Cultural landscapes at Istanbul Music Festival

Cultural landscapes at Istanbul Music Festival

Cultural landscapes at Istanbul Music Festival


The 43rd Istanbul Music Festival, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), will once again present music lovers with a jam-packed program this year between May 31 and June 29. The program was announced at a press meeting on Feb. 3.

The 43rd Istanbul Music Festival will host some 600 local and international artists in Istanbul, including Yuri Bashmet, Boris Berezovsky, Emmanuelle Haïm, Angela Hewitt, Paavo Jarvi, Kim Kashkashian, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Sol Gabetta, Polina Leschenko Christian Tetzlaff, Gidon Kremer, Yuja Wang, as well as some of the world’s leading ensembles, consisting of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Franz List Chamber Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestra, and the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic. This year’s festival’s resident guest orchestra Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen will be putting on two concerts.

The festival, which will be host to two world premieres and three Turkish premieres, will host 27 concerts by symphony and chamber orchestras, vocal concerts and recitals.

The festival will once again be held at a number of different venues. In addition to the Heybeliada Hagia Triada Monastery, which will take part in the festival for the first time, some of the other festival venues will include the Hagia Irene Museum, St. Antoine Church, Süreyya Opera House, Austrian Cultural Office, Surp Vortvots Vorodman Church, İş Sanat Concert Hall, Lütfi Kırdar Conference and Exhibition Center, as well as Boğaziçi University’s Albert Long Hall. The free concert series Weekend Classics will once again greet festival-goers at venues such as the Garden of the Consulate General of the Netherlands, the Selamiçeşme Freedom Park, the Sakıp Sabancı Museum Garden and the Austrian Cultural Office Garden.

The festival, which has been thematically organizing its program since 2011, has been curated under the theme “Cultural Landscapes.” The theme is a reference to the nationalist movement, which arose through the increasing consolidation of European borders in the 19th century and the increasing importance folkloric elements in music that followed this movement, centered on the topics of identity, belonging and geography.

The Festival’s Lifetime Achievement and Honorary Awards

The festival’s “Honorary Award” will be presented to pianist, musicologist, critic, and author Professor Filiz Ali for her contributions to the arts and culture of Turkey through her work on the development and proliferation of polyphonic western music and her valued efforts in training many musicians and musicologists through her role as an educator for over 50 years.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to the Borodin Quartet, who will be celebrating the 70th year of their musical journey. The quartet is considered to be of the 20th and 21st centuries’ most important musical ensembles with their deep interpretations, as well as being one of the oldest quartets still in existence today.

The world premiere of the symphonic poem, commissioned to composer, violin virtuoso and conductor Hasan Niyazi Tura to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli War will take place at the opening concert on May 31 at the Lütfi Kırdar Conference and Exhibition Center. The piece will be performed by the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Sascha Goetzel.

Another piece for viola and piano composed upon the festival’s commission by Tigran Mansurian, one of our times’ greatest Armenian composers, will be performed by viola virtuoso Kim Kashkashian, known as a brilliant musical story teller, and pianist Peter Nagy, alongside whom he performed at the festival two years ago. The world premiere of the piece will be held on June 10 at the Surp Vortvots Vorodman Church.

In Search of its Young Soloists

Started during the festival’s 40th year in order to discover and encourage young talents from across the country, this year’s “Istanbul Music Festival in Search of its Young Soloist” project will be realized in the branch of the flute. Within the scope of the project, a young flute soloist, to be determined by a jury following nation-wide auditions, will earn the opportunity to perform in concert with the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory Symphony Orchestra on June 20 at the Süreyya Opera House.

Pre-concert talks at the festival

Pre-concert talks with festival artists and music journalists that take place prior to various concerts as part of the festival, aspires to provide music lovers with a richer concert experience.

This year’s festival will once again feature valuable speakers, who will provide information about the concert program, composers and performers, as well as share their insightful observations regarding musical works and their periods. While orchestra conductor Cem Mansur, musicologist Ersin Antep, critic Asuman Büke Kafaoğlu, and Istanbul Music Festival Director musicologist Yeşim Gürer Oymak will be providing the audience with information regarding the content of their programs, conductor Hagop Mamigonyan and composer Tigran Mansuryan will be conducting an interview prior to the world premiere of his piece commissioned by the festival.

Flautist Aydın Büke, whose recently published a book on Mozart garnered great interest, will be speaking about the composer and his music before all of the concerts that will be part of the series titled the “Mozart Marathon with Fazıl Say.”

The festival will also be host to a highly-esteemed individual from abroad at its pre-concert events.

Author, music critic and journalist Jessica Duchen writes regularly for publications such as the Independent, BBC Music and Opera News Magazine, in addition to giving talks, being part of various award juries, and keeping a popular blog. She has produced novels, theatre plays, and biographical works. Duchen will meet Istanbul’s music lovers at four different talks prior to four different concerts.

Detailed information regarding the pre-concert talks can be found at
Tickets for the 43rd Istanbul Music Festival will be on sale on Feb. 14.