The Secret Trio

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Tamer Pinarbasi: The art of playing the kanun, a trapezoidal zither used in the Middle-East, has reached new heights with the current generation. Improvements in construction and tone, increasingly accurate mandal (moveable bridge) systems, and innovative new techniques have dramatically expanded the instrument’s impact on music. No player has had as much influence on this revolution of kanun playing as Tamer Pinarbasi. Born in Turkey, Tamer began his kanun lessons at the age of 10, appeared in the film “Haci Arif Bey” at 11, performed with Necdet Yasar at 12, and made his first of hundreds of recordings at 13, with top Turkish artists such as Orhan Gencebay, İbrahim Tatlıses, and Sibel Can. Rather than study standard kanun technique, he followed the style established by a Western style kanun virtuoso, Ferid Alnar who was the first Turkish composer to write a concerto for kanun and orchestra by incorporating chords on the kanun. Expanding Alnar's technique, Tamer attended the Istanbul Technical University State Conservatory of Turkish Music where he developed his unique approach of playing with all ten fingers instead of the traditional method of using plectrums (mızrap) on the two pointer fingers. This technique, as well as his knowledge of both the eastern modal (makam) system and western harmony, paved the way for him becoming one of the world’s greatest kanun virtuosos.

After years of musical training and thousands of performances throughout the world, Tamer moved to Unites States in 1994 and branched out to explore Jazz, funk, flamenco, classical and contemporary music that has continued to this day. His diverse compositions, performances and recordings reveal the range of his artistry from jazz standards to micro-tonal eastern music with string orchestrations as well as his unique compositions in many diverse musical environments, including New York Gypsy All-Stars and The Secret Trio. With his exposure to Western music, unorthodox technique, and machine-gun-like precision, Pinarbasi still holds a unique position among the kanun players in the world.