İlhan Mimaroğlu


I’ve no particular desire to delve into the depths of history. Among the centuries that I've never lived, just one of them strikes my attention extensively. And that’s not in the depths of history yet; it’s within this century. Its first years are the "beautiful epoch” of 20th century— known as la belle époque. That is; from the beginnings of the century till the first war. The era that lasted till 1914. I’d love to hang around for awhile in the Europe— especially in France— of this epoch that begins in the last years of the 19th century and lasts till the first war; both, in terms of lifestyle in general, and of art, especially in the music field, for being the epoch of great progresses. And at the end of this hanging around period, I’d know whether I’d like to stay there or not, yet- except this one- among the years I’ve lived, there are some important phases that’d never ever exchange for any epoch of whole history. First and foremost: 1930’s Turkey. Not only the epoch, the place is essential, too.

Güngör Mimaroğlu - June, 2018


If İlhan Bey had lived, he could have made one more film, or composed music, or written an art book. Because he was a thinker, and also thinkers wouldn’t stop, especially in a city like New York. Till his last breath, wouldn’t stop. I’d like to write about the years I’ve lived in New York, too; I’d like to write about the years I’ve spent with Ilhan. Cause the years I’ve spent with Ilhan were like a school to me. I doubt whether my energy would be enough. I don’t know, but I’d love to do these.

Janis Siegel - March, 2018 New York


It was next to İlhan's office, and İlhan's office (laughs) was completely dark. It was completely dark and spooky, and full of smoke. And he would be constantly smoking like these unfiltered cigarettes. I was probably smoking at that time too, so… I would go and visit him and he was sitting in the office and he would make coffee. It was like the pre-Starbucks days. It wasn’t that easy to get a good cup of coffee, but he opened a drawer in his desk and he would have a little espresso maker in there. So we would smoke cigarettes and drink coffee and listen to Edgard Varèse in the dark, or Mingus or something like that. So, he was a big part of education, my musical education.

Manfred Borrmann - March, 2018 New York


An incredibly witty genius. He is knowledgeable in music, literature, every branch of arts and in politics. He is someone who never hides his opinions and he is a very close friend. Also, Güngör, his wife, is one of my closest friends. That's it, to summarize.

Suzanne Ciani - March, 2018 USA


(On İlhan Mimaroğlu) He was a very quiet person, but had a lot of thought going on. You knew when you were with him that… And he had a sense of humor, you know, sometimes he would say nothing but he would have this kind of, you know, amused look, and we, we had fun. I mean, I would go to Atlantic Records and sometimes we would just hang out in the hallway, because we both like to smoke Lucky Strike cigarettes… I gave up smoking, of course we all did. But in those days it was okay.

Arthur Fournier - April, 2018 New York


So Bill reached out and sent me a copy of the New York Times obituary for Mimaroğlu. I read it and I thought, "Well this man sounds amazing.” It seems like he had a career that touched so many different places and in the culture of music, and I kind of became captivated by the mystery of Mimaroğlu at that time.

Beyhan Karahan - April, 2018 New York


He liked the Village and he liked my house there. It was small but cute. Later on, I moved here and he liked the acoustics of this house. In fact, İlhan said "Come here and I will play John Coltrane's music for you." He sat still, without moving. Here, he listened to the same song again and again.

Ilhan Usmanbaş - August, 2018 Istanbul


Bülent Arel's perspective on electronic music is very different from İlhan's view of electronic music. Yes. There are little shops downtown in New York and there are gadgets, Bülent is such a virtuoso that he got all of them, one by one, and managed to make the cheapest technology center of the university. Think of a man like that. For someone who has constitionally understood İlhan's music is like another language of electronic music. It is a must to speak that language for someone like that. That's where İlhan's curiousity stems from.

Ayşegül Durakoğlu - January, 2019 New York


Güngör's respect for İlhan was on a different level. Before introducing him to someone, she would always prepare him. She would try to explain things that İlhan did not like. That is how she would always protect İlhan. İlhan and Güngör adressed each other using the formal "you"...They would bicker but they wouldn't quarrel, they never said, or did anything that would upset one of them.

Bobby Warner - January, 2019 New York


He was a good guy. Really good guy… İlhan always used to walk around with a camera and he would take pictures all over the city, on his way to the studio, on his way home, wherever he was he had his camera with him and the last time I saw him was at the Arif's memorial and I had approach I said "Oh are you  still taking pictures?”, and at that point he just he said "No. I'm not taking pictures anymore.” So that was one of those things we were talking about it was that period of time, that he was his health was declining…

David Toop - January, 2019 London


But I think the music is very cinematic, and when I first heard this piece Agony as a teenager, I was making films myself then and I was… My main activities I suppose were: playing music, going out to hear music, going to galleries, and going to films, you know. So I was completely immersed in all of the work that was happening in these different media in the 1960s, and I sensed the same kind of dynamism I suppose in his music that I could see in films.

Erdem Helvacıoğlu - January, 2019 New York


Apart from electronic music composing, İlhan Mimaroğlu was a film-maker. Like other electronic music composers, he was interested in film. Since the deifinition of electronic music is "the cinema for the ear". His documentary The Question is very important because he talks to America's and the world's most famous composers.

