Hazar – Biography

Known as an outstanding guitar virtuoso, Hazar has already gained international
reputation as being associated with Paco de Lucia:

„He can only be compared to his great inspiration Paco de Lucia.“
(CD review Karsten Rube)

His music includes many genres of jazz with influences of fusion, post-bop, flamenco, blues and classical music expressing his own style by harmonic complex improvisations at very fast tempos on the one hand and touching melodies and compositions on the other. With his breathtaking playing technique on the acoustic guitar that incorporates high speed, harmonic sophistication and technical precision creating an extremely clear and individual sound, Hazar proves that he is one of the great masters of his instrument.

Hazar is one of the few musicians out there who managed to become a virtuoso with two completely different musical instruments. In 2009 Hazar released his debut album „Virtuoso“ (Acoustic Music Records) accompanied with the musicians of Paco de Lucia and Chick Corea with bassist Carles Benavent and flamenco guitarist Rafael Cortes. In his album he demonstrated with the fusion of jazz, flamenco and classical works an extraordinary virtuosity by playing pieces of Chick Corea, Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Niccolò Paganini at that time still on the three-stringed lute saz. String instrument experts were especially surprised by his performances of Niccolo Paganini’s Caprices No. 5, 16 and 24, since these pieces are considered to be almost impossible to play on three strings:

„What Hazar plays should be technically impossible
– Hazar nevertheless plays it, and with a jaw-dropping lightness and ingenuity
– as this stunning album testifies.“

(Peter Finger Acoustic Music 2009)

His brilliant playing technique in the Caprice No. 16 achieved his international breakthrough. Link: Hazar – Niccolo Paganini Caprice No. 16

One can easily imagine how much more challenging it is to play these pieces on just three strings, considering that the neck of the saz is much longer than that of the violin. Thereby the ways for the fingers increase. It is remarkable that despite a breathtaking speed Hazar impressed with a virtuosic lightness like a Paganini:

„The Paganini of the saz.“
(Acoustik Music Zeitschrift 2009)

„Hazar is probably the only virtuoso in the world
to play Paganini’s Caprices on three-strings.“

(Kaleidoskop 2006)

On an international level the virtuoso shared the stage with jazz orchestras and world-famous musicians taking significant steps to promote the saz. With his style of play Hazar took the technical standard of the saz to the highest level, got it out of its role as a traditional accompanying instrument and integrates it as an equal solo instrument into the western music. Referred as „one of the best saz players of all time“ by saz legend Prof Dr Talip Özkan, Hazar ranks among the most important and influential pioneers of modern saz and is one of the first musicians to branch into classical and jazz.

Hazar displayed musical talent at a young age. When he was 6 years old he gave his first concert. At the age of 13, he could play the most demanding masterpieces that were ever composed for the long-necked and the short-necked version of the saz. In addition to composition classes Hazar took lessons in harmony and counterpoint with Prof Tibor Yusti von Arth, the only student of Sergei Rachmaninoff.

In 2007 Hazar composed music for the film Grass produced in the year 1925 by Paramount Pictures and directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsackin, who also shot the first King Kong film.4 Upon request, Hazar’s film music was released in the same year as a CD. In 2008 Hazar founded the world’s largest Saz Academy. For many years he taught in four countries over thousands of students – especially children and teens from disadvantaged social background on a voluntary basis, to share his knowledge. In 2010 after a decade of development and research Hazar created a saz, made of carbon and has received a patent in his name. In the same year he began a tour within the project „Hazar & 100 Saz“.

As the world’s first musician, Hazar has received an internationally recognized master’s degree in jazz with the three-stringed instrument and went down in history as pioneer of Saz & Jazz. At the beginning of 2011 he obtained his master’s with honors at the Maastricht Academy of Music. In 2012 Hazar played concerts with saz player Arif Sag within the project „Masters of Saz“ and has received an honorary prize. Arif Sag said about him: “After listening to Hazar on the saz, I can die in peace.“ In the same year Hazar became the namesake of the project „Hazar World Music Festival“ in Stuttgart, which had continued for six years and had been supported by the German Cultural Office. In 2013 Hazar toured with the musician Erkan Ogur within the „Earthy Smelling Tones of Anatolia“, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. In 2014 Hazar founded the largest folk music choir in Germany.

By resisting all schematization and all the rules of play and strict separations between tradition and modernism, Hazar breaks with these traditional ideas, exceeds the boundaries to enter a lively musical discourse that seeks to engage in dialogue between East and West. Music journalist Birger Gesthuiesen from WDR emphasized the importance of the integrative dimension of Hazar’s work by saying: „We need more musicians like Hazar, who takes the long-necked lute from the ethnic ghetto and from the musical into the concert hall.“

With a completely new concept, based on many years of experience and the results of his scientific research, Hazar released a saz book written in German named „Saz“ (publisher Acoustic Music Books) in 2015. He wrote in his book: “Although the Saz is one of the most traditional instruments in the world, there is neither an uniform spelling of its name nor a general teaching method for this instrument until today. My concern with this book is first of all to teach practical playing, but also to encourage research projects in this field – and thus to serve the further development of the Saz and its integration in our society.“

In addition to numerous jury memberships Hazar has been appointed as federal judge for the 55th and 56th Federal Music Competition Jugend musiziert in 2018 and 2019.

At the height of his musical career Hazar switched to acoustic guitar. Speaking of himself, Hazar has stated in an interview: „I had nothing more to tell with the saz.“ Within a very short time of practicing he was able to play the guitar at a high virtuosic level.

Hazar is known for his technical mastery and extremely fast, complex guitar playing. A remarkable feature of this is that he always keeps a clean tone. He actually achieves his speed by playing every single note acoustically with his right hand with a plectrum. Hazar’s music is dominated by his explosive style and his unique sound combining high-speed solo lines of perfect architecture with creative chords and emotional melodies which are only amplified by his perfect sense for the musical moment.

Hazar went into the studio to record his new album together with Al di Meola, who was so impressed by Hazar that he invited him to participate in his own project. Hazar is currently busy in the studio recording his guitar album, with which he seems inspired to begin a new chapter in his career.