Romanian Prince Cantemir, a composer, collector and researcher of Turkish music, very important in Turkish musical history. He was born in Iaş, and died in Harkov.

Demetrie Cantemir was a descendant of Genghis Han (?-1227). When his grandfather, also a descendant of Genghis Han, converted to Christianity, he took the name “Teodor” and entered the Romanian lineages. Dimitrie’ father was Constantine Cantemir III (1614-1693), Ottoman governor of Moldavia between 1685-93. Dimitrie was Constantine III’s youngest son. Cantemir came to Istanbul at the age of 14, and lived here for 21 years. He received a high-quality education, first at the palace in Iaş, and later in the Ottoman Palace during the reign of Ahmet II. There he learned many eastern languages and cultures. Among the languages he spoke were Romanian, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Slovenian, Greek, Latin, Russian, German, French, Italian and Hungarian. He was also involved in literature and was a poet. He studied Turkish music with Ahmet Çelebi of Edirne, and tanbur with Tanbûrî Angeli. He also trained several musicians including Fenerli Ralaki Evpragiotis, Bardakçızâde Mehmet Çelebi and Taşçızâde Sinek Mehmet Çelebi. (For detailed information about this composer, see the article by Namık Sinan Turan, “Prince Dimitri Kantemir” in the articles section of this website.)