Hilmi Bitim - January, 2019 New York


(On Güngör's activist identity) The reason she was drawn to this struggle culture was because the end result is something concrete...The primary goal of activists is to protest, to affect something, to cause something to reach a positive conclusion. It is what activists want. That's why she was also going out into the streets, meeting people that made life more lively.

Joe Mardin - January, 2019 New York


(On İlhan Mimaroğlu) He wasn't somebody that I was afraid of… As a kid in the studio, there were some people that you might be afraid of. But I was never afraid of him. But he was definitely in his own… He was doing his own projects, he had his own… What he was doing was very different than what everybody else was doing in Atlantic Records at that time.

Julie Mardin - January, 2019 New York


I was too young to really take full advantage of his genius, but he was definitely one of the mad scientists kind of wandering around in the Atlantic family and in my parents’ world. There was one story that comes to mind is, when my dad Arif  Mardin did an album, a very experimental piece called Forms. He would like to come home at night and play his music and what he was working on. He would play this and I was... I don't know, younger than 8 probably maybe 5 or 6. No, 10. Oh, okay. I'm not sure. But I was  young enough to be afraid. I would come out and say: "Oh please. I can't sleep!”

Mehmet Dede - January, 2019 New York


I think İlhan was very Zen-like. He would live in the moment and he would do what he wanted to do that moment and he did not lose this freedom throughout his life. That's why he was never interested in fame or money. When you come to think of it, you see someone who was very intellectual and complete and I asked myself the same question. How come someone who has done so much, who can look at life differently, someone creative and rebel spirited is not famous yet?

Rüstem Batur - January, 2019


For us music started with the Beatles, their records first would arrive. We would meet up with whoever got the record and listen. For example, the first Beatles we got was Sgt. Peppers. I think it came to my house. We would meet up as a whole neighbourhood and it would be completely Western music. We were never interested in Turkish music. But that was our community... After that, thanks to İlhan, at a young age I started being interested in Jazz. Maybe I was 16 or 17. It continued throughout university. İlhan was the producer of people like Modern Jazz Quartet and Charles Mingus, for example. As far as I know, Charles Mingus is a cranky man. He especially wanted to work with İlhan, he was a fond of İlhan's knowledge of music. I would go to the studio to take pictures  and I also took photos of Mingus. İlhan made the pictures I took the record picture.

Serdar İlhan - January, 2019 New York


Ilhan Bey, dearly admired Rüstem Batum. He considered Rüstem as overly talented, smart; he enjoyed his works a lot. I’ve never heard a word about Rüstem from Ilhan Bey. You’d hear many negative comments, coming from Ilhan Bey, on people like Mozart, Miles Davis. But he was in great harmony with and compassionate about everyday people, even though he didn’t seem to be. For instance, they’d say he wasn’t fond of children; he loved them actually. Depending on the child, his attitude would change.

Seth Cluett - January, 2019 New York


You can see the mind in Mimaroğlu’s work and you can see the body in Bülent Arel’s work. You can sense the hand of the composer in Arel and you can hear the thoughts of Mimaroğlu while he's working.

Yunus Tuncel - January, 2019 New York


I’ve been to most of the parties that Güngör Hanım organised. In those parties, I remember only a few Americans or foreigners. In her circle, most of Güngör Hanım’s friends were from Turkey, including me. Why it was so? Hard to tell… I don’t know about İlhan hodja’s independent circles. In the circles I’ve been to, people were mostly Turkish. Why so— I don’t know really; also, Güngör Hanım was a cosmopolite person, too… People would come from Turkey as well; artists, writers, musicians… They’d invite us too; it was like that in the instance of Aziz Nesin. I’ve no doubt that she had American friends, as well. Though, if you ask their names right now, I can’t tell.

Serra Akkaya - March, 2019 İstanbul


As İlhan Mimaroğlu goes to Galatasaray, he takes the ferry from Moda, goes to school, and he’d return in the late afternoon. Each and every week, he’d definitely buy a record with his pocket money. In one instance, the record he bought was expansive, I guess, and he told me: " I bummed at the ferry port, sir”. "Someone gave me the money, I took the ferry with it, arrived so” he said. He, as a young boy, did this…

Armağan Ekici - April, 2019 İstanbul


Not everyone could take what he said. There’d be people, too, who would get mad at something about him, his words, and dismiss him. I take all like this: these people, they were the representatives of a generation, they were brought up with the idea of a great progress, revolution, and renewal. They applied these ideas and perhaps they realised the impossibility, and witnessed the world moving towards another direction; nonetheless in between they left traces of this adventure and these traces’d still have much to tell us!

Balkan Naci İslimyeli - April, 2019 İstanbul


Ilhan Bey was a tactless man, but he had a warm heart within his tactlessness. He’d express this with his manners, not with his words. Would provoke curiosity, too, he’d evoke a charm on his own self. When you meet him, it’s rather like running into a wall.

