Zeynep Öykü began studying music at the age of 10, with the piano. She met the harp at the age 13 in England, where she was attending a summer school on visual arts. With the small Celtic harp she bought there, she began her adventure. After a period of struggling in a country with so few harpists, she travelled to Eskisehir to take her first harp lessons from Ceren Necipoglu, professor at Eskisehir Anadolu University. She then moved on to studying with Sirin Pancaroglu, and finally İpek Mine Sonakin.
Realizing that in Turkey she'd be a big fish in a small pond, she sought to broaden her horizon by attending summer schools and taking masterclasses around the world, working with master harpists such as Susan Allen in the USA, Isabelle Perrin in France, Ernestine Stoop and Erika Waardenburg in the Netherlands, Jana Bouskova in Belgium and so on. Coming from a multilingual background, she began the first ever easily accessible and affordable harp course in Turkey in cooperation with the Ecole Francophone de Musique d'Istanbul (French school of music in Istanbul), in 2011. Since then she has been teaching both privately and in the school, to students aged 8 to 40.
Zeynep Öykü is not the type to accept the limits and cliches about the harp, she always seeks to find new ways of doing things. In this age where being a musician also means accepting getting no pay, she decided to be completely independent, and for this purpose decided to become her own producer. She cut her harp study in Codarts, Rotterdam short and began studying Audio Production instead. In Istanbul she studied Sound Engineering while working as a harp teacher, and now she is in London completing her degree on Audio Production.
Looking for new context for the harp, she took the harp out of its shell and into very unusual places such as a theremin-harp duo or metal bands. Zeynep Öykü played as guest musician on a number of metal albums including bands such as Wolves in the Throne Room and Imperia as well as playing as a member in the Turkish symphonic metal band Senfonya. Their theremin and harp duo with Turkey's number one Theremin player Cihan Gulbudak proved very popular when they made it all the way to the finals in the 'Turkey's got talent' TV show. Her other popular TV appearances include the program 13&13 in TRT (Turkish National television) which brought together artists and musicians improvising together, and the famous 'Doga İcin Cal' (Play for Nature) project aiming to raise environmental awareness in Turkey. Her latest project was Taksim Taksim, a collaboration with dancer Berrak Yedek which explored Ottoman music and dance. In this project she performed classical Turkish music piece alongside renowned Turkish Classical music performers like Murat Aydemir and Salih Bilgin.
Being a Sound Engineer as well as a musician, Zeynep Öykü hosted the first ever radio show about the harp in Turkey and perhaps in the world. During two seasons in Acik Radio station, she introduced harp music and composers for a full hour every week in her program '47 tel 2 el' (47 strings, 2 hands). The recordings of these programs can be found in the 47 tel 2 el program blog. Zeynep Öykü believes that it is her duty to show the world that the harp is not a pretty instrument that angels play, but it is very real, here in this world, for us to play and create with. Although she has regretfully left her students behind in Istanbul when moving to London, her aim is to one day start a large scale harp school in her hometown.