Turkish Delight

Looking out over the magnificent sweeping double staircase from the second floor. 16th Century paintings by Agnolo Bronzino, an Italian Mannerist Painter and contemporary of Michaelangelo.  In the musician's alcove, elegant stained-glass windows, a carved ceiling replete with 18th century gold leaf allegorical paintings and two immaculately restored archangels perch high on a gold leaf chest, welcoming visitors with an extended arm and the promise of warm Turkish hospitality.

Looking out over the magnificent sweeping double staircase from the second floor. 16th Century paintings by Agnolo Bronzino, an Italian Mannerist Painter and contemporary of Michaelangelo. In the musician's alcove, elegant stained-glass windows, a carved ceiling replete with 18th century gold leaf allegorical paintings and two immaculately restored archangels perch high on a gold leaf chest, welcoming visitors with an extended arm and the promise of warm Turkish hospitality.

Apparently, the news of a bachelor Ambassador’s appointment to Washington, D.C. surprised a lot of people. “I’ll never forget the moment Nabi called,” says Gülgün. “He was calling from Vienna in Austria, I was at my aunt’s summer house in Çesme, near Izmir, sitting by the pool. When he said, “It’s Washington!” all I could say was “Congratulations” and “Best of luck.” After numerous phone calls and a number of trips between Ankara and Izmir, “He finally said, ‘I have to discuss something with you.’ And I knew what it was.”

“I never even came close to marrying before,” he said, “until I met Gülgün. I feel I want to spend the rest of my life with her.”

: Ambassador’s Son and Atlantic Record Founder

Wherever Turkish Ambassador Ertegün and his family lived, there was always music at home. When they moved to this segregated city in 1936, his two sons Ahmet and Nasuhi, already had a record collection of 25,000 blues and jazz records. But it was their live Sunday music salons with young and performing to integrated audiences that shocked Washington’s elite.

Attending prep school during the day, Ahmet and his older brother frequented Washington’s musical haunts by night like the Howard Theater. When their father died in 1944, they both decided to stay in America and pursue musical careers; Nasuhi chose Los Angeles and Ahmet, Washington. With partner Herb Abramson, Ahmet launched Atlantic Records on a $10,000 loan from his Turkish dentist Vahdi Sabit and the rest is history: recording some of the greatest African-American musicians and changing music forever. He began with Big Joe Turner, and ; discovered , and ; branched out to Bobby Darin, , the Bee Gees, , the Allman Brothers; signed the Rolling Stones and most recently, and .

In October 2006, Ahmet fell backstage during the Rolling Stones’ New York concert and went into a coma. He passed away on December 14, 2006, at the age of 83.

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