Child prodigy Turkish pianist triumphs abroad
BURSA – DHA
Mert Hakan Şeker, a 10-year-old piano prodigy taking lessons in the northwestern Turkish province of Bursa, winning in his category in the 6th International Music Competition in the Swedish capital Stockholm last week.
Şeker, who also won first prize in another music competition in Germany in April, had talks with Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı recently for the possible reimplementation of the Child Prodigy Law, which would secure state funding for talented young artists.
Şeker is a student of the Anadolu University State Conservatory in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir and had been coming to Bursa three days a week to take lessons from piano coach Elena Çekiç at the Academix Fine Arts. Last month Şeker and his family moved to Bursa to further pursue his piano studies.
After drawing the attention of piano teachers and international experts, Şeker joined a piano competition last year in Bursa where he was assessed by the renowned professors Vladimir Tropp, Tomislav Baynov and Tamara Poddubnaya, as well as internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist Gülsin Onay.
In April, Şeker joined the International Competition Musical Fireworks Baden-Württemberg in the German town of Mühlacker and became the winner among talents from 26 countries.
He then joined the 6th Stockholm International Music Competition in Sweden, held between May 25 and 28, winning ahead of 22 other piano talents in the 10-12 age group.
Four hours a day
Şeker said he practices piano four hours a day in Bursa.
“My father takes care of everything for me. He puts in effort to boost morale and energy. Every new program makes me more motivated,” he added.
Çekiç said she is proud of her young student.
“We got very good comments from good names in Sweden. It makes us happy that we are on the right track. We want to spend this summer very productively, so we will join the Gümüşlük Music Festival in Bodrum and a piano camp to be organized in the U.S.,” said the coach.
Şeker’s manager Rüstem Avcı said he had progressed a long way in a short period of time.
“It is very important to get first prize, but competitions are more important to determine our level and to see our position in the world. What is most important is the reimplementation of the Child Prodigy Law as soon as possible. Then many talented children will be able to receive state support. Our talks with Minister Avcı are continuing and I think it will be submitted for the approval of the council of ministers. We are also in contact with the ministry for Mert’s piano education and career planning. He is an important role model in our country for young children,” he said.
On Feb. 28, Culture Minister Avcı received the child, his father Murat Şeker, Çekiç and Avcı in his office, after which he reportedly ordered ministry officials to work on reinstating the Child Prodigy Law.