Renowned Turkish singer, pianist, composer, and conductor of Turkey’s first ever appearance at Eurovision in 1975, Timur Selçuk, has passed away at age 74.
According to his wife, Handan Selçuk, the cause of death at this time is unknown as he had not reported or exhibited any health problems.
A multi-talented musician, particularly in the polyphonic Turkish classical music tradition, Selçuk was born to two famous Turkish artists on July 2, 1946. His father, Münir Nurettin Selçuk, was a Turkish classical musician, though he was also a famous tenor singer in many big Turkish stage musicals. His mother, Şehime Erton, was an actress and artist, while his brother, Selim Selçuk, also caught the family musical bug and is a renowned jazz drummer.
Selçuk studied at the École Normale de Musique de Paris, though upon his return to Turkey became known for his chansons. His compositions topped the Turkish charts throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and when it came time for Turkey to debut at Eurovision in 1975, Selçuk was picked to be their first conductor.
Unfortunately, Semiha Yankı’s “Seninle Bir Dakika” came in last, though over the years this entry has garnered a lot of fans and, if YouTube comments are anything to go by, has earned a reputation as one of Eurovision’s least deserved last place finishes.
Turkey would return at Eurovision 1978, and Selçuk himself would return to the Eurovision fold as composer, arranger and conductor at Eurovision 1989 with Pan’s “Bana Bana.”
Arzu Ece, one of the two female singers in Pan, was Selçuk’s daughter, and she would herself return at Eurovision 1995 with “Sev.”
“Bana Bana” finished in 21st place (2nd last).
Outside of Eurovision, Selçuk composed music to accompany the words of Turkish poets Orhan Veli, Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel, Attila Ilhan and Nazım Hikmet. Selçuk also founded the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra in 1976, and in later years taught music at various Istanbul institutions. In 1998, Selçuk received the Turkish Ministry of Culture’s State Artist commendation.
We at ESC United offer our thoughts and prayers to Selçuk’s family and friends at this time.
What do #YOU think of Selçuk’s two entries at Eurovision? Do #YOU think he was involved in two underappreciated classics? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.