Who is Oruç Güvenç?
Worldwide known musician, music and movement threapist, ethnomusicologist, psychologist, sociologist, Sufi master Rahmi Oruç Güvenç was born in 1948, in Tavşanlı, Kütahya, as the second son of Urkiye and Kamil Güvenç. He has an elder brother named Yaşar, and a younger one named Nejat.
His musical career began with a dream he had at the age of 12 and he took violin lessons from Fethi Bey in middle school. During university years, he learned ud, rebab, ney and tanbur.
In 1975, he founded TUMATA (Group for the Research and Promotion of Turkish Music) and throughout his life, he worked on Music Therapy, History of Turkish music and Sufism, in Turkey and abroad.
His two daughters Süyümbike and Kanıkey were born in 1987 and 1989. After that, he continued his work and travels with his second wife Azize Andrea Güvenç, who is an ergo-therapist and author. She has been continuing giving seminars and workshops in Europe and in Turkey.
On July 5, 2017, due to a heart attack following an operation, he passed on to eternal life, leaving behind a very valuable legacy, the work he did for the Turkish and human history.
HIS EDUCATION LIFE AND WORKS
After studying in Kütahya High school, he completed his degree at Istanbul University, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Literature, writing a philosophy book entitled “The Beloved of Allah – Hz. Mevlana”. In the meantime, he continued studying music and learnt ud, rebab, ney and tanbur.
Following the degree on Philosophy, he obtained his doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine researching music therapy with the supervisor Prof. Dr. Ayhan Songar and became the only expert in this subject. Then he founded the ‘Centre for Research and Application of Turkish Music’ at Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine.
In the same period, he wrote a book named “The History of Turkish Music and Turkish Therapy Music”.
He was promoted to the position of assistant professor of Ethnomusicology by the Inter-university Council. After the retirement of Prof. Dr. Ayhan Songar, he became lecturer at the ‘Unit for Research and Promotion of Turkish Music’ at the Turkic Research Institute, Marmara University. He retired from this post.
Between 1991-1996, Dr. Oruç Güvenç managed “Department of Music Ethnology, Research and Therapy” in Istanbul University. All this work became possible thanks to Prof. Dr. İnci Engin, especially with the presence and support of Prof. Dr. Ömer Faruk Batırel in Marmara University, and Prof. Dr. Ayhan Songar in Istanbul University.
In 1975, he founded TUMATA (Group for the Research and Promotion of Turkish Music). In this group, the origins and the healing qualities of Traditional Central Asian music are researched, as well as the study, documentation and performance of Traditional Central Asian music, instruments, costumes, stage decors and patterns. In his studies, Oruç Güvenç aimed at researching these materials in social, cultural, pedagogical, therapeutic and spiritual senses.
Also, many of the forgotten instruments have been remade from horsehair, coconut, wood and various animal skins, based on their original versions and miniature paintings.
With all this work, a Research group was founded, including musicians, dancers and singers who enlivened and began using the historical materials as it is mentioned in the description of ancient methods. The collection of more than 400 musical instruments from Central Asia and Anatolia can be seen in TUMATA centre (Otağ Music Centre) in Istanbul.
At the same time, he trained many students in the Traditional Music Therapy courses he did in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and Belgium. Many of the graduates have stilll been working in medical, pedagogical and rehabilitation foundations and institutions and applying this knowledge in practice.
Dr. Guvenc has contributed to the organisation of three music therapy and ethnomusicology symposia and two ethnomusicology music festivals, arranged by joint venture with Istanbul University, the Rosenau School for Traditional Oriental Music Therapy in Austria and the University of Vienna, taking an active role in the theory and therapeutic application of Traditional Oriental Music.
He was awarded a honorary professorship by the Uzbek Science Delegation of Fergana University in 1992. In the same year, he received an honorary award from Academia de las Naciones in Argentine.
He represented Turkey in the Association for Dynamic Psychiatry (WADP), which is based in Munich. In 1993, Boston Massachusetts University, USA honoured him with a Certificate of Gratitude and Accomplishment.
