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  • Writer's pictureKaan Gencer

Event Highlights - One World Day 2022: Turkish Art and Folk Music - Mehmet Gencer and Friends


One World Day 2022 Turkish Art and Folk Music - Concert Musicians

Mehmet Gencer - Vocalist

Mehmet Gençer is a vocalist from Turkiye. He started singing popular Turkish Art songs at the age of four under the coaching of his father, Mustafa Gençer, who was a musician himself as a recognized vocalist and mandolin player. Mehmet in his teenage years started solo singing engagements in Izmir, Turkiye as he was pursuing his Chemical Engineering education. While in college in 1971 and 1972, Mehmet took “makam” and “usul” lessons in Turkish Art Music in Izmir American Cultural Association (IAKD). His teachers were Dr. Ayhan Sökmen, composer and Director of Turkish Art Music in IAKD and Avni Anıl, a prominent and one of the most prolific Turkish Art Music composers in the 20th century. Avni Anıl was also the Director of Turkish Art Music Department in Turkish State Radio in Izmir at the time. Mehmet sang for Dr. Ayhan Sökmen's choir at IAKD. After moving to Philadelphia, USA for his graduate studies in Chemical Engineering, Mehmet continued singing in venues in many states neighboring Philadelphia. He participated in several International folk festivals including Village Fair in Independence Mall, Philadelphia for the celebration of Bicentennial of Constitution, National Folk Festival in Cuyahoga Valley and Middfest International. In Cleveland (1985-1990), Mehmet sang with Cleveland Institue of Music choir. Over the years Mehmet has also toured several major cities for concerts including Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Montréal, Detroit, Washington DC, Denver, Kansas City and Cincinnati.

Maude Cloutier – Violinist

French Canadian violinist Maude Cloutier (born 2003), originally from Montreal, began playing violin at age four, and five years later was concertmaster of the Montreal Suzuki String Orchestra. She has won numerous competitions across the United States, subsequently making her solo debut with orchestra at age 13 performing with the Indianapolis Youth Orchestra. She has also performed with the Suburban Symphony Orchestra, Lakeland Symphony Orchestra, and the Indiana University Informatics Philharmonic. In the 2018 Canadian Music Competition, she won Third Place and was awarded a scholarship for receiving the best score in Quebec during the National Audition. She was also a semi-finalist of the 2019 OSM Competition, presented by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

Maude recently graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music’s coveted Young Artist Program, where she studied with Jan Mark Sloman and Jaime Laredo as the recipient of a full merit scholarship from the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation. This fall, she will continue her studies at CIM as a full scholarship student in the Artist Certificate program. She is also violinist in the Prometheus Trio with cellist Martha Sprague and pianist Arseniy Gusev, which was accepted in CIM’s Advanced Piano Trio Program in May 2021. This summer, she will take part in the Orford Music Academy studying with Cho-Liang Lin and Mauricio Fuks as a merit scholarship student, and will return to the Heifetz International Music Institute studying with Jan Mark Sloman as the recipient of a generous merit award. She has performed for many renowned violinists and pedagogues such as Philip Setzer, Paul Kantor, Henryk Kowalski, Jinjoo Cho, Tessa Lark, Keith Robinson, Robert Cohen, Daniel Shapiro, and Mauricio Fuks, who has been an important mentor. She has shared the stage with artists such as Elizabeth Wallfisch, Kent Nagano, JoAnn Falletta, musicians of the Montreal and Indianapolis symphony orchestras as well as The Cleveland Orchestra and has also performed in recital with Grammy-winning pianist Cory Smythe. Her performances have been featured on the Heifetz Rubato Virtual Concert Hall, The Violin Channel, TVA Nouvelles, and Rhythme FM. She has also studied orchestral conducting with Miguel Harth-Bedoya, as well as piano and composition. In her free time, Maude enjoys performing with her sisters as part of the Cloutier Trio, is an avid alpine ski racer, takes part in intensive aikido training, and enjoys spending time in nature, reading, and listening to classical music.

After playing a Giuseppe Guadagnini violin for more than one year, Maude is very grateful to be playing a 1787 Julius Lombardi violin graciously loaned to her by Kenneth Warren & Son Ltd. in Chicago. She plays a fine bow made by renowned modern bow maker Charles Espey which was purchased for her by an anonymous donor. She is also generously supported by the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation. For more information, please visit

Brendon Phelps – Cello

Brendon Phelps is forging a path as an engaging cellist and collaborator, characterized by his sense of individuality, depth of expression, and expansive palette of color. His playing has been described by The Strad as “ but clear sound and beautiful shaping and leading.”

As a collaborator, recent notable highlights include performing the Mendelssohn Octet with the Shanghai Quartet at the Tilles Center, as well as his Carnegie Hall debut, premiering string quartet commission from composer Anthony Vine. International concerts have included North and South America as well as Europe in venues such as Casa de la Musica in Quito, Ecuador and the International Mendelssohn Festival in Hamburg, Germany. Other recitals have included Princetown University, Boston Conservatory, Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance in Nova Scotia, Marilyn Horne Museum, and the Boston Early Music Festival.

Phelps coached chamber music as part of a one-year residency at Shenandoah Conservatory. He also taught and performed at the Interlochen Academy as a chamber music teaching fellow. He maintains a fully online cello studio with students throughout the US and international. A firm believer in outreach, he has frequently visited grade- schools to introduce young students to string instruments, present classical music in an engaging manner, and work with the school’s orchestra programs.

Phelps has received his Bachelors and Masters in music from the University of Akron and the Cleveland Institute of Music, respectively. He also received an Early Music Performance Certificate from Case Western University and an Artists Diploma and string quartet fellowship from the Shanghai Quartet at Montclair State University. His primary teachers were Melissa Kraut and Nick Tzavaras.

When not playing the cello, Phelps likes to pursue many other artistic outlets. Once a week, as a self-proclaimed pizzaiolo, he can be found working on his pizza dough. He also really enjoys painting as a way to experience artistic expression in a different medium.

Henry Samuels – Double Bass

Henry Samuels is a double bass player and music teacher living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He has performed with orchestras in great halls across the world including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Musikverien in Vienna, and Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan Hall. As a Cleveland resident, Henry performs regularly with the Akron Symphony, as well as with the Bluewater Chamber Orchestra, and other regional orchestras.

Henry is also an active teacher in the Cleveland area. He currently teaches a handful of private students, and is the bass instructor for the Avon School of Music, and Strongsville School of Music. In addition, Henry is the double bass sectional coach for the orchestras at Shaker Heights High School, Avon High School, and Strongsville High School. He recently obtained his Suzuki Book I Teacher Certification under the instruction of Daniel Swaim, and plans to develop his presence as a Suzuki bass instructor in Cleveland.

Henry enjoys adapting repertoire for the double bass. He has performed many violin and cello works for the bass including select Bach Cello Suites, Paganini’s “Moses” Variations, Schubert’s “Arpeggione” Sonata, and Beethoven Cello Sonata No. 3.

He has recently been exploring an interest in klezmer music, and plays bass with Steven Greenman and the Case University Klezmer Ensemble. Henry has performed in klezmer concerts at venues such as the Maltz Performing Arts Center, Jekyll’s Kitchen, and the Euclid Tavern.


Faruk and Ayla are very accomplished well recognized vocalists in Turkish Art and Folk music within the Turkish American community.

We are fortunate that they create the time to share their tremendous music and beautiful voices with us while they are extremely busy and successful in their line of professional work.


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