Music Beyond Borders: A Guitar & Oud Harmony at the Yunus Emre Institute in London

Yunus Emre Institute in London hosted a concert taking a fresh look at the interaction between Eastern and Western musical culture, featuring Guitarist Julia Seibert, Oudist Baha Yetkin, and percussionist Muammer Sağlam. 

Travelling with musical flow, the audience at the Yunus Emre Institute in London travel across borders, crossing the East-West lines and back again. Performing compositions from Turkish and Western musical cultures, the Institute was honoured to organise the “Music Beyond Borders: A Guitar & Oud Harmony” on Thursday 17th February 2022. This cross-cultural concert featured a trio of excellent musicians including Guitarist Julia Seibert, Oudist Baha Yetkin, and the Percussionist Muammer Sağlam. Bringing together two musical traditions to forge a cultural bridge between two worlds, this concert aimed to bring people together through music. 

As a synthesis of East and West, this concert offered a unique experience for music lovers to enjoy both commonalities and contrasts of Eastern & Western music and to forge a cultural bridge between them. 

Playing pieces such as the Turkish-music-inspired Koyunbaba by Carlo Domeniconi, the evening started with renditions of Western classical music by guitarist Julia Seibert. The German classical guitarist currently studying at Trinity Laban in London with Graham Devine, took the audience on a whistlestop tour of Western classical music on the strings of her guitar. Having won the prize for Best Interpretation at the 2018 Beatty Competition and being the recipient of the 2021 Montagu Cleeve prize for guitar, Seibert strummed her way across the West’s musical landscape to lead the concert eastwards.  

Following Seibert’s solo performance, Turkish oudist and composer, Baha Yetkin, took the stage to perform traditional Turkish compositions. Growing up in Istanbul, the melting pot of European and Middle Eastern musical cultures, Yetkin’s performance reflected both complex rhythmic structures of Middle Eastern music and refined elements of Western pieces. The musicians were accompanied by Turkish percussionist Muammer Sağlam. Having toured stages across the UK and been featured on cultural documentaries with both the BBC and ITV, his passionate performance took a life of its own. 

The final renditions of the evening were performed jointly by the musical trio playing Eastern and Western influence including Greensleeves, Pavane by Gabriel Faure, and Kurdilihicazkar Saz Semai by Tatyos Efendi. With ‘çay’ and simit served, lively conversation among guests, and a fusion of Eastern and Western musical influences, the evening held a distinctly Istanbul air. 

By taking a fresh look at the interaction between the two musical cultures, the concert satisfied fans of both traditions while showing that the experience of culture and our lived experiences are not bound by borders but sing in harmony. 

For more information on the event and take a look at future events running, please visit the Yunus Emre Institute in London website,