First chamber orchestra of Diyarbakır

First chamber orchestra of Diyarbakır

DİYARBAKIR - Anatolia News Agency
First chamber orchestra of Diyarbakır

A group made up of almost all newly appointed music teachers form the first chamber orchestra in Diyarbakır. Their goal is to have wider audiences listen to the melodies of various instruments. AA photos

A group of young music teachers have formed the first orchestra in Turkey’s southeastern region.

Serhat Atalay, who is a violin teacher at the Diyarbakır Anadolu Fine Arts School, had a dream of forming an orchestra that would play classical music only. He told this dream to his former graduate students, some of whom are working as music teachers in various districts of the city. He also shared his dream on a social network website. A short time later a group made up of almost all newly appointed music teachers gathered together to form the orchestra in Diyarbakır. Their goal was to have wider audiences listen to the melodies of various instruments, most of which were not even known by their students.

Atalay, the chief conductor of the orchestra, said he was a native of Diyarbakır and it was a big gap that the city did not have a string instrument orchestra. He said he began working to make his dream come true and also fill the gap in the city, and reached out to his former students who had been appointed to schools in the city for this purpose.

He said he received many responses when he shared his idea of forming an orchestra on a social website. “Then we formed our orchestra with 23 people. Thirteen or fourteen of them are my former students. My students finished university and were appointed to Diyarbakır as teachers. Now they are playing for our orchestra. We generally work on weekends. Six of my friends are working in our district school. It was my dream to form such an orchestra. Diyarbakır has its own folksongs. We wanted to have new melodies, wanted our people to hear the symphonies of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Our goal is to make the people of the city love classical music.”

He said the Provincial Cultural Directorate also provided support for them. “Everyone is voluntarily joining the orchestra. This is the first string instrument orchestra in the southeastern region.”
People curious about melodies they hear
 One of the orchestra members, Ceren Albayrak said she was from the southern province of Mersin and had been working for a boarding school in Hani district of Diyarbakır for two years. “It takes two to three hours to come to Diyarbakır from Hani for orchestra work,” she said to express the difficulty of transportation.

“But my love for music beats this difficulty,” she said. “Diyarbakır needed such a formation. All of us had classical music education. This is a big advantage. I am from Mersin and there are many who have classical music education and who listen to classical music there. But here folk songs are more dominant; classical music is a bit strange for the region’s people. I observe this in my students. When they first listen to it, they get bored but later on they are curious about it. What we are doing will be very useful for the city. I believe that classical music have a very good impression on people.”

Albayrak said their purpose was to introduce classical music especially in the eastern and southeastern region and to make people listen to a different melody. “We saw this effect even in our first concert. We performed a symphony from French Joseph Haydn in the concert. We received very good reactions from listeners. They asked what it was and were curious about the melodies they heard,” she said.

Next goal is to form a symphony orcehstra
The head violinist of the orchestra, Zekeriya Okut, who is working as a music teacher for a primary school in Kulp district, said they had taken a courageous step to form the orchestra and reached a good level thanks to hard work.

Okut said they performed music that the local people were not accustomed to. “I believe that people will love classical music. Our dream is to form a symphony orchestra in Diyarbakır in the future. Our orchestra is open to everyone. We call for everyone who has set their heart on music.”

Another orchestra member, Seçil Seda Bozkurt, who is working in Mardin’s Mazıdağı, said she got in touch with Atalay through the social website and joined. “I was playing my flute for children only. Now it is a great pleasure to perform as part of the orchestra,” she said.

School constructed with public contributions

One of the projects initiated as part of daily Milliyet’s campaign for the eastern Anatolian region was the establishment of the Anadolu Fine Arts School. The construction of the school started on Sept. 20, 1998, and it was the first fine arts school in the region. Thousands of readers financially contributed to the campaign for the school. Many Turkish organizations provided the needs of the school. Turkish singer Sezen Aksu also donated her $350,000 house to the campaign.