An Elegant Ritual [EPK]

EPK for the album entitled “An Elegant Ritual” – official release date July 16, 2021 on DÜNYA –

This trio album is modeled after the structure of a Sufi whirling (Mevlevi) dervish ritual (ayin), with influences from John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”.

A VICIOUS MURDER [expanded jazz orchestra with soloist]

According to some, Rumi composed some of the most beautiful mystical poetry ever written after the murder of Shams (his beloved teacher and friend) by the people of Konya who were jealous of their close relationship.

Composed by Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol

Performed by Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol & Whatsnext? featuring Dave Liebman and conducted by Ken Schaphorst

from “THE RISE UP: Stories of Strife, Struggle and Inspiration”

Video directed by Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, edited by Christo Tsiaras

A GENTLEMAN OF ISTANBUL [string orchestra with soloist]

Symphony for Strings, Percussion, Piano, Oud, Ney, and Tenor

  • I. Clocks and Bells of Vienna – Allegro
  • II. Death of Kaya Sultan – Jazz Ballad
  • III. Vegetarian Dervishes – Semai
  • IV. Alexander the Great – Devr-i Kebir and Vivace

Composed by Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol

Commissioned by A Far Cry
Performed by A Far Cry, Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol and George Lernis

Recorded at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain (September 22, 2018)

Harabat / The Intoxicated

Orchestra with soloist


Composed by Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol
Text: Edip Harabi (1853-1917)

Commissioned by Carnegie Hall / ACO
Performed by American Composers Orchestra
George Manahan, Music Director and Conductor
Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, Vocals and Ud

Recorded by American Composers Orchestra live on April 1, 2016 at Zankel Hall in the program Orchestra Underground: Eastern Wind –

TEDx Talk

“Embracing an Uncomfortable Globalism”

I grew up in Turkey playing classical and Jazz piano while championing Western ideals. However, all of what I thought to be true was defeated by a simple Turkish folk song 7 years after my arrival in the US, which sparked a curiosity that resulted in a decade long period of internalization of Turkish music, history and culture. From this decade, I feel that I came out as a composer who can ‘speak’ multiple musical languages by not reducing or standardizing but fully honoring them.


String Orchestra

Commissioned by A Far Cry string orchestra. Composed in 2012.

This recording features A Far Cry at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (September 9, 2012).


Chamber Ensemble

Composed for A Story of the City: Constantinople, Istanbul production (2008).

Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, piano, aulos
Eylem Başaldı, violin
Beth Bahia Cohen, violin
Peter Hanley, violin
Sam Dechenne, trumpet
Patriq Moody, trumpet
Bertram Lehmann, nekkare
Ekin Cengizkan, nekkare
Cem Mutlu, kös