Born in Ankara, Turkey in 1978. He began his classical guitar studies at the age of twelve. He has studied with Ayhan Akkaya, Soner Egesel, Bekir Kucukay and Ricardo Moyano between 1996-2006 and attended masterclasses of guitarists such as Roland Dyens, Carlo Domeniconi, Dale Kavanagh, William Kanensiger and Jorge Cardoso.
He received both Master of Music and PhD degrees in classical guitar from Istanbul Technical University, Center for Advanced Studies in Music where he studied with Soner Egesel and Bekir Küçükay. His PhD thesis is entitled ‘The Adaptation of Baglama Techniques into Classical Guitar Performance’ and it was published by VDM Publishing in 2011.
He designed the Adjustable Microtonal Guitar in 2008. His first CD with microtonal guitar, Atlas, was published in 2012 by Kalan Music. His microtonal and fretless guitar duo and lecture recital, ‘Microtonal Guitar Music,’ has taken him to many festivals and universities in 33 countries. Tolgahan has built a unique repertoire of works for microtonal guitar by collaborating with 38 composers up to now.
In 2014, he received two prestigious awards: 1st Prize in Margaret Guthman Musical Instruments Competition at Georgia Tech University and “Special Award” in 5. Donizetti Classical Music Awards. He founded the classical guitar department at Istanbul Technical University, Turkish Music State Conservatory in 2010 and the world’s first microtonal guitar department in 2014. He became an Associate Professor in 2013.
His second CD ‘Microtonal Guitar Duo’ has been published by Kalan Music in June 2015. His recording of William Allaudin Mathieu’s three-movement ‘Lattice-İşi’ in just intonation was published in the US in 2016. He completed a research project entitled ‘Historical Tunings on Microtonal Guitar’ at the University of Bristol in 2016. Between 2015-2017 he collaborated with the University of Music Würzburg for the project ‘Creating and Presenting a Repertoire for the Microtonal Guitar’ supported by DAAD in which twelve composers wrote pieces for microtonal guitar and ensemble.
Tolgahan now lives in Istanbul, Turkey where he teaches at Istanbul Technical University, Turkish Music Conservatory (Elementary School, High School and Undergraduate) and Center for Advanced Studies in Music (Masters and PhD).