My solo piano album, recorded in the summer of 2017 at Roy Barnett Recital Hall at the UBC School of Music, is now streaming globally on all streaming channels (Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, CDBaby – with liner notes, and iTunes, among others). It’s called Filled with Peace (a bit of a play on the meaning of my name, which means ‘peace’ in Turkish) and is a set of original jazz improvisation pieces. For those of you who may have not known my musical background, I’ve written an artist’s profile to give some history.
Many of the pieces on the album are inspired by the natural beauty, peace and tranquility of West Coast British Columbia, Canada, specifically the beaches and forests surrounding the University of British Columbia (Acadia Beach, Pacific Spirit Regional Park, UBC Botanical Gardens). I’m hoping that the album transfers the feelings you get when you go to these places as well as moments of joy, calm, spiritual reflection, gratitude and wonder; these were the source emotions of the album.
The overall shape of the album is an arc going from a feeling of gratitude, joy and remembrance to a more somber and spiritually reflective mood. The album culminates in two longer, meditative pieces inspired by the sanctuary of botanical gardens and the peace induced by gently rolling waves on a West Coast beach.
Here are some notes on each of the pieces:
1. Crystal Joy
I composed Crystal Joy in 2011 and dedicated it to my brother Martin and his wife Melanie on their wedding day. Both of them are incredibly talented, visionary painters.
2. Lourdes: In Memoriam
I wrote this piece in 2012 for the memorial service of Lourdes Gonzalez, my wife’s mother, who was an amazing woman of courage, determination, hard work and talent. We miss her spirit dearly.
This is for my wife, Ana, the love of my life and my better half, who completes me in so many ways.She loves 80’s music so there is a subtle nod to Queen at the end.
I named this piece from my daughter’s middle name, Crysalis. The idea of this name is a cluster of consonants that emerges into a playful, flowering melodies.
This is for my son, who loves viral YouTube songs like “It’s Raining Tacos”. This is a bit of a variation on that tune.
6. Acadia Beach
Acadia Beach is my absolute favourite spot in Vancouver for spiritual reflection and prayer.
7. Hommage à Ludovico
I love Ludovico Einaudi’s work and he is an inspiration for my journey in music.
I had never seen such amazing Magnolia blossoms until I came to Vancouver, where they are everywhere in spring. This motif was originally part of a documentary on mental health, so it’s reflective. Planning to turn this into a full EDM track coming soon!
9. through a glass, darkly
This is a piano excerpt from my chamber music piece from 1996 by the same name, first performed at the Ottawa National Art Gallery. In the original piece, the ending is for piano solo over drum and bass, inspired by the Keith Jarrett trio. I wanted to resurrect the piano solo for this album.
10. Love: the most excellent way
This piece is based, word for word coinciding with the melody, on the chapter on love in 1st Corinthians 13, possibly the most eloquent statement on the centrality of love in this life, in my humble opinion.
11. The Sanctuary
There is a beautiful space at the University of British Columbia Botanical Gardens in spring where the birds and flowers create this very calming and peaceful atmosphere.
12. Filled with Peace
This piece was inspired by the rolling waves at Acadia Beach, Vancouver and the feeling you get when you stare out at the north shore and look up at the distant mountains.