In 1996, he won the ‘Extraordinary Achievement Award’ in the field of music research from Motif Folklore Education Association.
TUMATA group, under the leadership of Dr. Rahmi Oruc Guvenc received the 3rd prize at the ‘Friendship Song Festival’ in Neftekamsk, Bashkurtistan (Russia) in 1998, between 24-28 February.
In 2004, he was given the Service for Turkic World Award by TURKSAV. In 2016, he received the “Turkic World Red Apple Award”.
A pilot project about theraphy with Turkish music was started at Marmara university, in collaboration with the Rosenau School for Traditional Oriental Music Therapy in Austria and Munich university, the Academy of Music. Besides, he gave trainings on Music and Movement Therapy in Berlin and Mennheimm in Germany, Zurich in Switzerland, and Barcelona and Madrid in Spain.
He worked as a coordinator in the branches of Ergo-therapy and Music theraphy, for the regulation work of General Directorate of Complementary Medicine Regulations, held by Ministry of Health.
Since 2003, he organized 5 “Bridge of Friendship Festivals”, 10 “From Heart to Medicine-From Medicine to Heart Symposiums for Future”, 12 “Sound of Light” concerts in 5 countries and 4 “rebab tour concerts” with 35 rebabs joined.
Besides his studies in Turkey and abroad, he gave music and movement theraphy lessons at Uskudar University, in the Department of Ergotherapy and tried to convey his knowledge to Turkey’s youth.
He was also the consultant of the Instrument Museums (Kırşehir Neset Ertas Museum and The Centre of Science, Culture and Art in Turkic World in Eskisehir) which were recently opened in Turkey. As well as providing instruments, he did studies in order to demonstrate the playing techniques of each one with sample videos.
THE SEMA EVENTS HE ORGANISED
He organized and fulfilled the 3-5-7-9-16-40-66-99 ve 114 days and nights “nonstop Sema” events in different parts of the world. On July 5, 2017, on the 66th day of the last 114 day Sema, he passed away and reunited with Allah.
Past Sema Events:
In 1998, at a seminar held in Switzerland this subject was discussed and upon the request of the participants a 3 days and 3 nights sema similar to the ones at the time of His Holiness Mevlana was organized in Switzerland. At the aforementioned event sema continued unintermittantly for 3 days and nights, only the semazens were changed; the music also did not stop and only the musicians changed.
Since the 3 days and nights sema carried out in Switzerland pleased everyone, it became a cornerstone for similar activities elsewhere. After this long sema many sema organizations were organized in Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Austria and Spain. The number and the duration of sema organizations performed in these countries are as follows:
- 31 times 3 days and nights
- 5 times 5 days and nights
- 7 times 7 days and nights
- once 9 days and nights
- once 16 days and nights
- 3 times 40 days and nights once
- 66 days and nights once
- 99 days and nights
- once 114 days and nights
Many articles, TV programs and documentaries relating to his work have been published and broadcasted in national and international press and media coverages.
He prepared a 13 parts series of program titled “Hidden Side of Our Music” for a local TV channel.
During his doctorate years in Clinical Psychology at Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, he wrote a book entitled “The History of Turkish Music and Turkish Therapy Music”.
He is author of two books, one on music therapy and a monograph “The Beloved of Allah – Hazret Mevlana”, available in English and Turkish.
He also has another book, which he wrote with his wife Azize Andrea Güvenç in German, entitled ‘Hey Reisender!’ (‘Hey Traveller’).
His discography covers works in classical Turkish music and Sufi music with his own lyrics and compositions. He has created a tonality (makam) called Tarz-i Vefa and composed a saz semai and a pesrev (prelude) in this tonality.
With TUMATA group, he recorded lots of Tonality (makam) CDs on Turkish music.
The release of the album covering his own compositions named ‘Those Who Come on their own’ is among the projects to be completed soon.
Note: There is an intention for turning his house in Uskudar, Istanbul where he lived for long years into a museum. We kindly ask those who are willing to help with this process to contact us.