Born in the vibrant city of Istanbul in 1979, Cenk Erdoğan embarked on a musical journey that has left an indelible mark on the world of music. His talent was recognized early on when, in 1997, he earned a prestigious four-year scholarship at İstanbul Bilgi University’s Music Composition Department.
Graduating with First Class Honours in 2001 from the university’s music department, Erdoğan’s journey continued to soar. In October 2004, he was invited to lead a workshop at the Berklee College of Music, focusing on the intricacies of fretless guitar and modes in Turkish music, thanks to an invitation from David “FUZE” Fiuczynski.
In 2008, Erdoğan unveiled his debut album, “İLE”, a creative masterpiece produced by Sinan Sakızlı under the Baykuş Music label. The same year, he took on the challenge of composing and arranging the soundtrack for Çağan Irmak‘s poignant film “Issız Adam”, earning him the coveted Yeşilçam “Soundtrack of the Year 2009” award in recognition of his exceptional work.
In 2009, the Cenk Erdoğan Trio, featuring the renowned Tineke Postma, graced the stages of the 16th Istanbul Jazz Festival and the 19th Akbank Jazz Festival. That same year, he collaborated with the Yinon Muallem ensemble at the “Karawane 2009” festival in Bochum, Germany. Additionally, Erdoğan joined forces with Nihan Devecioğlu and Adam Matta to form a trio that recorded the mesmerizing “Çark” album, captivating audiences at Zaltsburg Music Fest, Bayreuth Young Artists Fest, and Bonn Summer Fest.
2010 marked the year he played alongside the likes of Trilok Gurtu and Dominique di Piazza in the “Turkophony all stars” band. In 2011, he continued his musical odyssey by collaborating with renowned musicians such as Dave Weckl, Kai Eckhardt, and Eric Levy as part of the same ensemble.
Erdoğan made a significant contribution to music education in 2014 by launching the first educational website dedicated to fretless guitar playing, www.fretlessguitarlessons.com, where he shared the unique Turkish approach to fretless guitar techniques. In the same year, he released his solo acoustic album “Kara Kutu” showcasing his virtuosity on both fretless and fretted guitars.
The year 2015 brought another accolade as he won a competition hosted by the tech company Vestel, leading to the composition of ringtones and soundscapes for their groundbreaking smartphone, “VENÜS”.
In 2016, Erdoğan became a part of the “Rachmaninov Anatolian Project”, collaborating with Guldiyar Tanridağlı and Ertan Tekin. The album, released by KALAN music, was a testament to his versatility.
His involvement as a musical director in “Sezenli Yıllar”, a project featuring Turkish pop icon Sezen Aksu, solidified his reputation in the industry. Collaborating with producers Mustafa Oğuz, Cüneyt Özdemir and choreographer Zeynep Tanbay, Erdoğan played a pivotal role in the success of the project.
In 2017, he introduced another mesmerizing project called “Lahza”, alongside Turkish-Swedish drummer Mehmet İkiz, captivating audiences across European festivals.
Erdoğan continued to push boundaries with his solo album “Fermata”, released in 2018. This album showcased his prowess as a composer and producer, aiming to redefine the limits of fretless guitar music.
In 2019, he embarked on a European and American tour as part of the International Guitar Night project, sharing the stage with Luca Satricagnoli, Antoine Boyer, and Samuelito. His involvement continued in 2020 when he was invited for the 20th Anniversary Tour of the International Guitar Night, completing a 33-concert American tour alongside Mike Dawes, Jim Kimo West, and Olli Soikkeli.
In 2021, Erdoğan unveiled his album “I’m Still Searching” This year also brought recognition in the form of the “Best Platform TV Soundtrack” award at the Izmir International Film and Music Festival for his work on the Yeşilçam TV series.
Crowning his illustrious career, Erdoğan was honored with a Grammy Award in the Best New Age Album category in 2021 for his contributions to Jim Kimo West’s “More Guitar Stories” album as a featured artist.
And now, in 2023, Cenk Erdoğan invites you to experience his latest sonic adventure. His new album, created with the enchanting Baritone Fretless Guitar, offers a deeper and more serene musical journey than ever before. This unique instrument, crafted by the talented guitar maker Can Oral, has been three and a half years in the making. Erdoğan believes that every instrument possesses its own voice, and he is eager to share the new voice of his soul with you.
So, as you take a moment to pause and “Ara”, which translates to “take a break” in Turkish, allow the music to speak to your soul and beckon you into its tranquil embrace.