Born in 1976, Southern Turkey, Hakan A. Toker studied partly at Bilkent University
School of Music and Performing Arts, Ankara. He completed his education in the USA
at Indiana University School of Music, double majoring in piano and composition (BM
2000). He also took courses in jazz and electronic music there. Along with his
formal education, he taught himself how to improvise and play Turkish music; learned
to play the kanun and accordion, after the piano.
Throughout the 9 years he lived in the USA, he gave many concerts. He broadened his spectrum by adding on ethnic world music genres while continuing his work in the classical field. He concertized, recorded albums and took part in many presentations in schools and colleges with the bands Salaam (Middle Eastern), Silk Road (Central Asian) and Orquesta Son (Latin American music). During the same period he began to play for silent movies; and worked in creative projects with multi-media artists, dancers, poets, jugglers and acrobats etc.
In 2006 he went back to his homeland and became a founding member of bands Tanini
and Abra, he performed with artists such as Yıldız İbrahimova and Dilek Türkan, and
for a short while he performed musical comedy shows for children with the flutist
Christian Plouvier (International Ankara Music Festival, 2009).
Toker has broken ground in the interpretation of Turkish traditional music on piano. He has been well acclaimed by listeners and colleagues alike for his albums “Turkish Music on Piano” (2005) and “Alla Turca Alla Toker” (2012). In 2011 for the first time in Turkey, he gave recitals of Turkish music on microtonally tuned pianos. He continues this work also with other keyboard instruments such as the clavichord, harpsichord and the Fluid Piano. In 2012 he made concerto-like arrangements of Turkish music called Senfonik Fasıl. He peformed with many orchestras including the Istanbul and Izmir State Symphony Orchestras.
He has been given “Our Living Values” award in 2013 during the 1st. Mersin Cultural
Festival. In 2017 he won the Global Music Awards Silver Medal together with his
Croatian colleagues Matej Meštrović and Matija Dedić for their album “Vivaldi - 4
Seasons for 3 Pianos” created by Matej Meštrović and released by Parma Recordings.
In 2019 he won the same award for his solo album “Toker Messing Around ... with the
classics;)” released by the same company.
Toker has done research and given informative recitals on topics such as Unknown Composers, Turkish Composers, Female Composers etc. He is also one of few concert pianists in the world who continues the old tradition of improvisation in classical music.
In 2022, he founded the world's first microtonal symphony orchestra, by bringing
together Turkish musicians specializing in both traditional Turkish music and
Western classical music. On May 17, he premiered his Turkish Rhapsody for 4
Microtonally Tuned Pianos and this orchestra, along with his song Işık Yükselecek
(Light will Rise) for Voice and Microtonal Symphony Orchestra at the CRR Concert
Hall in Istanbul.
As a performer, so far he has played in 29 countries, including international festivals such as the Istanbul, Ankara, Mersin, Side, Lvov (Ukraine) and Indianapolis Jazz (USA) festivals.
As a composer, he has studied deeply and written purely in many genres including Western classical, jazz and Turkish music. As a result, Toker's distinct voice is a rich blend of all these genres. His oeuvre, numbering over 500 works, include music for solo instruments, chamber music, orchestra, symphonic wind ensemble, choir; songs in Turkish and English, children's songs in both languages, electronic music, incidental music including two children' operas; music in traditional Turkish forms for Turkish instruments; instrumental and vocal music for jazz and popular music ensembles.
Today, Hakan A. Toker continues to record and concertize with groups and projects he himself has created, besides giving solo recitals.