“Yunus Emre Oratorio” at the Music Center at Strathmore in Rockville, Maryland

Saygun’s “Yunus Emre Oratorio” Excites
and Moves U.S. and Turkic Audiences

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kelsey King

Washington, D.C. May 1, 2012—On Wednesday, April 25, a powerful partnership of the TURKSOY Symphony Orchestra and the U.S.-based Jonathan Griffith Singers brought to life Ahmed Adnan Saygun’s magnum opus “Yunus Emre Oratorio” at the Music Center at Strathmore in Rockville, Maryland. More than 600 attendees experienced the oratorio’s message of divine love and human destiny. Audience members from all parts of the Turkic world demonstrated both the breadth of the Turkic experience and the shared connection among Turkic peoples.

One Azerbaijani audience member confessed that the concert moved her to tears, and several American concertgoers thanked organizers for this dramatic and engaging introduction to Turkic culture.

As the performance came to an end, Executive Director Diana Cohen Altman expressed the following:

“The Karabakh Foundation is proud to play a leading role for the second year in presenting a TURKSOY performance to Washington, D.C.-area audiences. Audiences clearly appreciated the way the spirituality of the 13th-century Turkish poet Yunus Emre and the Turkish modes and folk melodies used by composer Ahmed Adnun Saygun came together. A sense of Turkic pride was very much in the air at the Music Center at Strathmore, where just a glance yielded glimpses of Turkic peoples from many parts of the East. I myself had had little exposure to Yunus Emre or to Saygun’s music, but I’m struck by what a wonderful portal it is into experiencing Turkic culture. Bravo to TURKSOY and to the Jonathan Griffith Singers–a wonderful example of the United States and a Turkic group uniting in cultural diplomacy!”

In honor of the “Symphony of Voices from Turkic Lands” concert, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray and County Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland, Isiah Leggett issued the Karabakh Foundation and TURKSOY certificates of appreciation. Mayor Gray and County Executive Leggett commended both organizations for their collaboration, which represents a partnership between the Turkic and American peoples, and noted that for two consecutive years, the Karabakh Foundation and TURKSOY concert programs have spread Turkic heritage and engaged Turkic and other communities across the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

About the Karabakh Foundation

The Karabakh Foundation is a U.S. 501(c)(3) cultural charity foundation based in Washington, D.C., that seeks to increase awareness and understanding in the United States of the cultural heritage and traditions of the country of Azerbaijan, the Caucasus area, and the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. While coalescing significant artistic and scholarly talent, the Foundation is

nurturing a new generation of artists and scholars toward important accomplishments. The Foundation serves as a dynamic facilitator and clearinghouse raising the public profile of Azerbaijan, its Karabakh region, and the Caucasus region in general. Main activities include preserving and disseminating cultural content via archival collecting, public programs, publications, exhibitions, speaking forums, international collaborations, scholarly exchange, artistic sponsorship, and related venues. Foundation support comes primarily from Khazar University, the first private university in Azerbaijan and one of the country’s leading institutions of higher learning. Support also comes from the U.S.-based Allaverdy Foundation. Additional information about the Karabakh Foundation may be found at www.KarabakhFoundation.org.


Turkish American TV is the proud Karabakh Foundation media sponsor of TURKSOY Presents: Symphony of Voices from Turkic Lands.

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