Curtain raises on Istanbul’s 40th year-old music festival

Curtain raises on Istanbul’s 40th year-old music festival

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Curtain raises on Istanbul’s 40th year-old music festival The 40th Istanbul Music Festival kicked off a month of music that will feature 750 artists and 25 performances with a concert May 31 at the Haliç Congress Center.

The opening ceremony of the festival welcomed the musicians participating in the event, as well as many famous figures from the world of art. The festival’s opening concert included a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony by young artists Simge Büyükedes, Ezgi Kutlu, Burak Bilgili and Murat Karahan and was accompanied by the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Sascha Goetzel and the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s State Polyphonic Orchestra.

The festival, which is organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), has hosted more than 40,000 artists from around the world for 3,000 performances over its 40 years.

The festival has been bringing the most select names in classical music to the city for 40 years, İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı said in the opening speech of the festival.

“The first festival was a culture and arts event that opened the doors of classical music to music lovers. Today the festival not only presents quality concerts but also collaborates with international organizations and supports art production by commissioning works from Turkish and foreign composers. It creates opportunities for young artists to improve themselves.”

The festival’s theme in its 40th year is “hopes and heroes,” Eczacıbaşı said. “We believe this festival, which we have been organizing since 1973, gives art lovers new hope every year and contributes to the creation of an environment in which human values will be stronger. I hope this year we will be able to present a festival that will introduce new heroes to audiences, too.”

Honorary Award to Hüseyin Sermet

After the speech, the opening ceremony continued with the presentation of the honorary award, which the festival gives every year to those who have made contributions to classical music in Turkey. This year’s recipient was famous pianist Hüseyin Sermet, who has already received many awards this year, including the Diapason d’Or and the MIDEM Classical Award. Sermet played at the fourth Istanbul Music Festival in 1976, when he was 21 years old, and has since made a career playing with the world’s most famous orchestras and conductors.

The 40th Istanbul Music Festival will continue on June 2 with a concert by young Chinese pianist Yundi at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall.

As in previous years, the festival will also present a lifetime achievement award, which this year will go to Giya Kancheli at a ceremony to be held June 11 at the Aya İrini Museum. Kancheli is Georgia’s most distinguished living composer and a leading figure in the world of contemporary music. He is best known as a composer of symphonies and other large-scale works. At the award ceremony, he will present the world premiere of his symphonic work “Lingerin,” which was commissioned by the festival committee. The concert will commemorate young Turkish cellist Benyamin Sönmez, who was scheduled to perform as a soloist in this concert but died of a heart attack late last year.