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Countdown for Ankara Int'l Jazz Festival

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 1/26/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The capital is set to host well-known national and international jazz artists during the Ankara International Jazz Festival from Feb. 4 to 20. Celebrating its 13th year, the festival's director Özlem Oktar Varoğlu says regardless of sponsorship problems the festival has a mission to promote Turkish jazz around the world. 'The biggest supporter of our festival is the audience and the Ankara press,' she says

The Ankara International Jazz Festival, which plays an important role in promoting jazz music as well as supporting young jazz artists in Turkey, will meet audiences for the 13th time this year.

Organized by the Ankara Jazz Association in collaboration with the Leo Organization, the festival will present a new theme as in previous years. Many Turkish and foreign jazz bands will meet art lovers around the theme of “Jazz and Piano” this year from Feb. 4 to 20.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, the Ankara Jazz Festival director, Özlem Oktar Varoğlu, said the 13th year was meaningful for them as the festival reached a new age. She said concerts used to be organized at the Middle East Technical University, or ODTÜ, every year, but this year there was disagreement about the hall. “We pushed the limits to organize the festival. We felt sorry when the university said it would not give us a hall. Bilkent University received us with open arms, and all concerts will be held at Bilkent,” she said.

Recalling the theme of the festival, “Piano and Jazz,” Varoğlu said they chose various themes in previous years and wanted each instrument to be played at the festival. She said mostly pianists would perform in this year’s festival. “There are world-renowned pianists in Turkey. We were not able to bring all the pianists we desired, but many famous pianists will be with us. Names like Fahir Atakoğlu, Kerem Görsev, Ayşe Tütünce and Burçin Büke will perform during the festival,” Varoğlu said.

Varoğlu also said the opening concert would be dedicated to Tuna Ötenel, who can skillfully play many music instruments, including piano, bass, drum and saxophone.

[HH] No sponsors from Istanbul

Varoğlu said as well as companies from Ankara, the festival received support from international companies. She said their biggest problem was they could not find a sponsor from Istanbul. “This is the biggest problem of organizations held in Ankara. We have not received sponsor support from Istanbul for many years. This is not only our festival; there are many events. All of these should be supported. I am sure this will be very different if each businessman makes an investment in a branch of art he is interested in,” she said.

Varoğlu said the promotion activities of the Ankara Jazz Festival were carried out by Leo Organization. “We were successful, but good promotion depends on good advertising activities. People should do something about this city. When this happens, I believe that we will get more support. There are two big sponsors of this festival; one is the press in Ankara, and the other is the audience,” she said, adding that artists from around the world applied to perform at the festival.

“We introduce them to our country and city, and they talk about us in other parts of the world. This means the festival serves many purposes. Our efforts should be supported,” she said.

[HH] Masters of jazz to meet people of capital

The Ankara International Jazz Festival’s award ceremony was held Jan. 17 with the participation of one the world’s most important jazz pianists, Jacky Terrasson. In addition to world-renowned piano artists like Michiel Borstlap and Antoine Herve, the festival will host Turkish names like Aydın Esen, Nilüfer Verdi and Aşkın Arsunan. The soloist of the concert will be pianist İlham Gencer. There will also be music workshops during the festival along with concerts.

One of Turkey’s biggest orchestras and a highlight of the festival, the Air Force Command Eagles of Jazz Orchestra will perform the protocol concert. The concert is open to the public, but attendance requires a free invitation, which is available from the Ankara Jazz Association.

For further info, visit www.ankaracazfestivali.org or www.leo.com.tr.

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