Istanbul Music Festival opens

Istanbul Music Festival opens

Istanbul Music Festival opens The 44th Istanbul Music Festival, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), kicked off on June 1 with an opening ceremony and concert at the Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Center. 
The festival will present music lovers with an impressive program built around this year’s theme inspired by Shakespeare’s verse, “If Music be the Food of Love, Play On.”

Hosting close to 600 local and international artists, two world premieres and one Turkey premiere, this year’s festival will feature 26 concerts, comprising symphony and chamber orchestras, recitals and special projects. 
In the opening ceremony, gratitude plaques were presented to the authorities of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and the Kadıköy Municipality for their support of the festival and to the representatives of Boğaziçi University, İş Sanat and the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) for their venue support for the festival.

Alo, the Tekfen Foundation, Türkiye İş Bank, Mercedes-Benz Türk AŞ, the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIPO), Eczacıbaşı Holding, Vodafone Turkey, DHL, The Marmara Collection and Zurich Insurance Group were also presented with gratitude plaques for their support of the festival. 

The 44th Istanbul Music Festival’s Honorary Award was presented to composer İlhan Baran for his contributions to the standing of Turkish music, both at home and abroad, through his compositions and his work in education. Baran’s students include Fazıl Say, Muhiddin Dürrüoğlu-Demiriz, Yeşim Alkaya, Burçin Büke, Oya Ünler, and Ayşe Deniz Gökçin and his compositions for piano have become part of the core conservatory curriculum. 

The festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Murray Perahia, one of the legendary pianists of our time. Having performed in the world’s leading concert halls and festivals, recorded countless albums and received multiple Gramophone awards, as well as two Grammy’s, Perahia will receive his award preceding his concert at the Hagia Eirene Museum on June 6, with one of the most esteemed orchestras in the world, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. 

Following the ceremony, the 44th Istanbul Music Festival began with a concert by Dmitry Masleev, the winner of the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, accompanied by the festival’s resident orchestra, BIPO, under the conductorship of Sacha Goetzel. 

First week at the festival 

This year, taken from Shakespeare’s verse, “If Music be the Food of Love, Play On,” the theme of the 44th Istanbul Music Festival will commemorate the great bard on the 400th year of his passing with the concert, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Composed by Mendelssohn for one of Shakespeare’s most colorful plays with the same name, the piece will bring the Orchestra of the Swan together with soprano Ayşe Şenogul, the recipient of the 2015 Leyla Gencer Voice Competition Audience Award, and actress Tilbe Saran. Young British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen will be the soloist of the Orchestra of the Swan in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, the composer’s final large orchestral work. The concert will be held at the Hagia Eirene Museum tonight. 

This year’s program includes a new event, entitled Music Route, to be held across Beyoğlu’s historic venues. Concerts will take place in the Surp Yerrortutyun Church, the Church of Panayia Isodion, the Sent Antuan Lower Church, the Palais de Hollande Chapel and the Crimea Memorial Church. 

The first of this year’s “A Classical Constellation” concerts features a legendary name from the world of classical music, pianist Maria João Pires, and her regular music partner, acclaimed cellist Antonio Meneses, on June 4. 

Weekend Classics, which has received great interest in the past two editions, continues with free of charge open-air concerts on weekends. The first of the concert series will be held on June 5 at the Garden of Austrian Culture Forum with the Viennese string ensemble, the Auner Quartet. 

Highlights of the festival  

The second week of the festival will open with one of today’s best chamber orchestras, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. The orchestra and its principal guest conductor, legendary pianist Murray Perahia, will visit the festival for two concerts on June 6 and 7.  

The first concert will feature Mozart’s 9th Piano Concerto with Perahia at the piano, as well as Mendelssohn’s last symphony and Schumann’s second, with Perahia on the conductor’s podium.

The 44th Istanbul Music Festival’s Guest Orchestra in Residence, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, will meet festivalgoers two nights in a row at the İş Sanat Concert Hall on June 17 and 18. 

The first concert will feature multi-Echo Klassik-winning pianist Herbert Schuch while the second one will present the most beloved works by 19th century Europe’s greatest composers. 

The festival will also commemorate the iconic voice of France who interpreted some of the most beautiful love songs of the 20th century, Edith Piaf, with a special concert. One of the greatest accordionists of the modern era with a compositional range including classical music and jazz, Richard Galliano, and unimpeachable jazz guitarist Sylvian Luc will be the festival’s guests, reinterpreting Piaf’s unforgettable chansons to honor the year of her birth. This special project will be held at the French Palace Garden on June 22. 

The other highlights of the festival include Yehudi Menuhin’s Menuhin Academy Soloists on June 9, the Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble on June 16 and the Venice Baroque Orchestra & Patricia Petibon on June 20. 

The closing performance of the festival will be given by Vienna’s cultural ambassador and premier concert orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, which will get together with the sensational Alice Sara Ott on June 24.