WSCM2020, July 11-18 2020, Auckland New Zealand

Burak Onur Erdem


Country: Turkey

This presentation will provide both theoretical and interactive exploration into microtonal singing and its ability to change the universe we are creating through the choral artform.

Combinations of microtonal intervals, called makam in Turkish, are traditionally built on combinations tetrachords and pentachords, and more than 500 scales in total allow expression of much finer musical nuances. Microtones provide choirs with a rich canvas and at the dawn of the 21st century, it’s time to come to a microtonal consensus.

Burak Onur Erdem studied music theory and conducting in Istanbul Technical University Centre for Advanced Studies in Music. He worked on form and theory with Michael Ellison, advanced harmony with Adam Roberts, early music with Paul Whitehead and singing with Lynn Trepel. He has refined his choral conducting skills in masterclasses with Johannes Prinz, Maria Guinand, Volker Hempfling, Anders Eby, Denes Szabo and Michael Gohl. Prior to his musical studies, he gained a political science and international relations degree from Boğaziçi University.

Erdem founded the Choral Culture Association in Istanbul as a platform for Turkish choral music to innovate and develop. He serves the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat as a board member and member of the music commission. He was awarded ‘The Best Young Conductor’s Prize’ at the 38th International Varna Choral Competition.

Burak founded the chamber choir Rezonans in Istanbul in 2010 and was conductor of the Istanbul European Choir from 2013-2016. He has been working with the Turkish State Choir since 2013 and has been appointed its principal conductor in 2017.

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