Istanbul Music Festival returns with full program

Istanbul Music Festival returns with full program

Istanbul Music Festival returns with full program The 43rd Istanbul Music Festival is returning for another year this weekend with some of the most celebrated figures in the world of classical music.

Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), will start on May 31 with the opening ceremony and concert to be held at the Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Center. 

Istanbul Music Festival returns with full programThe festival will continue until June 29 with the theme “Cultural Landscapes,” hosting close to 600 local and international artists in Istanbul, including names such as Yuri Bashmet, Boris Berezovsky, Emmanuelle Haïm, Angela Hewitt, Paavo Jarvi, Kim Kashkashian, Gidon Kremer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Fazıl Say, Christian Tetzlaff and Yuja Wang, as well as some of the world’s leading ensembles, including the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Franz List Chamber Orchestra, the Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestra, and the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic. 

As this year’s festival’s resident guest orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen will be putting on two concerts. The festival program will present 27 concerts featuring chamber orchestras, vocal concerts and recitals, as well as two world premieres and three Turkey premieres.

The festival venues include the Hagia Irene Museum, Heybeliada Hagia Triada Monastery, St. Antoine Church, Süreyya Opera House, the Austrian Cultural Office, Surp Vortvots Vorodman Church, İş Sanat Concert Hall, the Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Center, and Boğaziçi University’s Albert Long Hall. The free open-air concert series of the festival, “Weekend Classics,” will welcome viewers at the Garden of the Consulate General of Netherlands, the Selamiçeşme Freedom Park, the Sakıp Sabancı Museum Garden and the Austrian Cultural Office Garden. 

Istanbul Music Festival returns with full program  Istanbul Music Festival returns with full program  Istanbul Music Festival returns with full program

Opening with a world premiere 

The 43rd Istanbul Music Festival will open with the world premiere of the festival’s commission to Hasan Niyazi Tura. The symphonic poem of Hasan Tura, “Song of a Martyr,” commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli and will be performed by tenor Serkan Bodur, accompanied by the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BİPO) under the direction of Sascha Goetzel. The premiere will be followed by teen prodigy Can Çakmur, who has been garnering international awards in recent few years. Accompanied by BİPO, Çakmur will perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.2 in F Major, Op.102. Finally, Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” will be performed as a reference to the festival theme. 

At the opening ceremony, the festival’s honorary award will be presented to Professor Filiz Ali for her contributions to Turkey’s culture and arts 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 educator for over 50 years. Also, the Ayvalık International Music Academy (AIMA) founded by Ali, will perform June 6 at Saint Antoine Church.

Istanbul Music Festival returns with full program The 12 Cellists, an independent ensemble formed by the cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic, will perform at Hagia Eirene Museum on June 1. Since 1972, they have appeared regularly as an ensemble, occasionally in Berlin and often elsewhere. This concert will also feature the Turkey premiere of the German-based Turkish composer Tayfun Erdem’s “March of the Blue Butterflies.”

Kremer, a widely respected violinist, will also be at the festival for a special project. During a concert at Lütfi Kırdar on June 2, Kremer and his ensemble, Kremerata Baltica, will take the audience on a musical journey from Piazzolla to Philip Glass.

Two Turkey premieres will be featured at the concert where Piazzolla’s “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” and Raskatov’s “Seasons Digest” will be performed. Glass’ composition for solo violin and strings, “American Four Seasons,” will be accompanied by video installations produced by multimedia artists including Jonas Mekas, the legendary filmmaker, poet and artist who has often been called “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema.” 

The second Turkey premiere will be by Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Chamber Symphony No.1, Op.145. A “Pre-Concert Talk” by conductor Cem Mansur will be held just before the concert, from 7:30 to 8 p.m.

The world’s oldest string quartet in existence, as well as one of the world’s finest, the Borodin Quartet, will also celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2015 with a major world tour that will bring the quartet back to the festival after a five-year hiatus, this time with the magnetically compelling Berezovsky. 

Widely recognized as “the truest successor to the great Russian pianists,” Berezovsky is a regular guest to prominent orchestras worldwide and his formidable discography is decorated with many international awards, including the Echo Klassik, Choc de la Musique, Diapason d’Or, and the BBC Music Magazine award. In his festival debut, Berezovsky will perform the Dvorak piano quintets with the Borodin Quartet.  

The legendary Borodin Quartet will be presented the festival’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” before the concert on June 4 at the Hagia Eirene Museum. 

The 43rd Istanbul Music Festival will continue in its second week with Say’s Mozart Marathon with four concerts from June 9 to 13, as well as the world premiere of the festival’s commission to Tigran Mansurian by Kashkashian and Peter Nagy on June 10.

For more information and the full program of the festival, please visit

Festival tickets will be on sale at the box office located in the Hagia Eirene Museum throughout the festival.

Istanbul Music Festival returns with full program