Istanbul Music Festival comes to outdoor venues
The 49th Istanbul Music Festival concerts will be held in the splendid outdoor venues of Istanbul from Aug. 18 to Sept. 16. With its theme, repertoire and side events, this year’s festival will respond to the question “Is another world possible?” in the language of music.
The festival will for the first time in its history hold all the concerts in its program in outdoor venues. Over the course of one month and in 14 different locations, the festival will host over 30 soloists, ensembles and orchestras from Turkey and abroad.
In 21 concerts organized in the scope of the festival, ensembles such as Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, Accademia Bizantina, Festival Orchestra, Modigliani and casalQuartet along with numerous stars including Fazıl Say, İdil Biret, Khatia Buniatishvili, Anna Vinnitskaya, Alexander Rudin, Hande Küden, Paul Meyer, Simon Ghraichy, Martynas Levickis and Ufuk-Bahar Dördüncü will meet the music lovers of Istanbul.
This year the festival concerts will take place in Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theater Sakıp Sabancı Museum Fıstıklı Teras, UNIQ Istanbul Open-Air Stage, Palais de France, Palazzo di Venezia, ARTER Backyard, Rahmi M. Koç Museum, Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, and St. Benoit French High School Courtyard in compliance with public health measures against the pandemic.
All Istanbul residents are invited to the free weekend concerts to be held in Atatürk Urban Forest, Fenerbahçe Park and Yıldız Park as part of the festival. The free-of-charge talks will also be made available on podcast.
The festival opens with the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra. Under the baton of the conductor Aziz Shokhakimov, the orchestra will accompany the pianist Anna Vinnitskaya on Aug. 18 at Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theater.
Awarded since 2012 by İKSV to contribute to the development of the musicians of the future, the Aydın Gün Encouragement Award 2020 goes to the 29-year-old violinist Alican Süner. The winner of the 2019 award, the violinist Elvin Hoxha Ganiyev, will also receive his award at the festival’s opening ceremony.
This year, the festival’s Honorary Award will be presented to the international representative of the Turkish Violin School, Cihat Aşkın, while the Lifelong Achievement Award will be given to the Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks.
Festival hosts four world premieres
Along with the Turkey premiere of Pēteris Vasks’s latest composition, the festival will host the world premieres of four works.
The Istanbul Music Festival celebrates the 100th birthday of İlhan Usmanbaş who has committed his entire life to music, innovation and the voice of the “other” and brought contemporary characteristics to the music of Turkey through the innovative style of his compositions. The artist’s works which require finesse in their rendition will be performed by Diskant Contemporary Music Ensemble.
In 2021, which has been declared the year of commemorating Yunus Emre by UNESCO, the festival focuses on the folk poet with yet another project titled “Yellow Flower.” The concert will present the first performance of the new compositions written especially for the festival by Şirin Pancaroğlu and Bora Uymaz and merged with the verses of Yunus Emre.
Fazıl Say participates in the festival with a concert where he will perform his works titled “Mount Ida” and “The Walking Mansion.” The violinist Friedemann Eichhorn, who has brilliant collaborations in chamber music with artists such as Gidon Kremer and Yuri Bashmet, will join Say on stage for this concert.
Among the foremost representatives of the Russian school of musical interpretation, world-renowned cellist, conductor and harpsichordist Alexander Rudin is participating in the festival to further consolidate the strong bond he has established with the musicians and music lovers. Rudin will be joined by the pianist İris Şentürker and the violist Efdal Altun.
İdil Biret celebrates her 80th birthday
Pianist İdil Biret, who has crowned her musical journey by performing with the world’s most distinguished orchestras, celebrates her 80th birthday at the Istanbul Music Festival.
In this special concert Biret is accompanied by the Festival Orchestra under the baton of Can Okan.
The “BIPO Focus” section of the Istanbul Music Festival comprises three concerts. In the first concert of the series, Borusan Quartet and clarinetist Paul Meyer will be on stage.
In the second concert titled “Piazzolla’s 100th Birthday,” Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra will accompany the accordionist Martynas Levickis.
In the final concert of “BIPO Focus” will host the star pianist Khatia Buniatishvili.
Marking a first in the 139-year-long established history of the Berlin Philharmonic, which is one of the world’s most prominent orchestras, the violinist Hande Küden became the first ever musician from Turkey to be accepted to the ensemble and plays in the first violin section of the orchestra. Küden will be accompanied by the Festival Orchestra conducted by Cem Mansur.
Ufuk & Bahar Dördüncü participate in the festival with their project “La Scène Révoltée.”
One of the most striking artists of his generation, the French pianist of Mexican and Lebanese-origin Simon Ghraichy will take music lovers on an intercultural adventure with a concert at the festival, too.
An expert in the execution and aesthetics of baroque music, Accademia Bizantina in full harmony with its first violinist Alessandro Tampieri will offer music lovers an extraordinary experience with the luminous mezzo-soprano of the music world Sophie Rennert.
The festival tickets will be on sale June 25.