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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

                                                                              The Armory
                                                                        529 West 42nd Street
                                                                        New York City 10036
                                                                           Tel: 212-967-2213 
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

                                                            Marmara Üniversitesi
                                                          Atatürk Eğitim Fakültesi
                                                  Müzik Öğretmenliği  Anabilim Dalı
                                                                   Öğretim Üyesi
                                                               İstanbul - Türkiye


Jess McIntosh

Jess McIntosh

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


Jason McInnes

Jason McInnes

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

John Huber

John Huber

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

Allan Dennis



Allan Dennis

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!


                                                                     Allan Dennis
                                                       Founder and Executive Director
                                                   Midwest Young Artists Conservatory

Gökbey Uluç.jpg

Gökbey Uluç

Gökbey Uluç

Türk Dili Derneğiniñ üyelerinden olan Umut Deniz Topçuoğlu, Türk damgalarını, başka bir déyişle Göktürkçe harfleri günümüze uyarlama çalışmalarında öñcü olan arkadaşlarımızdandır.


Bu çalışmalarını müzikle ilişkilendirerek kayıt altına alması, özellikle de ağız kopuzuna getirdiği yéñilikler ve tanımlarla kendisinden gelecekte de söz éttirecektir. 

                                                            Gökbey Uluç
, Faculty Member
                                                               Türk Dili Derneği Başkanı
                                                                      İstanbul - Türkiye

İ.H. Mirici

Prof. Dr. İsmail Hakkı Mirici

Umut Deniz Topçuoğlu'nu 2018 yılında Chicago'daki başarılı çalışmaları sırasında tanıdım. 2019 yılında da Dekan olarak görev yaptığım Yakın Doğu Üniversitesi Atatürk Eğitim Fakültesinde Müzik Eğitimi programında Yüksek Lisans çalışmaları sırasında genç bir akademisyen olarak yeteneklerine tanık oldum.


Gerek yeteneği ve gerekse genç yaşındaki akademik birikimi sayesinde gelecekte uluslararası camiada kabul gören bir müzik insanı olacağından eminim. 

                                                             Prof. Dr. İsmail Hakkı Mirici

                                                                   Hacettepe Üniversitesi

                                                                        Eğitim Fakültesi

                                                            Yabancı Diller Eğitimi Bölümü

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