Master ney player Salih Bilgin was born in Istanbul in 1960. His family roots are from Bolvadin, Afyon in Western Turkey. In 1980, Bilgin entered the Turkish Music Government Conservatory at Istanbul Technical University. His teachers included Niyazi Sayin (ney), Oezdal Orhon (theory, solfeggio, & repertoire), Hursit Ungay (rhythm), Ahmet Kabakli (literature), and Cafer Acin (organology). In 1984, he graduated from Nefesli Sazlar (Reed Instruments) Ney section and joined the Istanbul Government Classic Music Chorus. Bilgin was among the founders of Izmit Municipal Conservatory and served this instititution for four years.
In 1996, he performed in a series of concerts called Parthenon to IstanbuI with U.S.-based Romeiko Ensemble. The ensemble appeared at Nashville's Parthenon, Boston's Meliotis Center, Princeton University and New York Hunter College. Music from this project was released in the U.S. in 1999. In 2003, Bilgin once again joined Romeiko Ensemble for concerts in St. Berlioz Church in New York, and in Washington D.C. Also in 1996, Bilgin performed in concert with Turkish musicians Sehvar Besiroglu, Serhan Ayhan, Derya Tuerkan and Feridun Oezgeren in Boston as part of MIT Aga Han project. This group of musicians participated in a seminar organized by Harvard University's Middle East Studies Music Group and Musicology Department.
In 1997, as a member of Istanbul Tasavvuf Music and Sema Ensemble, Bilgin performed a Mevlevi ritual in Sarejova's International Bascarsija (Bascarsi) Festival. In addition, he has been a performer with the Turkish Government's Classical Music Chorus both in Turkey and abroad.
In 1999, Bilgin participated in a project presenting the works from Ali Ufki & Kantemir Edvars. (An edvar is a book about musical rules). In this project, fellow musicians were Sehvar Besiroglu, Murat Aydemir, Hueseyin Tuncel and Derya Tuerkan. Later, with the addition of Cengiz Onural to this group, the Cantemir Ensemble was formed. This group produced two albums that accompanied Professor Yalcin Tura's extensive work Kantemiroglu Edvari. Later, Bilgin recorded with Hueseyin Tuncel, Murat Aydemir, Taner Sayacioglu and Derya Tuerkan two more albums to accompany Docent Fikret Kutlug's book Tuerk Musikisinde Makamlar (The Makams of Turkish Music).
Some of Bilgin's other recording works include the "Bir sarkidir Yasamak (Living is a Song)" music series and "Ussak Fasli," by Dogan Dikmen. Bilgin is also the ney player on several recordings produced by the Turkish Music Foundation including recordings by famed vocalists Alaaeddin Yavasca, Inci Cayirli and Melihat Guelses. In addition, Bilgin wrote the chapter on ney for Cetin Koeruekcue's Tuerk Musikisi (Turkish Music).
Between 1989 and September 2001, Bilgin was an instructor at his alma mater. Currently, he is a member of Government Conservatory. He continues to study ney and mouthpiece making, marbling (ebru), and prayer beads (tesbih) under the guidance of his teacher, Niyazi Sayin. Bilgin is married and has a daughter. Salih Bilgin made the ney used in this recording.