Ministry orchestra removes Fazıl Say pieces from program

Ministry orchestra removes Fazıl Say pieces from program

Ministry orchestra removes Fazıl Say pieces from program

DHA Photo

Turkey’s world renowned pianist and composer Fazıl Say has claimed that his pieces have been removed from the program of the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO). “What is the reason? The ministry should reply,” Say asked on his social media account. Say’s works were set to be performed in two concerts by the orchestra in its new season.

After making their new season programs, the executive boards of the state orchestras sent the program to the Culture Ministry General Directorate of Fine Arts. The programs go into effect with the approval of the minister.

In the program that CSO sent to the ministry included Say’s “Istanbul Symphony,” “Hermiyas – The Boy on the Dolphin’s Back” and piano concerto “Water.” According to an online culture and arts portal,, in a concert in November, to be conducted by Rengim Gökmen, Say’s “Istanbul Symphony” was set to be played. Two other works were set to be performed at a concert to be conducted by Naci Özgüç at the ATO Congresium in Ankara in May.

Before the opening concert, the CSO was warned its new season program would not be approved by Culture Minister Ömer Çelik if it did not change Say’s works in its program. The orchestra then made the change and received approval.

“What should we do if these men have problems with ‘Water,’ ‘Yunus’ and ‘Istanbul?’ What should we say? What is the reason for the removal of my pieces from the CSO annual program? I want to learn the reason. The Culture Ministry should respond,” Say wrote on his Twitter account.

Parliamentary question

Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Vice President Sezgin Tanrıkulu presented a parliamentary question concerning the issue, asking if the claims were true or not and if true, the reason for the removal. He also questioned if this move was revenge on Turkey’s world renowned composer.

Speaking to Cem Erciyes from daily Radikal, Say, who is on a tour in Japan, said he was very concerned about the developments.

“I ask myself where we are heading. I think about my own life, my future, my daughter and my friends. I don’t know what will happen next. Over the last few months, the 14-year Piano Festival was taken away from my hand. We used to have concerts with the Borusan Orchestra every year. They canceled our program this year citing an odd reason; it was a similar move. Now the ministry is doing the same thing. They made me incapable of presenting my art that I present all around the world in my own county. What is the purpose?” Say said.

Say is in Japan for eight concerts in two weeks. He played in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto. The last concert is in Kitakami today. He will go to China tomorrow, and will play in Beijing. He will be on stage in St. Petersburg on Nov. 3 and Zurich the next day.