Metropolis on Two Continents

Istanbul Music Festival kicks off

Istanbul Music Festival kicks off

The 40th Istanbul Music Festival kicks off this week with a concert bringing together a new generation of Turkish singers thriving on the international stage with the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra. The festival will continue until June 29.

The Istanbul Music Festival, the first ever festival of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The festival has hosted over 40,000 artists from Turkey and abroad with nearly 3,000 performances in 40 years.

Sponsored by Borusan Holding since 2006, the festival’s 40th edition begins today, and will present a month full of music until June 29.

The 40th Istanbul Music Festival will host the stars of classical music, such as Hélène Grimaud, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Milos, Ana Moura, Gidon Kremer, the Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. It will also feature two special performances from the Zurich Ballet, as part of the farewell tour of Heinz Spoerli, one of the leading choreographers in Europe. Alongside concerts, the festival will also present talks, educational workshops and speeches.

The festival will continue to contribute to the contemporary music repertory with its commissions of two world-renowned composers. One of the most productive artists of our time, the genius pianist Fazıl Say, and one of most valuable composers of Georgia, Giya Kancheli will have the world premieres of their new works commissioned by the Istanbul Music Festival as part of the festival.

Since 2011, the festival has started to build its program around a theme. The theme of this year’s festival is “Hope and Heroes.” The festival program will present a range of specific works and special concert projects selected within the scope of two intertwined themes such as heroes and hope. Also, special projects titled “Istanbul Music Festival in Search of its Young Soloist,” “Young Masters and Their Heroes” and “Open Conservatory,” which will be held in the Karaköy Greek Primary School, will be carried out.

Along with two world premieres and three Turkish premieres, this year the festival will feature 23 concerts including symphonic and chamber orchestras, vocal concerts, chamber music and recitals. The festival concerts will be held in eight different venues including the Hagia Eirene Museum, the Haliç Congress Center, the Lütfi Kırdar International Convention and Exhibition Center, the Garden of the Netherlands Consulate General, the Süreyya Opera House, the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, the Istanbul University Rectorate Building and the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

Hope and Heroes

The Istanbul Music Festival Director Yeşim Gürer Oymak explained the reason why the festival has built its program around the “Hope and Heroes” theme. “Artists, just like heroes, follow their dreams for a lifetime. They fight for the community – sometimes even running the risk of opposing the community itself – only with the hope that they might one day be appreciated. They light our darkest hours; they inspire us; they instill hope into our exhausted souls and hearts. We invite music lovers to an acoustic realm where hope and heroism reign in the wonderful works of great composers.”

The festival will open with a concert tonight at the Haliç Congress Center, where young Turkish artists Simge Büyükedes, Ezgi Kutlu, Cenk Bıyık and Burak Bilgili will perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, a monumental piece conveying “freedom, equality, and brotherhood,” together with the Turkish Culture Ministry State Polyphonic Choir and Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Sascha Goetzel. On a special evening on June 8, titled “Women Heroes of Music,” one of Turkey’s leading violinists Cihat Aşkın and the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra led by Hakan Şensoy, will perform works from leading female composers from Turkey and the world.

Another special concert, which will be held within the scope of the theme on June 16, will present Hüseyin Sermet accompanied by Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin. The concert will feature Ravel’s “Piano Concerto for Left Hand,” which he wrote for Paul Wittgenstein who “never lost his hope” even though he had lost his right arm during the First World War, and Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony “Eroica,” which depicts heroism for its tragedy as much as its victory.

On June 20, the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Müller Schott will venture into faraway lands in search of “heroes” by performing “Don Quixote” composed by Strauss based on Cervantes’ famous novel and “A Life of a Hero” in which Strauss depicts himself.

Another concert within the theme will be performed by composer Say, accompanied by Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gürer Aykal, in which Say will present Beethoven’s epic piano concerto, “The Emperor.”

The festival will also feature many special projects targeting the young musicians who give hope for the future. The festival launched a project titled “The Istanbul Music Festival is in Search of its Young Soloist,” which invited young musicians to take part in auditions on March 21. The selected soloist will perform with the Istanbul University State Conservatory Symphony June 15.

For more info check http://muzik.iksv.org/en


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