Edgar Manas: The creator of the Turkish anthem

Early Life and Education

Edgar Manas was born on April 12, 1875, in Istanbul, to an Armenian family with a rich artistic heritage. His ancestor, Rafael Manas (Manasyan), was a renowned painter who created portraits of several Ottoman sultans. From a young age, Edgar displayed a keen interest in music and was encouraged to pursue his passion.

After completing his primary education in Istanbul, Manas went to Europe to further his studies. He attended the Paris Conservatory, where he studied composition under the tutelage of renowned composer Jules Massenet and orchestration with Charles-Marie Widor. Manas also studied conducting at the Leipzig Conservatory in Germany.

Career and Achievements

Upon returning to Istanbul, Edgar Manas began working as a music teacher and conductor. He played an instrumental role in developing Western classical music in Turkey and contributed to the education of many musicians throughout his career.

Manas was a co-founder of the Istanbul Symphony Orchestra and served as its conductor for several years. He also directed the Istanbul Municipality Conservatory and composed various orchestral works, operas, and chamber music.

One of his most notable contributions to Turkish culture was co-composing the music for the Turkish national anthem, “İstiklal Marşı” (Independence March), in collaboration with poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy. Adopted in 1921 during the early years of the Republic of Turkey, the anthem is a symbol of national pride and unity.


Edgar Manas passed away on February 9, 1964, in Istanbul, leaving behind a rich musical legacy. As a composer and conductor, he played a pivotal role in shaping the musical landscape of Turkey and contributed to the growth of Western classical music in the country. His work on the Turkish national anthem remains an enduring testament to his talent and dedication to his craft.

The Manas Family and their Artistic Contributions

The Manas family had a long history of artistic prominence within the Ottoman Empire. Edgar Manas’s ancestor, Rafael Manas (Manasyan), was an official artist during the 18th century, known for painting portraits of Ottoman sultans such as Mahmud I, Osman III, and Mustafa III. The family’s artistic contributions extended beyond visual arts to include music, as exemplified by Edgar Manas’s accomplishments.

The Manas family’s contributions to the arts and culture within the Ottoman Empire and Turkey highlight their talent and dedication across generations. Through their work, they have left a lasting impact on the cultural heritage of the region.

Vigen Avetisyan


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