Based now in Paris, ney flute virtuoso and composer Kudsi Erguner was born to a family of musicians in Diyarbakir, Turkey, in 1952. While his training on the deeply soulful, hoarse-sounding ney flute came from his father, the renowned musician Ulvi Erguner, Kudsi was also greatly influenced by his involvement with various Sufi Muslim brotherhoods, whose musical traditions and spiritual teachings he studied intently. (That deep interest has been an undercurrent in Erguner's life; in Paris in 1981, he founded MEVLANA, an institute for the study of Sufi music and philosophy.)
A member of the Istanbul Radio Orchestra by the time he was seventeen, Erguner moved to Paris to study architecture and musicology in 1975. His first collaboration with director Peter Brooks took place in Afghanistan a year later for the film Meetings with Remarkable Men; that first project led to the duo working together again for Brooks' massive theater piece and film version of the Hindu epic the Mahabharata, which was performed throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and Japan in the 1980s. Among his other prominent collaborations has been work with musician Peter Gabriel for the soundtrack to Martin Scorcese's film The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988; worked with the director Francois Abou Salem on a new production of Mozart's opera The Abduction from the Seraglio for the Salzburg Festival; and collaborated with the renowned English early music group The Hilliard Ensemble for a performance of music by 14th-century composer Guillaume de Machaut at London's Royal Festival Hall.
Erguner's work as a musicologist has also been greatly valuable and influential. He has recorded and documented traditional music in Pakistan for Radio France and France Musique, and he formed the group Fasl, later known as the Kudsi Erguner Ensemble, to revive the 16th-century classical repertoire of the Ottoman Empire.
Among his notable recordings are The Mystic Flutes of Sufi: Preludes to Ceremonies of the Whirling Dervishes, made for the Japanese label JVC World Sounds as part of the Erguner Brothers; recordings of the music for The Mahabharata and The Last Temptation of Christ, both for the Real World label; and, for the Traditional Crossroads label, two volumes of music written by the Armenian composer Kemani Tatyos Effendi. -Anastasia Tsioulcas