About me

Born into a family steeped in music, kanun player and composer Didem Başar started her music education at Istanbul Turkish Music State Conservatory when she was 11 years old…

Press Articles

Makam Muzik

As a composer, I will continue to pour my feelings on music scores. As a musician, I am always striving to improve…

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The Montrealer

Dive into the diverse musical universe of Montreal-based Turkish musician Didem Basar and let yourself be captivated by the gentle confluence of the rhythms and sounds of Turkish and Western classical music…

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The Whole Note

Didem Başar is a professionally trained player of the kanun, or Turkish zither. On this CD, she unites Turkish and Western classical music under her own compositions, scoring them for kanun and Western instruments…

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My instrument

The Kanun has a trapesoid shape, which allows the installation of strings at different lenghts along the instrument.

Once plucked, each string tightened on the instrument’s wooden soundboard produces a different note due its unique vibration. Small hand levers, which are known as mandal, are located at the opposite end of the bridge and allow the player to further manipulate the tightness of the strings to produce microtones.

The kanun is widely played in Turkey, the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkan Peninsula, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Iran. It is believed that the kanun was introduced to Europe by Andalusians and inspired the invention of the clavichord and harpsicord.


Born into a family steeped in music, kanun player and composer Didem Başar started her music education at Istanbul Turkish Music State Concervatory when she was 11 years old.

After completing the Conservatory’s kanun program, she continued her training at the same institution and received her Bachelor’s Degree in composition. Her interest in examining the effects of art on society led her to pursue a Master’s Degree on the musical analysis of Mevlevi Music at Marmara University. She gave lectures on Turkish music and kanun playing techniques at Haliç University’s Turkish Music Conservatory and Istanbul University State Conservatory from 2001 until she moved to Canada in 2007.

Since 2017, she teaches kanun and turkish music at the Centre des Musiciens du Monde de Montreal.

After composing and playing with different artists and the ensembles for the past 15 years, she wanted to create her own project, which would intertwine two musical influences: Turkish and Western classical music.

As the result, her new album Levantine Rapsody was released in February 2020.

The dialog she created between the kanun and the western classical instruments immediately attracted the attention of the Quebec music community and the album was nominated for the album of the year prize not only by the Association Quebecoise de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la video (ADISQ) but also by the Conseil Quebecois de la Music. In 2021 the interest aroused by the Album brought the award of the Album de l’année at the 24e Prix Opus Competition in the category of the Musiques du Monde et Musique Traditionnelle Québécoise.

Musical Journey

Relocating to Montreal has given Didem Başar the opportunity to reinterpret her music in a new environment whose vividness is the result of the turbulent convergence of manifold cultures flowing from different parts of the world.

She has collaborated with many ensembles in Montréal and performed in Canada, the US and Europe as well as in Morocco, Lebanon and Egypt. She also founded DuoTurco with her colleague Ismail Hakki Fencioglu and composed for the album, Yavuz in 2012.


Cirque du Soleil



Minor Empire

Second Nature



The Forth Light


Kiya Tabassian & Kent Nagano

Vers où l’oiseau migrera?



Saimaniq Chants de gorge Inuit


Christopher Trapani




Constantinople Ensemble



Constantinople Ensemble

Horizons Lointains


Constantinople Ensemble

Ciel de la Syrie


Sound of Montreal

Et je reverrai cette ville étrange


Constantinople Ensemble

The 13-petaled rose