Meet Zeynep Aydın, This Year's Scholarship Recipient Of Arif Mardin Fellowship!


Launched in 2007 in memory of Arif Mardin (1932-2006), world-renowned producer/arranger and vice chairman of The American Turkish Society for many years, the program is conducted in partnership with Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where Mardin's successful music career began as the first recipient of the Quincy Jones Scholarship.

The Arif Mardin Fellowship is open to individuals of Turkish descent or nationality, over the age of 15, with a minimum of six months experience playing their instrument (or singing), to attend the 5-week Summer Performance Program at the Berklee College of Music. It covers the full cost of tuition and housing, as well as a stipend to help cover living expenses. Consideration for the Fellowship is based on merit and potential to benefit from the program in current or future music career.




Founded as Schillinger House by Lawrence Berk in 1945, Berklee College of Music was the first U.S. school to teach popular music of the time, jazz and is still among the leading educational institutions of music. Berkley’s talented and diverse student body represents more than 70 countries.

Berklee College of Music's Five-Week Summer Performance Program is the world's preeminent summer musical performance program, with one-on-one instruction from Berklee’s renowned faculty and a curriculum that offers college credit. The program aims to develop the performance skills of musicians and emphasizes the mastery of playing or singing skills in the musician’s chosen style of contemporary music: Jazz, Pop/Rock, Funk/Fusion, or Pop/R&B.


Meet Zeynep Aydın


Zeynep Aydın was first introduced to music at the age of nine when she began violin lessons with Belgin Aydın. Because of her special interest in different instruments, she decided to teach herself how to play the piano while also continuing her classical studies with Elena Chekich, who was her mentor for a while.
At the age of 11, after being accepted to the Uludağ University Bursa State Conservatory, she started practicing viola with the help of Prof. Dr. Görkem Çalgan. By the age of 14, she had acquired comprehensive knowledge of these two instrumental families.

In high school, Zeynep formed a musical quartet which focused on performing jazz, funk, blues and rock classics along with three of her friends. The school orchestra, which she was also a part of (keyboards and back vocals), was awarded for the first and the second Best Performance respectively in the 20th and the 21st Fizy Inter High Schools Music Competition. Zeynep made all the arrangements including contrary motion scales, challenging arpeggios, brass solo section, the double modulation part, funk-Latin rhythm section, and jazzy 9/11 chords for a piece played in the 21st Fizy Inter High Schools Music Competition.

At this time she also developed an interest in the different kinds of rhythms she had discovered through different musicians such as Tigran Hamasyan, Avishai Cohen, Jacob Collier, Chris Potter, Sting, Ediz Hafızoğlu and Snarky Puppy. She also has an interest in improvisational techniques which derives from her fascination with jazz. Zeynep was a student at Galatasaray High School when she was accepted to the Berklee School of Music's Summer Performance Program. Her goal is to continue learning about the different aspects of jazz and to play Turkish-Armenian fusion jazz.


Check out Zeynep's work


Help us to continue to honor Arif Mardin by supporting the Arif Mardin Fellowship at Berklee College of Music. The Society depends on your support. Click here to make a donation or become a member and gain access to a series of benefits!