For more than 50 years, Jordi Savall--one of the most versatile musical personalities of
his generation--has rescued musical gems from the obscurity of neglect and oblivion and
given them back for all to enjoy. A tireless researcher of early music, he interprets and
performs the repertory both as a gambist and as a conductor. His activities as a concert
performer, teacher, researcher, and creator of new musical and cultural projects have made
him a leading figure in the revival of historical music. Together with his wife Montserrat
Figueras (1942-2011), he founded the ensembles Hespèrion XXI (1974), La Capella Reial de
Catalunya (1987), and Le Concert des Nations (1989). Across all ensembles, he explores and
creates a world of emotion and beauty shared with millions of early music enthusiasts
around the world.
Mr. Savall has recorded and released more than 230 albums covering the Medieval,
Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical styles, while giving special focus to the Iberian and
Mediterranean musical heritage. His work has merited many distinctions, including the Midem
Classical Award, International Classical Music Award, and multiple Grammy Awards. His
concert programs use music as a form of mediation to achieve understanding and peace
between different--and sometimes conflicting--peoples and cultures. Accordingly, guest
artists appearing with his ensembles include Arab, Israeli, Turkish, Greek, Armenian,
Afghan, Mexican, and Native American musicians. In 2008, Mr. Savall was appointed European
Union Ambassador for intercultural dialogue and, together with Ms. Figueras, was named an
Artist for Peace as part of the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador program.
Jordi Savall's prolific musical career has brought him the highest national and
international distinctions, including honorary doctorates from universities in Évora
(Portugal), Barcelona (Catalonia), Louvain (Belgium), and Basel (Switzerland), the title of
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (France), the Praetorius Music Prize awarded by the
Ministry of Culture and Science of Lower Saxony, the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of
Catalonia, and the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize.
Yurdal Tokcan is regarded as one of the finest oud players in the world today. He combines
older traditions with many new stylistic innovations, which also appear in his performances
on the fretless guitar. His new compositions combine traditional, rich melodies with
polyphonic textures performed on Turkish classical instruments.
Mr. Tokcan is a graduate of the Istanbul Technical University's Turkish Music
Conservatory. While completing his master's program, he joined the faculty as an oud
instructor. He continues to teach, sharing his knowledge, experience, and technique with
Turkish and foreign students.
In 1990, Mr. Tokcan joined the Istanbul State Classical Turkish Music Ensemble under the
artistic direction of Necdet Yaşar. He performs with the Istanbul Fasil Ensemble and the
Istanbul Tasavvuf Music Ensemble, and is a founding member of the Istanbul Sazendeleri, a
group dedicated to presenting Turkish instrumental music.
As a soloist, Mr. Tokcan performed in the Netherlands with the Amsterdam Percussion Group
and Chamber Orchestra, and with the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra in Turkey, the United
Kingdom, France, Germany, and Belgium. He joined percussionist Burhan Öçal, kanun
player Göksel Baktagir, kemençe player Selim Güler, and ney player Arif
Erdebil in concert: The recording from that performance won awards as the best world music
recording of 1998 in France. Mr. Tokcan has played in many ensembles led by virtuoso
ney player Kudsi Erguner, both in Turkey and abroad. He has also performed in
Israel with the group Baharat. Recently, Mr. Tokcan has been recording and performing with
the Ladino artist Hadass Pal-Yarden from Israel. Mr. Tokcan's work can also be heard on
Bende Can, an album of his original compositions.
Dimitri Psonis began his musical studies in Athens. He specialized in musical analysis,
harmony, counterpoint, Byzantine music, and Greek musical instruments such as the
santur, oud, tzurás, and tambura. He moved to Madrid,
where he obtained a degree in percussion and musical pedagogy from the Real Conservatorio
Superior de Música. He also studied at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and has
collaborated with many different ensembles.
Mr. Psonis founded the groups Krusta, Acroma, and P'An-Ku; has accompanied numerous
singers and instrumentalists like Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Maria del Mar Bonet, Eliseo Parra,
and Javier Paxariño; and in the last several years, devoted himself to the study and
interpretation of Ottoman Classical music, as well as popular music of Greece and
Mr. Psonis also has made numerous recordings and appeared on film soundtracks and theater
works. In 1997, he founded the ensemble Metamorphosis, which has performed at the acclaimed
music festivals in Spain. His collaborations with early music ensembles include the likes
of Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Speculum Musicae, Mudéjar, and Hespèrion XXI.
Hakan Güngör was born in Turkey in 1973. He received his first music lessons from his
father, oud player Ali Osman Güngör, and his first kanun lessons from
In 1990, Mr. Güngör studied at the Gazi University in Ankara, and then in 1992, he
transferred to the composition department at the Istanbul Technical University's
Turkish Music Conservatory. Over the course of six years, he studied with such prominent
musicians and professors as Yavuz Özüstün, Nail Yavuzoglu, Emin Sabitoglu, Mutlu Torun,
Selahattin İçli, Ruhi Ayangil, and Erol Deran. His coursework covered solfège,
composition, harmony and counterpoint, techniques of kanun, European classical
music, and Turkish classical music.
His melodic style, rich sound, and clear and tender plucking on the kanun
make him unique among virtuosos of the instrument. Since the 1993, he has collaborated with
such world-famous musicians as Kudsi Erguner, Jordi Savall, Yo-Yo Ma, Renaud Garcia-Fons,
Fazil Say, and Okay Temiz.
Besides giving concerts, Mr. Güngör teaches at Haliç University in Istanbul, and he
works at Istanbul Radio House as a kanun player. He also produces and presents the
widely enjoyed show Muzik Deyince for the TRT Music Channel of the Turkish
Radio and Television Corporation.
Born in 1985, Haïg Sarikouyoumdjian began playing the doudouk (Armenian oboe) at
the age of 13. He has studied with numerous teachers in Armenia, where he learned both
instrumental technique with all its dexterity as well as the traditional repertoire with
its subtleties of melody, intonation, rhythm, ornamentation, and development of harmonic
Until 2004, Mr. Sarikouyoumdjian performed with an Armenian traditional ensemble, led by
Gaguik Mouradian, whose approach to music profoundly influenced him. He works now on
various projects, including with the ensemble Medjlis, which brings together Armenian
music, jazz, and contemporary music. In 2009, he started to collaborate with Jordi Savall
and Hespèrion XXI. With them, he has participated in different projects, performing around