In Conversation: Understanding Jewish Turkey
Speakers: Lori Şen, Moris Şen, Linet Şaul, and Moris Şaul
Recorded on August 12, 2021; Recording included below
Links and Resources Shared During the Program:
You can view the book, People of the Book: The Forgotten History of Islam and the West here.
You can watch many of our past presentations here.
Once the most religiously diverse empire in Europe and Asia, the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922) was intermittently a major power in three continents at once–Europe, Asia, and Africa. Moreover, it was a cultural force with its multicultural population, including Muslims, Jews, Arabs, Kurds, Greeks, Armenians, and other ethnic minorities. When the Ottoman Empire still had land in the Balkans, their Jewish population was approximately 200,000. This number decreased after the Balkan territories were lost and gradually more as Jews migrated from Turkey after the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923.
In this event, we will explore the Jewish life in Turkey in recent history and today. The JMM is pleased to host a panel discussion with a few members of the Turkish Jewish community including Lori Şen, Moris Şen, Linet Şaul, and Moris Şaul.
This program will also stream live on our Facebook page here.
About our Speakers:
Turkish mezzo-soprano Lori Şen is known for her versatility in many vocal genres, including opera, art song, musical theatre, and jazz, as well as for her teaching and research interests in vocal literature, voice pedagogy, and voice science. Dr. Şen is a leading expert of the Sephardic Art Song genre that comprises Western classical settings and arrangements of thetraditional Sephardic folk literature. She has presented at various conferences and has performed in Turkey, Europe, and the United States. She currently teaches as a Lecturer of Voice Pedagogy at the University of Maryland School of Music and Adjunct Voice Faculty at the Peabody Preparatory of the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Moris Şen is an eminent medical doctor in Izmir, Turkey, with degrees from Ege University Faculty of Medicine. A polyglot and a voracious reader with an appetite for history and science, Dr. Şen is acknowledged for his knowledge of the Jewish history, as well as for his many delightful Izmir Jewish community stories that often involve historical events.
Born in Izmir in 1966, Moris Şaul attended Bornova Anadolu Highschool and graduated from Bogazici University Civil Engineering Department. After getting an MBA degree from the University of Pittsburgh, he worked for a US multinational company for 9 years, living in the US, Uruguay and South Africa. Since coming back to his home country Turkey in 1997, he has been working in his own business. He teaches mindfulness meditation and courses that involve the application of meditation to professional and business life beside his professional activities.
Soprano Linet Şaul was born in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from Hartt School of Music of University of Hartford in Connecticut, USA in 1995. In the same year, after being a finalist in the Leyla Gencer International Singing Competition, she sang in her first opera in Istanbul as Adina in L ‘Elisir d’Amore of Donizetti. Saul has pursued her vocal studies for a long period with the Italian baritone Licinio Montefusco.
Linet Saul has sung several solo roles in operas at the Izmir State Opera since 1998, and has given several concerts in Europe, including with the group ‘Suonatori della Gioiosa Marca’ in Italy and Nurnberg Festival in Germany.
As a member of Izmir Barok group, Linet Saul has been singing baroque music with the only performers of this kind with period instruments. Apart from many concerts in Turkey, she sang in concerts in Italy and Germany with this group, including concerts with countertenor Robin Blaze and soprano Emma Krikby. In 2013, the group published their first CD of Ottoman and European music in the baroque era. In 2015, she started a series of concerts called “Shakespeare and Music” with Diego Leceric (lute), Bülent Oral (Viola da gamba) and an actor reciting from Shakespeare’s plays.
Linet Saul prepared her PhD thesis on application of Sephardic folk music to classical forms and has been performing her native Sephardic music for many years internationally, with concerts in Turkey, Europe, and South America. Linet Saul has also been teaching voice and singing diction since 2007 at the Dokuz Eylül University, State Conservatory in Izmir, Turkey, and currently holds an Associate Professor and Head of Opera Department position at the university.