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Queens College Launches "Year of Turkey" Cultural Odyssey on September 21 With a Free Musical Performance and Reception

--Events Planned Through June 2012 Will Explore the Past, Present and Future of Turkey Through Its Politics, Society, Economy, As Well As Its Art, Music, and Dance--

FLUSHING, NY, September 12, 2011–Dedicated to embracing and understanding the complexity and vitality of our increasingly interconnected world, Queens College administrators decided to focus each year on examining the history, art and culture of a different country. The program launched in fall 2010 with the Year of China, and continues this fall with the Year of Turkey: Exploring Past, Present, Future. Events will include lectures and seminars by renowned scholars, as well as exhibitions, art installations, and music and dance performances. Year of Turkey will be followed by Years of India, Brazil and South Africa.

Innovative work being done by Queens College students and faculty in Turkey—archaeological excavation, seismological research, studies of the region’s literature, and analyses of politics and religion—will also be presented. The year will culminate in a trip next spring that will help members of the QC community gain direct understanding of Turkey and lay the groundwork for possible future collaborations.

In spring 2009, a group of faculty and administrators visited Turkey, meeting with community and academic leaders. “Wherever I went I could feel the energy and confidence of a people who have a long, rich history to look back at, but who also have the confidence of a young nation that knows great things lie ahead for it,” says Queens College President James Muyskens.

Turkish-born violinist Selim Giray will open the Year of Turkey on Wednesday, September 21, at 3:30 pm in LeFrak Concert Hall with a performance that offers a rare view of traditional Turkish culture as interpreted by major composers. Giray, concertmaster and assistant conductor of the Ohio Light Opera and music director and conductor of the Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra, will appear with soloist, chamber musician and pianist Gulimina Mahamuti. The program will feature music by several of the most notable Turkish composers of the 20th century, such as Adnan Saygun, referred to as the “Turkish Bartok” for his inclusion of national folk elements in his works. Reception to follow.

Year of Turkey Currently Scheduled Events (free unless otherwise indicated)

October 5 - December 16, 2011

Exhibit: Turkey in the Queens College Art Library: Documents of Visual Culture.

Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library | Multiple locations | Library Hours

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lecture-Performance: Raymond Erickson, Professor Emeritus, Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music, will present an illustrated lecture, Turks and Turkish Influence in Bach’s World, followed by a performance of Bach’s Coffee Cantata under the direction of Drora Pershing, Professor Emeritus, Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music.

Music Building, Room 226 | 12:15 pm

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Windows Into Turkey Lecture: Lawrence Kaye, Esq., an expert in international art litigation and repatriation, will discuss his work assisting the Republic of Turkey preserve and claim its cultural heritage, the importance of that heritage to Turkey and the world, and the international problem of antiquities looting.

Campbell Dome | 12:15 pm

Monday, November 14, 2011

Windows Into Turkey Lecture: Stephen Kinzer, a former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief and author of the acclaimed book Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds, will speak about the sudden emergence of Turkey as an ambitious and hyper-active regional power, how this happened, and what it may mean for the Middle East, the United States, and the global balance of power.

Campbell Dome | 12:15 pm

November 19 - January 19, 2012

Exhibit: Ceramic Materials and Material Culture

Curated by Sin-ying Ho, organized by the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College. An exhibition of selected contemporary ceramic artists who draw inspiration from the culture and history of Turkey and its surroundings.

Flushing Town Hall | 137-35 Northern Boulevard. Suggested admission: $5; members free.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Windows Into Turkey Lecture: Dr. William B. F. Ryan of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University has investigated the connection between the Mediterranean and the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea at approximately 8,000 years ago, when the Black Sea was isolated from the world’s oceans and was a freshwater lake. He will speak on "The prehistory of the Black Sea and the interaction between climate and humans."
Campbell Dome | 12:15 pm.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Performance: Influx: Turkish Contemporary Dance

Choreographers/dancers Mustafa Kaplan, Ayse Orhon and Filiz Sizlani. Traveling from Istanbul, the choreographers/dancers create compelling work that challenges perceptions of dance.

Goldstein Theatre | 8 pm.

March 9 - April 30, 2012

Exhibit: Interwoven Worlds: Domestic and Nomadic Life in Turkey

Organized by the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College. Interlacing the rich aesthetics and significance of Turkic peoples across space and time, the exhibition highlights the carpets and textiles for which the Turks are celebrated.

Flushing Town Hall | 137-35 Northern Boulevard. Suggested admission: $5; members free.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Windows Into Turkey Lecture: Jaklin Kornfilt, professor of linguistics at Syracuse University, will address Turkish: How a Language Migrated from Central Asia to the Mediterranean. Kornfilt specializes in syntactic theory and Turkish and Turkic linguistics.

Campbell Dome | 12:15 pm.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Windows Into Turkey Lecture: Talât S. Halman, who served as the first Minister of Culture of the Turkish Republic and is currently professor and chairman of the Department of Turkish Literature at Bilkent University, will lecture on City of Cities: Byzantium–Constantinople—Istanbul. He will explore the fascinating legends, historical episodes, poetry, architectural splendor and artistic creativity of the “Queen City.”

Campbell Dome | 12:15 pm

April 11–14 & 18–21, 2012

Play: For Rent, by acclaimed Turkish playwright Ozen Yula, explores the criminal underworld of modern-day Istanbul through the desperate lives of the young people who flock there.  

Tickets: $12; $10 for senior citizens and students with ID.

LaGuardia Performing Arts Center | Long Island City.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Concert: Turkish-born pianist Zeynep Ucbascaran. Ucbascaran, who has given many recitals and concerts throughout the world, has been praised for her “consummate mastery . . . an art of crystalline clarity.” (Music & Vision).

LeFrak Concert Hall | 2 pm

May 2–June 29, 2012

Exhibit: Amulets, Nazars & Evil Eyes: Artists Looking Forward. Contemporary artists, writers, and musicians explore the Turkish evil eye and find commonality within their own culture.
Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library | 6th Floor |
Art Center Hours

For more information on upcoming Year of Turkey events, visit For a campus map, visit:

For directions to campus, visit:

Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY), founded in 1937, is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Its more than 20,000 students come from over 150 nations and speak scores of languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment. Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. Each year Queens College has been cited by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. In addition, U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges (2011) ranks QC among the top 10 public universities in its category “Best Universities—Master’s (North).” The college opened its first residence hall in August 2009. More info on Queens College at


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