Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol studied western classical piano with his mother Fethiye Sanlıkol and started giving piano recitals as early as age five. Until 1992, he performed classical and contemporary music. He then studied with the internationally acclaimed Turkish composer and Jazz pianist Aydın Esen, and won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in 1993. In 1997, Sanlıkol found the electric jazz band AudioFact with Onur Türkmen and toured Mexico, Argentina, the USA, and Europe. The same year, he received Berklee College of Music’s Clare Fischer Award and completed his degree in Jazz Composition and Film Scoring.
In 1998, Sanlıkol released the CD "Black Spot with AudioFact." In 2000, he graduated from New England Conservatory with a Master’s Degree in Jazz Composition. In 2002, he was commissioned to write a piece for PALS children’s chorus accompanied by Turkish instruments, a chamber orchestra and soloists. The piece "An Ancient Turkish Legend: Ergenekon" was a big success. In 2003, Sanlıkol has released his second CD "Asitane with AudioFact." In 2004, he completed his doctoral of Musical Arts degree in Composition at the New England Conservatory. Dr. Sanlıkol is the president of Dünya, a musicians’ collective, which explores a cosmopolitan view of the world through the lens of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in conversation with the music of the formerly Ottoman peoples—Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Arabs, Kurds, mystics—as well as with western and other world traditions. Since its founding, Sanlıkol has produced, performed and delivered talks at over one hundred Dünya events. This organization has also released 8 CDs: "Come See What Love Has Done To Me," "Psalms of Ali Ufki," "Music of Cyprus," "The Tulip and the Sword," "The Language of Birds," "For You the World," "For Us the Roses," "A Story of the City: Constantinople, Istanbul," and "A Sacred Music Celebration: Greek Orthodoxy and Turkish Sufism" as well as a DVD "Wisdom and Turkish Humor" featuring Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol both as a director, performer and a composer. Throughout 2010, Dr. Sanlıkol directed, performed, and produced CD "A Story of the City: Constantinople, Istanbul" and concert production as a part of Istanbul 2010 European Culture Capital activities.
Dr. Sanlıkol has composed for, performed and toured with international stars and ensembles such as Tiger Okoshi, Bob Brookmeyer, Esperanza Spalding, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Okay Temiz, Erkan Oğur, Yansımalar, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Brenna MacCrimmon and The Boston Camerata at numerous prestigious International Music Festivals and venues such as the Blue Note Jazz club in New York. He has also composed, arranged, produced and performed for Turkish pop stars such as Fahir Atakoğlu, Burcu Güneş, Ümit Sayın, Edip Akbayram and Nil Karaibrahimgil.
Dr. Sanlıkol taught at Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. He is currently a faculty member at College of the Holy Cross and Emerson College, and a research fellow at Harvard University. He is a recipient of the 2012-2013 Turkish Cultural Foundation Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art. Dr. Sanlıkol actively delivers papers and talks at academic conferences. His book, entitled The Musician Mehters, about the organization and the music of the Ottoman Janissary Bands has been published in 2011 in English by The ISIS press and in Turkish by Yapı Kredi Publications.
Reference: sanlikol.com, radioboston.wbur.org, getshowtix.com