‘I am born every day once again,’ says İdil Biret

‘I am born every day once again,’ says İdil Biret

Serhan Yedig - ISTANBUL
‘I am born every day once again,’ says İdil Biret

Internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist İdil Biret is a phenomenon of the music world, boasting a repertoire of 130 concertos, 125 CDs, a magnificent memory and determination to work. She always looks forward, never entertaining regrets.

Following her interpretations of Chopin, Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Schumann, the last of a complete set of Bach/Mozart recordings was released last month with 12 CDs and a documentary DVD.  

In an interview with Hürriyet Kitap Sanat, a new culture and arts supplement from daily Hüriyet, Biret said she was never aware of time as it passes by. “I am born every day once again. I don’t have an age. Maybe that’s why I never think of the past. I think it is too restrictive to put people in an age compartment. But this is so popular, unfortunately,” she said. 

Biret was recently honored with a series of concerts in honor of her 75th birthday. When asked about what made her the happiest and saddest in Turkey, she said, “The increase of skillful artists in our country makes me happy but the indifferent attitude to them make me sad.”

Biret has registered many firsts, but she said it never occurred to her to be proud of them. “When I finish an album project, I never return to it. I make plans about my new recordings. But speaking of some important details, I can mention my recordings of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, 15 CDs including all of Chopin’s works and my recording of Boulez’s three sonatas,” Biret said. 

Despite her extraordinary repertoire, Biret rarely gives marathon concerts, noting that the real marathon is to play the most important works of a piano repertoire in a series of recitals.

“In my childhood in Paris, Arthur Rubinstein performed 17 important piano concertos in a few concerts. That is a marathon. At the Montpelier Festival in 1976, I played nine Beethoven symphonies in three concerts as well as a rarely known Liszt work. I played two Brahms concertos a few times in two concerts. In a single concert, I played the second sonata of Boulez and the second work of his ‘Structures’ at the La Rochelle Contemporary Music Festival. Marathon concerts require too much concentration and strength,” she said.