Meet this year's Arif Mardin Fellowship recipient: Yildiz Mukaddes Yilmaz!

Born and raised in Bursa, Turkey, 22-year-old Yildiz Mukaddes Yilmaz started her piano journey nine years ago after coming across the film composer Alexandre Desplat. Because she was inspired to play the piano, she began to teach herself how to play the instrument by using her father’s keyboard. As a self-taught student, she felt it was time to gain some professional experience. Thus Yildiz auditioned for school and got a spot to study at Zeki Muren Fine Arts High school in Bursa, which is where her academic career first began. Currently, Yildiz is a student at Berklee and is studying Film scoring and Contemporary Writing & Production. As a student, she appreciates Berklee’s environment which allows her to be productive and original.

Yildiz is interested in being a film composer, she believes that as a film composer you can use music as a language. Some notable composers she admires include Howard Shore- Lord of the Rings, Ramin Djawani- Game of Thrones, and Pinar Toprak- Marvel. At Berklee, she wants to get to know more important composers in the field by participating in masterclasses, workshops, and concerts. In addition, Yildiz is excited to be a part of many creative projects at school and meet her professors and friends who she has only met online.

Upon arriving in America, her goal is to take part in the Little People of America Community (LPA), which is an artist community for little people. She hopes to work as a volunteer and connect with other people with similar interests. Yildiz would like to help those, like her, find their passion as musicians in today’s world.