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About Renan Koen

She started her studies in music with the flute in 1979, when the conductor of the Amherst College Choir discovered her talent during his stay in İstanbul for the International Music Festival. She started studying piano in 1983 with the composer Ali Darmar, and the “State Artist” Ayşegül Sarıca. Meanwhile, she received her secondary school degree from the flute studio of “Nazım Acar” at Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory.

Between 1985 and 1986, she furthered her studies in piano in Paris with Germaine Mounier. In 1990-1991 she continued her studies in London with the pedagogue Maria Curcio and her assistant Mark Swartzentruber.

1995 brought her prizes in various competitions. She received the fourth prize in the “Chopin Etudes” competition hosted by Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory. She was awarded the second prize for her interpretation of a Cemal Reşit Rey composition entitled “Improvisation” in the competition held in honor of the composer. In that same year, she graduated from the piano studio of Judith Uluğ at Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory.

While continuing her career as a pianist, she developed an intense interest in the authentic melodies of both Anatolia and various musics of the world. In order to enrich these melodies further with a touch of the West, she worked on composition and electro-composition techniques with Dr. Pieter Snapper and studied composition theory and jazz harmony with Reuben de Lautour.

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The artist who believes deeply in the bonding power and healing mission of music completed the Art et Qualite de Vie – L’art en Prevention Therapie et Pedagogie” program, certified by the European Music Therapy Federation under the tutelage of psychologist-pedagogue and music therapist Lianna Polychroniadou Prinou. The same year she became the first female Turkish member of “La Societe Hellenique du Musicotherapie et Expression Creative“ Federation.

As she started to specialize more in music-therapy, Koen was able to develop her own unique music-therapy method. Thanks to her training both as a music-therapist and a composer Koen was able to trace the ways in which “the sound bank” of and individual (collection of sound memorabilia) affects the ways he perceives life. This method was found so promising in the field of music-therapy in Europe that she was invited as a speaker to many World Music-Therapy congresses in Greece, Portugal and Austria.

Renan Koen took voice lessons from Soprano Ece Idil between 2012-2013 and has been working Assistant Prof. Şebnem Ünal (Soprano) ever since.Between 1993-2009 Renan Koen conducted research on her project “Musical Interactions in World Music” with soprano Sebnem Unal which culminated in the Turkish premier of the 13 Spanish Folksongs of Federico Garcia Lorca. Between 2003-2009 the duo joined forces with other distinguished musicians to form their chamber music ensemble “Melodias Epicas” and worked together on their project called “Simultaneous Impressions”.

Renan Koen has actively been involved in many projects including her curatorship (2008-2009) for the contemporary music festival Yeno Ceno organized by Galata Perform which has lately started including contemporary art in its portfolio.

In addition to her chamber music performances, Renan Koen plays as a soloist both in recitals and orchestra concerts.

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In 2008, Koen released her solo piano album Köprüler/Bridges” with the Taxim Edition/Universal Record label. In 2014 came her second album which centers around the story of her own family. The album is composed of her own compositions inspired by authentic Sephardic folk songs of the Aegean, Middle-East, Anatolia ;and Synagogue hymns. In this album, Koen’s contribution extended also to playing the piano-armonium and singing the soprano part.

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Lost Traces, Hidden Memories

In this album entitled “Lost Traces, Hidden Memories” Koen collaborated with many eminent musicians such as Sasha Rozhdestvensky (violin), Sedef Ercetin (cello), Elif Kantarci (viola), Derya Turkan (kemanche), Ozer Özel (yaylı/mizrapli tanbur), Ertan Tekin (Duduk), Mehmet Akatay (percussions) and Kemal Akdogan (Tenor). The album was released by Kalan Music Productions.

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Holocaust Remebrance/Before Sleep

Renan Koen’s 3. album has released in Novermber 24, 2015 which same day with installtion of Theresienstadt Concentration Camp (in November 24 1941) by Kalan Müzik. This project, “Holocaust Remebrance/Before Sleep (composed of cd+dvd+booklet)”, documents the research conducted by Renan Koen into the life-stories, ideals and works of composers who continued to create notwithstanding the prohibitions imposed on them while being imprisoned in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp during the Second World War.

In addition to outstanding samples of their works for piano and chorus, about which information is provided in the booklet, enthusiasts can also lend an ear to real-life stories from the war and interviews with survivors’ families. We extend our thanks and appreciation to the Quincentennial Foundation, Anadolu Kültür, the Kariyo&Ababay Foundation and Dr. Erol Hakanoğlu for their generous support.

World Ort Music and the Holocaust website has quoted Renan Koen’s 3. Album “Holocaust Rememberance/Before Sleep” and included it in their citation list. This treasured website features extensive research both on the music, composers and Performers of the Holocaust period; and also other special topics such as Politics&Propaganda, Resistance&Exile, Answers&Memory. It is one of the many valuable creations of World ORT (www.ort.org), an organization reputable for promoting the importance of education worldwide, and shares in their “Education for Life” motto.