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  • Writer's pictureYunus Emre Institute

Yunus Emre Institute and The Embassy of Türkiye in Washington DC Presents Ertegün Jazz Concert

120 Guests Attended A Concert Featuring The Herb Scott Quartet To Honor The Ertegün Brothers

To commemorate the larger-than-life contributions that jazz music played to American culture, The Embassy of Türkiye, along with the Yunus Emre Institute, presented a Jazz concert in Washington DC. The event was held on March 30, 2022, at the Turkish Ambassador's Residence. The Beaux-Arts neoclassical building, built in 1914, was named after Edwin Hamlin Everett, the wealthy industrialist who commissioned it. The event drew great interest, with The Herb Scott Quartet performing during the evening.

In 1930s Washington, two teens changed jazz forever. Their names were Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün. The tremendous cultural impact that Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün had on music can be felt not only in Washington D.C. or Turkey but around the world. The Ertegün brothers paved the way for many of America's most renowned jazz musicians to become globally successful artists through their label, Atlantic Records. They shared their passion for music with the world along with their philosophy of humanism, anti-racism, and inclusion. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the dynamic duo was instrumental in bringing marginalized African American artists to the forefront of the American public consciousness when doing so was considered controversial. They resolutely stuck to their principles and values to ensure that America's music industry evolved into a more diverse and inclusive landscape of sound.

The Ertegün brothers organized the first interracial concert in 1940 at the Jewish Community Center. Meanwhile, the Turkish Embassy held open house events for visiting jazz musicians on Sunday afternoons. The practice drew the ire of Southern Senators, who furiously wrote letters to Ambassador Munir Ertegün , father to Ahmet and Nesuhi. The letters read, "It has been brought to my attention, sir, that a person of color was seen entering your house by the front door. I have to inform you that in our country, this is not a practice to be encouraged." Ambassador Ertegün wrote back, "In my home, friends enter by the front door – however, we can arrange for you to enter from the back."

The concert, which drew great interest from American jazz lovers, also brought together top officials. In addition to Congressman André Carson, one hundred twenty guests from diplomatic, government, academic, civic, public, and private organizations attended the concert.

Yunus Emre Institute is a Turkish cultural center located not only in Washington, D.C. but worldwide. The institute hosts events and programs that educate the public about Turkey's culture, history, and language. For more information about the institute's mission or online programs, please email or follow @yeewdc on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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