Chronological Order

Thematic order


Ayşe Sultan (Osmanoğlu)

Ayşe Sultan (Osmanoğlu)

First female composer of a march during the era of the Ottoman Empire
"Distorted history is merely a fable."

Date of Birth: 02/11/1887 1887

Place of Birth: Istanbul

Date of Death: 10/08/1960 1960

Place of Death: Istanbul

Burial Site: Yahya Efendi Cemetery, Şehzâde ve Kadınlar Shrine, Beşiktaş, Istanbul



Ayşe Sultan (Osmanoğlu)

Field of Activity


Ayşe Sultan began composing music when she was twelve. She played the harp, violin, and the piano for which she composed many of her pieces. "The March for His Imperial Majesty, the Caliph Abdulmecid Khan" ("Majesteleri Halife II. Abdülmecid Han İçin Marş") was the first march composed by a woman during the period of the Ottoman Empire.

Compositions of Ayşe Sultan
(a selection)
Ayse Sultan as Author
"To quickly describe the history of a people in a country where so much has changed – from language to form of government, from way of dress to belief system – is no easy task. Misguided writing generally produces a mosaic that doesn't fit together. "Distorted history is merely a fable."
(Ayşe Sultan)

In 1924 after the founding of the Turkish Republic, Ayse Sultan, like many other members of the Ottoman dynasty, was forced into exile. When she returned to Turkey in 1952 she adopted the last name "Osmanoğlu" which she used when she wrote her memoir.

Excerpts from her memoir "My Father, Abdülhamid" were published periodically in Hayat Magazine

Her Books

1984 Ayşe Osmanoğlu, Babam Sultan Abdlhamid (Hatıralarım), Selçuk Yayınları, Istanbul.

2008 Ayşe Osmanoğlu, Babam Sultan Abdülhamid, Selis Kitap, Istanbul.


(No information available)


(No information available)


Ayse Sultan was home schooled by private tutors.

Her Music Teachers

Italo Selvelli (composition)
Heygel (piano) -- Heygel was a student of Franz Liszt
Colonel Lombardi (classical Western music, piano)
Edgar Manas (music theory)
Devlet Efendi (classical Turkish music)

Contributions to Society

(No information available)

Family and Friends

  • Mother:Müşfika Kadınefendi
  • Father:Sultan Abdülhamid, the II. (regnal year 1876 –1909)
  • Sons:Ömer Nami Osmanoğlu (lawyer), Osman Nami Osmanoğlu (engineer), Abdülhamid Rauf Osmanoğlu
  • Grandmother:Tirimüjgan Sultan
  • Grandfather:Sultan Abdülmecid, the I (regnal year 1839-1861)
  • Uncle:Sultan Murad, the V. (regnal time May 30 – August 31, 1876)
  • Husband:Damat Ahmed Nami Bey (later president of Syria), Müşir Rauf Paşazade (colonel), Da¬mat Mehmed Ali Bey
  • Friends:Yılmaz Öztuna (journalist, politician)

Commemorative Projects

Ayse Sultan Forest

Today a residential district in Istanbul is still called the Ayse Sultan Forest. Once a real forest, it is located in the Bebek area between Rumelihisar and Boğaziçi University. After the exile of the Ottoman dynasty in 1924 at the dawn of the Republic, Ayse Sultan while in Paris sold her land to Sami Serozan. Her thirty-eight bedroom manor house collapsed in 1958. In the 1960s the land was sub-divided and villas and condominiums were erected. From the great variety of trees in the former forest of Ayse Sultan still grow now in the neighborhood including some cedar, cypress, Judas trees, laurel, walnut, mulberry, maple, oak and mastic trees.

Music Projects

The composition of Ayse Sultan "Majestleri Halife II. Abdülmecit Han İçin Marş" is in the following albums:

Beşibiryerde, Classical Turkish Music, Ada Müzik, 2005.

Osmanlı Saray Müziği / Ottoman Court Music / Musik am Sultanshof, Vedat Kosal-Henschell Quartett, 2003.

Further Reading

Nermin Bezmen, "Ayşe Sultan'da Ayşe Sultan'la Zaman", Chronicle Dergisi, 21.12.2009, (Erişim 28.2.1012).

Raif Ogan, Sultan Abdülhamid İftiralara Cevaplar, 2008.

"Osmanlı Sarayı'ndan Avrupa Müziği", 26.7.2000, (Erişim 28.2.2012).

"Mızıka-yı Hümayun Marşları",,


Quoted Sources

Translation into English: Emre Aslay, Chicago Illinois, USA
Editing: Susan Strane, Chilmark, Massachusetts, USA

©2012 Meral Akkent
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