Valentina Bellanova was born in Florence, Italy, where she later studied musicology and recorder. She then furthered her instrumental studies in Germany at the University of Music, Drama and Media in Hanover, where she obtained her Soloist’s Diploma. She moved to Berlin at the beginning of 2014.
She has been very involved with classical Turkish and Arab music for several years now, also studying their respective aesthetics and theories. Her teachers of Ney and modal music include Ross Daly, Ömer Erdogdular, Kudsi Erguner, whereas she studied the recorder and Early Music with David Bellugi, Federico Maria Sardelli and Ulrich Thieme.
She plays both the Turkish and the Arabic Ney and regularly performs these instruments in various music and theatre projects (for example as soloist in the National Theatre Thuringia, in the NDR Radio Station in Hanover, in the Komische Oper Berlin, in the Philarmonie Berlin, in the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in the Elbphilarmonie Hamburg, in HAU Theater Berlin, Hamburg Kampnagel, in Staattheater Braunschweig, with Fatma Said in Konzerthaus Berlin, in the Duisburg Philarmoniker etc.) and with various ensembles like: Husam Al Ali Ensemble, Almar'a: the Arab and Mediterranean Women Orchestra, Concerto Foscari (international Ensemble for early music), Ensemble Pera, Farmagia, Syriab Ensemble, Dj Sara Dziri, Babylon Orchestra etc)
She´s the first European woman performing the „Istanbul Sinfonie“ by Fazil Say, for example in Staatstheater Braunschweig, in Scharoun Theater Wolfsburg, with the Bergischen Symphonikern in Solingen/Remscheid and the Niederrheinischen Symphonikern in Mönchengladbach.
Recentely she's been developing her personal music performance, called "Wind & Drums“ In this program, the diverse possibilities of the flutes, the neys and other wind instruments (such as duduk, hulusi, whistles, bagpipes and many others) are unfolded in connection with loops, effect pedals and percussion.
Her debut Solo album "Eremos", released in December 2021, embodies her various musical and cultural backgrounds and experiences, including early western and modal music, experimentation and tradition, medieval music, radical improvisation, maqamat and deep investigation of their respective languages.
In addition to working as a freelance musician, she teaches Ney at the BTMK (Berlin Conservatoire of Turkish Music) and recorder at the SOS-Kinderdorf.
She is also involved in research and publishing. For instance, she issued the first edition of Concertos for Recorder by the Neapolitan composer Nicola Fiorenza (published by
Current projects and collaborations:
The VORTEX ensemble brings back to life ancient music from the time between 1100 and 1500. That historical period, which is wrongly called “dark”, reveals instead a great cultural and musical creativity in Italy and in Europe.
Wind & Trommel
My own solo performance using loops and pedals.
Winds of every kind meet frame drums travelling through space and time.
Musik des Nahen Ostens in kammermusikalischem Gestus!
Almar'à - The Arab and Mediterranean Women’s Orchestra
The first orchestra of Arab and Mediterranean women. Created in 2017 between Florence and Rome thanks to the collaboration between Fondazione Fabbrica Europa and the Tunisian socio-cultural Center “Dar Tounsi”, and with the artistic coordination of Ziad Trabelsi.
Inner Unity Ensemble is a new music project founded and curated by Ethnomusicologist, YALDA YAZDANI and MAHAN MIRARAB Musical director and Guitar player in beginning of 2023 proudly with presence of one of the most talented female singers of Iran, SAMIN GHORBANI.
The Premiere concert was held in Duisburg Philharmonie in February 2023.
An orchestra for fusion of Arabic music and European music in Berlin
ein international besetztes junges Ensemble mit Schwerpunkt auf der Musik des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts.
Traditional music from the Italian central Appennine with Massimiliano Di Carlo (Italy)
Ein Projekt das die am wenigsten bekannten Elementen der musikalischen weidewirtschaftlichen Tradition des zentralen Apennin präsentiert. Erzähl, Arbeit und Tanzgesänge vermischen sich mit den Sprachen und Formen der Alte Musik. Klänge und an antiken Mythen gewidmeten Erzählungen werden miteinander verwoben, in einer Verschmelzung die das Heilige mit dem Profan vereint. Mit Massimiliano Di Carlo.
italian traditional music and dances
Ottoman music and whirling ceremonies
Ensemble for traditional music form Balkan to Middle Eastern, together with Markus Wach
Musical pieces from the Greek tradition are presented with piano, violin, ney, lute and percussion. Five musicians, enthusiasts of the genre, who have a connection with traditional as well as improvised music, infiltrate songs of the Greek tradition
DJ, music composer, producer, and performer. Sara Dziri is a versatile artist who keeps adding strings to her bow. Born in Antwerp to a Belgian mother and Tunisian father, Sara uses music as more than a means of expression. The apprenticeship of music quickly became an opportunity to overcome the distance and differences between her two cultures: Belgian and Tunisian. It is also her way of building bridges between people and making them feel like they belong.
The multifaceted identity helped Sara navigate the music industry and establish herself as a pillar of Brussels’ electronic underground in just a few years. 2022 is a key year with a performance composition for Belgian-Moroccan dancer/choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, DJ-residency at Brussels Fuse club, and the release of her debut album ‘Close To Home’ (Optimo Music). The album resulted in a very personal and emotional long-player. Together with Italian soloist Valentina Bellanova, who provided classic Arabic and Turkish Ney on the record, Sara created a signature live show. This live show also got a sidespin tailored for the club.
Sara Dziri is also very active in Brussels nightlife with her intersectional platform Not Your Techno; prioritising female, queer and POC artists.