Evin İlyasoğlu - April, 2019 İstanbul


In 1968, as a special guest of French Radio, he conducts research in the studios of music research center. This, too, leads to the selection of Ilhan Bey. As a person selected by America, he goes to France, which is an up-and- coming instance, and at the beginning of the 1970s in teacher’s college of Columbia University, he begins to teach music. Now, he goes into electronic music on his own; puts up with it, crams it in, evolves within it and begins to educate the new generations. That’s to say, I’ve doubts that if Ilhan Bey’s teaching is well-known as much.

Halim Tansuğ - April, 2019 İstanbul


To me an instant that represents Ilhan Mimaroğlu the best, which I’d never ever forget, is his performance in the evening of Nazım Hikmet’s commemoration. When he read his works, I guess he read one of his poems, he makes a voiceover there. With his body language, his voice… You’d have an utterly hard time in hearing his voice in other times. He doesn’t talk loudly. At the stage, he made such a high sound; we were all wondering whether he’s still the same man. There, you’d realise; he is completely an artist, in deed. I don’t know if there are other people like him. Maybe, if he were at a stage as an actor, perhaps he’d have been a successful actor, too.

Kerem Görsev - April, 2019 İstanbul


When I met Ilhan Mimaroğlu, he told me something: "Kerem”, he said, "for me, Jazz is over since 1967”. "After the death of John Coltrane in 67s, it was over” he continued. Deep down, we should not solely consider Ilhan Mimaroğlu as a jazz musician or a jazz producer. Ilhan Mimaroğlu was capable of everything. Ilhan Mimaroğlu writes, draws, discusses on cinema; he is a very important figure in the upbringing of electric music to different places and approaches in the world, as well… Yet, he produced highly significant productions by Atlantic Records; such as, with Ornate Coleman and Freddie Hubbard.

Zeynep Oral - April, 2019 İstanbul


To me, above all, Ilhan Mimaroğlu is a wiseman. Some people have wisdom like this that derives from the earth of Anatolia’s ancient civilisations; to me İlhan Mimaroğlu is just like that. As a musicologist, as a writer, as a person, as a thinker, as a producer, as a filmmaker, as an intellectual; he has added infinite qualities to that wise personality of his.

Alper Maral - May, 2019 İstanbul


It should be emphasised that Ilhan Mimaroğlu’s instrument is the studio itself. Without a hardware, or a visual interface like a computer to reach music, unfortunately it was not possible for Ilhan Mimaroğlu— one of the leading doyens of classical studio techniques — to make flesh and blood, live electronic music that he made all at once.

İdil Biret - May, 2019 İstanbul


As for Session— Session is piece that Ilhan Bey composed for me. It was never to be performed live in a concert, though. Nonetheless, it was a piece to be played in a record player and to be played only once. The most crucial thing (in this piece) is the contract that I read. I had quite jolly moments, in order to read the contract. In the presence of Ilhan Bey and Güngör Hanım, I read this contract in English. I have a heavy French ascent in my English, while I learnt it in France… In any way, in the end I read contact comprehensibly, and my record was produced like this. It was a unique job. And the things he said, are still valid in today’s world, unfortunately; while, as you’d know, music is so much driven towards commercial mentality.

Meral Güneyman - Mayıs, 2019 New York


In my view, Ilhan Bey’d feel some parallelism between himself and Chopin; for Chopin’s lyricism, on one hand his romanticism and on the other his suffering, his world view… Although İlhan Bey was a follower of electronic music, some of the melodies he composed were so close to Chopin’s. Listen, let me give you an example. Imagine a melody like this (he plays the piano). Now, this was composed by İlhan Bey. There are constantly Chopin melodies here. Don’t you think so?

Muammer Yanmaz - May, 2019 İstanbul


I stayed in New York for a month, and within a month I had the chance to photograph 40 people. As it was in Paris, everyone picked a subway station and in this project I met with İlhan Mimaroğlu. First, we went to his office and had a conversation. İlhan Mimaroğlu wasn’t very talkative as a person… I began to shoot his photographs, at first I took his everyday glances, but I was expecting him to show some unique aspects of his personality. In our previous project in Paris, there was a Komet photograph, in which his hands were covering his face. I’m not so sure if that was the trigger, but all of a sudden he, too, covered his face with his hands. I saw that it turned out to be a quite powerful image and I expressed this to him, too.

Selen Akçalı - May, 2019 İstanbul


The New York phase of the 40 Stations Project actually started in January, 2004. By then the Paris phase was already produced and New York was very crucial for us… Not only to us but for all Turkish community in New York, Güngör Hanım was such a name: "honorary ambassador”, she was called like that. She was like the head of the community; backing up and organising for everyone. Was a very cheerful person also, Güngör Hanım. She approached to us with the same warmth, too. In fact, as we were the outsiders all the time, everyone was welcoming and treating us like a host. In the same way, Güngör Hanım greeted us extremely warmly.

Street art fotoğrafları dışında fotoğrafçı yönü pek bilinmeyen İlhan Mimaroğlu'nun gözünden şehirler, insanlar ve mekanlar...