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Ali, Filiz

Ali, Filiz (b. September 30, 1937, Istanbul), pianist, musicologist, music critic and writer who won the Vehbi Koç Award for culture in 2011, together with the Ayvalık International Music Academy (AIMA) of which she was a founder.

The daughter of Aliye and Sabahattin Ali, one of the greatest authors of Turkish literature, Filiz Ali studied in the Ankara State Conservatory Piano Department, graduating from the class of Ferhunde Erkin in 1958. She went to the USA on a Fulbright scholarship to continue her musical education at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and the Mannes College of Music in New York. After receiving a Chevening Scholarship, she studied for a master’s degree at the Musicology Department of King’s College at London University (1985-86).
 She worked at the Ankara State Conservatory as piano and accompaniment lecturer (1962-65), the Istanbul City Opera and Istanbul State Opera as repetiteur (1965-72), and the Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory as piano and accompaniment teacher (1972-85). She became head of Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory Musicology Department in 1990, remaining in post there until her retirement in 2005. She later taught at Sabancı University.

Alongside her academic work, Filiz Ali also produced programs for TRT, including World Folk Songs, Piano Literature, Vocal Music and Jazz Today. She wrote on music for the newspapers Cumhuriyet, Hürriyet, Yeni Yüzyıl, Radikal and Milliyet. She was general arts manager at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall (1989-92) and has been musical advisor for the Eskişehir International Festival since 1995. In 1998, she founded the Ayvalık International Music Academy with the aim of providing master classes for conservatory level students from Turkey and abroad, giving talented young people the chance to work with renowned leading musicians from Europe and Turkey. 

She is a member of the Balkan Music Forum and Turkey's representative on the International Music Council and European Music Council. She has also written a number of books on music and musicians: Müzik ve Müziğimizin Sorunları (Music and the Problems of Our Music; 1987), Dünyadan ve Türkiye’den Müzisyen Portreleri (Portraits of Musicians from Turkey and the World; 1994), Cemal Reşit Rey Unutulmaz Marşın Büyük Bestecisi (Cemal Reşit Rey: The Great Composer of the Unforgettable Anthem, Ferhunde Erkin Tuşlar Arasında... (Ferhunde Erkin, Among the Keys; 2000), Elektronik Müziğin Öncüsü Bülent Arel (Bülent Arel: Electronic Music Pioneer; 2002), Mitos Diyarında Çağdaş Bir Müzik Odağı: Ayvalık’tan Bir Masterclass Öyküsü (A Modern Music Focus in the Land of Myths: Tale of a Masterclass from Ayvalık; 2008), Müzikli Geziler (Musical Travels; 2012). She has written two books about her father: Sabahattin Ali (1979), written together with Atilla Özkırımlı, followed by an expanded new edition, Sabahattin Ali; Anılar, İncelemeler, Eleştiriler (Sabahattin Ali; Memoirs, Studies, Criticisms, 2014) written with Atilla Özkırımlı and Sevengül Sönmez; and “Filiz Hiç Üzülmesin” Sabahattin Ali’nin Objektifinden, Kızı Filiz’in Gözünden Bir Yaşamöyküsü (“Filiz, Don’t be Sad” A Life-Story Written from the Objective of Sabahattin Ali in the Eyes of His Daughter Filiz; 1995). Filiz Ali’s memoirs, Yok Bi’şey, Acımadı ki… (It’s Nothing, It Didn’t Hurt…), were published in 2017.

In 1995, the French Ministry of Culture made Filiz Ali a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). In 2015, she received an Award of Honor at the 43rd Istanbul Music Festival, organized by The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), in appreciation of her work on polyphonic Western music.

Abadan Unat, Nermin

Political scientist who received the Vehbi Koç Award for education in 2012.