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Onno Tunç

Onno Tunç
Birth nameOhannes Tunçboyacıyan
BornDecember 20, 1948
Istanbul, Turkey
DiedJanuary 14, 1996(1996-01-14) (aged 47)
Armutlu, Turkey
Occupation(s)Composer, arranger
InstrumentsBass guitar, double bass, piano, keyboards, guitar
Years active1965–1996

Ohannes Tunçboyacıyan (Armenian: Օհաննես Թունչբոյաջյան), better known as Onno Tunç (December 20, 1948 – January 14, 1996), was a leading Armenian-Turkish musician, working mainly as a composer and an arranger. Tunç also played bass guitar and occasionally double bass, contributing to the albums of several musicians. He was the elder brother of musician Arto Tunçboyacıyan.

Early years

Of Armenian descent, Onno Tunç was born in 1948 in Istanbul. His music experience started with the church choir of Harur Mangaz (Hundred students). In his first year of middle school, he had to drop out to go to work to support his family.

Born in a financially limited family, he could not afford a musical instrument although they fascinated him, until Anush ("Sweet" in Armenian), the mother of his friend Arman bought her son a guitar, and one for Onno too. Onno, a fast-learning autodidact, started a music band and soon repaid Anush.


He composed 175 songs and represented Turkey in many European music contests. A very close friend of Turkish singer Sezen Aksu, he co-wrote and composed many of the songs she performed throughout her career, as well as arranging all of her albums. It was widely known that his death tipped Sezen Aksu into depression. She dedicated her album Düş Bahçeleri to Onno (and numerous songs on virtually all of her albums since).

His symphony Su was performed by the Istanbul Symphony Orchestra.

He collaborated with Hulki Aktunç and Dağhan Baydur on the Turkish entry Sevince at the Eurovision Song Contest 1978, which was performed by Nilüfer and Nazar.

In the 80's, he had a relationship with singer-songwriter Sezen Aksu that was both romantic and professional. As a couple they put their signatures to works that broke new ground in Turkish pop music, such as Sen Ağlama (Don't Cry), Git (Go), Sezen Aksu'88 and Sezen Aksu Söylüyor (Sezen Aksu Sings). Sezen's music matured in the 90's, when she co-produced her best selling album to-date Gülümse (Smile) with Onno. The A-1 track from the album called Hadi Bakalım (Come On Now) was a hit in Turkey and Europe, and was published as a single in Germany. It was to be later rediscovered in Europop by singer Loona as Rhythm of the Night. She also began to produce albums for her vocalists, notably producing Aşkın Nur Yengi's debut album Sevgiliye (To a Lover) again with Tunç. She was to repeat her success with artists Erener and Yüksel also.

Onno's younger brother Arto Tunçboyacıyan worked with him musically for 25 years. Arto is highly inspired by his brother, having dedicated numerous songs to him (and the mountain that caused Onno's accident) and an album "Onno" (1996), together with Ara Dinkjian. On performances, you can often read the letters O N N O on Arto's clothing.


Onno Tunç died on January 14, 1996, when his private plane he was piloting crashed in bad weather on a mountain at Tazdağ near Selimiye village of Armutlu, Yalova on his journey from Bursa to İstanbul. Hasan Kanık, his friend aboard also died in the accident. Onno Tunç is buried in Şişli Armenian Catholic Cemetery in İstanbul. He was survived by two daughters Selin and Ayda from his first wife, Canan Ateş.

In 2002, a monument was erected in his memory at the crash site and in the city center of Yalova. The monument to the composer of Armenian origin was subjected to numerous vandalism over the course of the years. In 2012 Yalova City Hall completely disassembled the monument as the city council decided that the old monument was not architecturally great enough for much valued composer. The city council decided to tear down the old one and build newer and more artistic monument instead.[1][2][3]

Onno Tunç tribute

In 2007, several renowned Turkish singers and pop groups came together and released a compilation album Onno Tunç Şarkıları ("Onno Tunç Songs").[4]


  1. ^ Turkish municipality destroys monument of Armenian musician, composer,, 2012
  2. ^ Monument to Armenian musician Onno Tunc destroyed in Turkey, 2012
  3. ^ Onno Tunç anıtını yıktık çünkü..., Sabah, 2012
  4. ^ "A tribute to Tunç on the anniversary of his death". Zaman. 2007-05-30. Archived from the original on 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2008-08-05.

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