Alex Kreger

Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

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  • student and musician
  • people, music, travel, school...
  • No hometown listed
  • Profile 65% complete

About Me


studying Turkish music


**Note: my profile says I may not be receiving emails but I do check my CS profile regularly.

I took a year off from studying ethnomusicology in Austin, Texas to do research on Alevi music, belief, identity etc. in Turkey. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to travel frequently. I've spent the past three summers studying Turkish in Istanbul, and before that I spent a summer traveling and playing music in Central Asia with my closest friends, as well as a year living in Vienna and studying the Anatolian long-necked lute saz.

My musical journey began with the piano, an instrument which has demanded much of me, and at the same time taught me many things about the world, about my own body, and about feeling. Perhaps the piano demanded so much of me that I had to leave it for awhile to explore other places and things, educate myself about what's going on in the world, politics, history, culture, religion, etc. In the meantime I've discovered a new instrument (saz or bağlama) which has brought new sounds into my life and led me repeatedly back to Turkey. So I will follow these sounds where they take me...

My first time couchsurfing (and hitchhiking) was in eastern Anatolia five years ago, which brought me incredible experiences of freedom, beauty, and human kindness. These experiences have since inspired my work as a musician and improviser, and my life in general. We carve out melodies in music in the same way as we carve out a path through the world in travel and in life. In the end we look back on our journey and feel the sense of accomplishment and joy that comes with the creation of a beautiful work of art.

I may tend towards being a quieter, introspective person, but that depends...


'A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.'
-Albert Camus

Always changing, learning...

Why I’m on Couchsurfing


While I was living in Vienna some CSer musicians from Russia came to visit. We agreed to organize a concert, and since I couldn't find another venue, I hosted it in a small practice room on the ground floor of my apartment. We fit nearly 20 beautiful CSers into this small space and held an inspiring concert where everyone took part in improvising and making music together. We had didgeridoos, piano, drums, singing and other instruments going on and I still can't believe that my landlady never felt the vibrations from downstairs and guessed what we were up to (she wouldn't have allowed it!). That was one of many wonderful CS experiences...


Nothing but amazing experiences in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, US, Canada, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China, Austria...and continuing!



Music, Movies, and Books

For example:

My dear saz teacher Mansur Bildik, Cengiz Özkan, Muharrem Temiz, Arif Sağ, Talip Özkan, Erdal Erzincan, Neşet Ertaş, Erkan Oğur, Sezen Aksu...

Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau, Peter Brotzmann, Christian Wallumrod, Tyshawn Sorey, Frank Rosaly...

Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Sigur Ros...

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schoenberg, Berg, Messiaen, Feldman...

Films by Andrei Tarkovsky (favorites are Mirror, Andrei Rublev) and Abbas Kiarostami (Close-Up, Taste of Cherry so far...) and other Turkish and Persian cinema
Die Zweite Heimat, La meglio gioventu
James Benning

Hazrat Inayat Khan, "The Mysticism of Sound and Music," "The Art of Being and Becoming"
D.T. Suzuki's writings on Zen (given to me by a CSer in Beijing)
Camus' "The Plague"

Waiting for your suggestions...

One Amazing Thing I’ve Done

Every performance is an amazing opportunity to connect with my friends onstage and strangers in the audience, and to understand myself a little bit better. I love playing for four people in a small room, to feel connected, alive and a part of a process together... amazing feeling!

Teach, Learn, Share

I can teach piano and perhaps some other skills or knowledge I've accumulated over the years.

If you're willing to tell me about yourself/your culture/your interests I would love to listen. If you play music, let's play together. I want to learn to cook well, to interact more meaningfully with people, and to appreciate the world better.

I'm jealous of people who are skilled at practical things, like building and fixing stuff, I'm horrible at that!

Countries I’ve Visited

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Countries I’ve Lived In

Austria, Turkey, United States

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