MEHMET BİTMEZ Bitmez, Studied the Theory of Turkish Music from Neyzen Aka Gündüz Kutbay, Bekir Sıdkı Sezgin and Cinuçen Tanrıkorur. Bitmez, who is proclaimed as one of the world’s leading oud players, has analyzed Tanburi Cemil Bey’s concept of maqam and performance and thereupon carried out extensive researches on advanced techniques and styles of performance. Having researched the performances, styles and technical qualities of oud masters such as Şerif Muhiddin Targan, Udi Nevres Bey, Yorgo Bacanos and Cinuçen Tanrıkorur, Bitmez developed a style which is fundamentally based on classical and traditional elements. However, the bright sound he manages to bring out with the oud as well as his advanced technique made him able to develop his own personal style and establish himself among the master performers of this instrument. Bitmez has composed countless songs and instrumental pieces as well as having published extensively in the field of Musicology. Mehmet Bitmez has given dozens of concerts with musicians such as İhsan Özgen, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Kudsi Erguner, Shlomo Mintz, Cihat Aşkın, Yair Dalal and Erkan Oğur throughout the well known venues and concert halls around the World and participated as a performer in many important projects within international music festivals around the globe. Alongside his oud recitals, he has given workshops, seminars and conferences on the sound system of Turkish Music and on Maqam Music at academic conferences and organizations at the Universities and Music Institutes worldwide. Bitmez performed oud at the soundtrack of the film “İstanbul Kanatlarımın Altında(İstanbul Under My Wings” as well as initiating certain ideas for the composition of its sountrack. The soundtrack of this film was the first in its category to be published later as an album CD. He gave a concert at the Meeting of Ottoman and Flamenco Musical traditions in 2004 in Beirut where he also gave a seminar and a master class at the Conservatory of Beirut. In 2005, he represented Turkey at the “International Lute Meeting” in Athens with an Oud recital. In 2005, he gave concerts at Ramalla and East Jerusalem at the Palestine International Festival 2005. The same year, he gave a seminar at the Damascus Higher Institute of Music where he was appointed on official duty. He gave classes in the same institute on the Sound System of Turkish Music, Maqam Knowledge and on Oud followed by a concert at the renowned Opera Hall of Damascus. Throughout 2005-2006, he organized countless conferences and gave many concerts in memory of the great masters of our music in cooperation with the Cultural Department of the Municipality of İstanbul. These concerts commemorating the masters were named “The Instrument Virtuosos of Turkish Music” and were comprised of the concerts in memory of “Tanburi Cemil Bey, Yorgo Bacanos, Şerif Muhiddin Targan, Udi Nevres Bey” in due order. “Refik Fersan”, the great composer of Turkish Instrumental Music, was also commemorated as a part of these activities and his compositions were performed in a series of concerts. Bitmez performed his own Project “Güneşin Doğuşu”( The Rising of the Sun) in 2006 at Cemal Reşit Rey (CRR) Concert Hall. The same year he gave a concert called “From the IIIrd Selim to Tanburi Cemil Bey” with the İstanbul Sazkâr Ensemble. In 2006, he participated as a jury member at the First International Festival of Andalucian Music in Algeria and gave a concert as well. The artist performed the “Colours of Music” Project in 2007 with İstanbul Sazkâr Topluluğu again. The following year in 2008 , he produced his own Project “The Story of Three Ouds” which brings forth the different performance characteristics of Turks, Arabs and Greeks while being based on the very same musical system where he was accompanied by the Oud players Naseer Shamma from Egypt and Kyriakos Kalaitzides from Greece. In 2006, Bitmez organized and lead a conference in memory of the 90th anniversary of the death of “Tanburi Cemil Bey” followed by a concert of Cemil Bey’s compositions. In 2006, he carried out a 10 day long workshop of classes on Maqam in Turkish Music and thereupon Oud at the “Higher Institute of Damascus”. In June, 2009 he was invited as a Jury member to the “Academy of Arabic Music at the Holy Spirit University” in Beirut. There, he was the head of the jury for the “Best Oud Player Competition” for 18 to 30 years of age. The competition was followed by a workshop and an oud recital by him. In August 2009, he was invited to Damascus as a jury member by the Syrian Music Academy. This was the second stage of the former competition in Beirut, where international competitions in two categories for ages of 9 to 13 and 14 to 18 have been carried out for the “best Oud player”. The competition was followed by an Oud recital by Bitmez. His Project : “The Music of Writing” had been realized on the 31st of May 2010 at the Cemal Reşit Rey concert hall as a part of the activities of “İstanbul 2010 European Cultural Capital”. Between the 25th and 30th October 2010, he gave a seminar and three concerts in Bethlehem, Ramalla and Palestine as a part of Eastern Jerusalem Festival. In 2010, he produced a concert Project at CRR with Palestinian musicians bringing to the fore the years-long war, injustice and tragedy that Palestine has been subject to for many years. In 2010, he participated in Katar Doha Festival with his ensemble “İstanbul Sazkâr Topluluğu” giving several concerts. Between the 25th and 30th July 2011, he gave a conference and an Oud recital at the Baghdad International Music Forum. In May 2012, he gave the opening concert of the International Moroccan Tetouan Festival where Turkey had been invited as an honoured guest country of the festival. On the 25th January 2013 he gave a concert at Cemal Reşit Rey concert hall with the title of “Two Women Masters of Turkish Music”. In May 2012, he performed a concert, conference and workshop in Abu Dhabi, where he went on a special invitation to the music school "Beytul Ud" of the United Arab Emirates. 28 Mayıs 2012 tarihinde Uluslarası Fas Tetouan Festivaline Türkiyenin onur ülke olarak davet edildiği etkinlikte kendi topluluğu ile festivalin de açılış konserini gerçekleştirdi. In March 2015, he performed a workshop, Masterclass and a concert at the Qatar Music Academy, which is an invitation to the Member of Qatar Foundation affiliated with the Emirate of Qatar. He performed his project called "Canara Ensemble" which Tunustan invited and his group "Istanbul Sazkar Topluluğu" and "Rising Sounds of Nature" on 30 March 2015 in the concert hall of Cemal Reşit Rey. In the project, Tunusian woman Meherzia Touil, Turkey's Bekir Ünlüataer took place. He participated in the International I. Ud festival held between March 12th and 22nd, 2017 in Qatar's Qatari district and performed a Ud recital. He has been guest on many TV channels and radio programs. He participated in the International II. Ud festival held between March 12th and 22nd, 2017 in Qatar's Qatari district and performed an opening concert with the band. He has been guest on many TV channels and radio programs.On the other hand directed the conference on Al Farabi With the project "FarabiZiryab" on March 26, 2017, he organized a concert in Cemal Reşit Rey with his own band "Istanbul Sazkar Group", a group of Andalusian Flamenco, Baghdad Ziryab communities in Spain and Greece. The artist participated as a studio performer in countless albums in different genres of music. The projects he has carried out with Bekir Sıdkı Sezgin, Kudsi Erguner and İhsan Özgen are some examples of this. Bitmez also won the “Favorite Song of the Year, Audience Award” in the competitions organized by the newspaper Milliyet, with his song Seni Sordum Yıldızlara in bayati maqam in 1990 and with Ömrümü Çalan Yıllar in hüseyni maqam in 1995. Throughout 2004-2007 and 2009-2011 he had been the head of BİSED (The Committee of the Organization of Scientific and Artistic Activities) and he has worked as the Head of the Department of Mızraplı(plucked) Instruments for many years at ITU State Conservatory of Turkish Music. Bitmez, plays lavta, tambur and cümbüş as well as oud.