAC ensembles to do their work but this was totally different.
Most importantly, the music in Mr. Topcuoglu’s mind and his works are very creative, interesting and, quite frankly, fun to play while being somewhat challenging at the same time. I truly believe he has great potential as a composer, as well as being a virtuoso on the Ney! I recommend you get to know his music!
Founder and Executive Director
Midwest Young Artists Conservatory