Composer, writer, film director, member of the Turkish delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and Good Will Ambassador of UNESCO, Ömer Zülfü Livaneli was born in Ilgin, Turkey, on 20 June 1946. He was forced to leave Turkey and settle in Sweden in the 1960s because of his political ideas and commitment. He studied music and philosophy in Sweden, and after living for some time in Paris and Athens, he returned to Turkey in 1984, where he has become one of the most outstanding figures in the cultural, artistic and political scene in contemporary Turkey. His more than thirty international awards reflect his great success not only as a musician, but also as a producer and as a writer.
Apart from his remarkable career as an artist, Livaneli has held a highly influential position in political life over the last thirty years. In 2002 he was elected Member of Parliament for CHP (People’s Republican Party). He is also one of the founding members of the Turkish-Kurdish peace movement, and the promoter of the “Campaign against Violence”, which started in February 1995 and during which 400.000 signatures were collected in only one month. He acted as mediator in the prison hunger strikes of 1996 and 2000. He works as a columnist for various Turkish newspapers since 1989.
With reference to his musical career, Livaneli has composed some three hundred songs, a rhapsody –recorded by London Symphony Orchestra- and a ballet. His compositions have reached cult status nationwide and have been performed by internationally renowned artists such as Joan Baez, María del Mar Bonet, Udo Lindenberg, Maria Farandouri, Haris Alexiu, or Kate Westbrook. He has also written five plays and thirty film soundtracks. Among these soundtracks are ‘Yol' (The Path), directed by Yilmaz Güney and winner of the Golden Palm in Cannes Film Festival; ‘The Herd' directed by Yilmaz Güney and Zeki Okten, and ‘Shirin's Wedding' by German director Helma Sanders Brahms. His recordings have been published in the USA, Sweden, Germany, Holland and France, and he has given dozens of concerts throughout the world. He has produced albums and performed with Mikis Theodorakis and Maria Farandouri, and he has also collaborated with Manos Hatzidakis, Giora Feidman, Inti Illimani and Angel Parra. Livaneli has been distinguished with the Award to the Best Album of the Year (Greece), the Edison Award (Holland), or the Award to the Best Album of the Year (Music Critics Guild of Germany), among others.
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