Letting Istanbul listen to music for 44 years

Letting Istanbul listen to music for 44 years

This year in June music lovers will again be able to enjoy famous vocalists and ensembles during the Istanbul Music Festival - not only in Istanbul but all over Turkey. 

Older generations remember how Istanbul summers were almost silent before this festival first began. There were no events featuring Western classical music, though Turkish artists sometimes sang in a few city gardens: The Tepebaşı garden, Küçükçiftlik Park, and Çifte Saraylar. In winters we would listen to famous vocalists in the Saray Cinema. 

This year the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIFO), led by Sacha Goetzel, will perform the inauguration concert at the festival, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV). Each year a young Turkish vocalist accompanies the BIFO, and this year another young but foreign soloist will be accompanying it: The pianist Dmitry Masleev.

Masleev has an interesting story. He won first place due to the jury and the people’s recognition during the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Piano Contest, but lost his mother during the course of the festival. Still, Masleev won the contest with an exceptional performance. Now, this year he will be opening the Istanbul Music Festival with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1. 

For me, this year’s festival’s most eye-catching concerts carry the name of İdil Biret. Biret will be breaking new ground at the festival for a marathon of performing at different times and different venues - and will soon be celebrating her 75th birthday!

 You will read about the characteristics, novelties and themes of the festival in the news. 

This year’s program was inspired by the quotation “If music be the food of love, play on” from “Twelfth Night” by Shakespeare, who is being commemorated around the world on his 400th anniversary of death. There will be two world premieres as well as a Turkish premiere during the festival; the latter is by composer Özkan Manav, who wrote the piece especially for the festival. 

“Throughout the festival we will be working once more, as we have always done, toward our goal of disseminating the culture, the love and the adoration of classical music. We will be maintaining our free-of-charge open air concerts during the weekends, and we believe the festival will be able to reach larger audiences with these concerts,” said IKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı during the press meeting to announce the festival.

“This year we will be organizing an important event to introduce younger generations to classical music, inviting children to set out on a fun musical journey during a concert called ‘The Witch and the Maestro,’” he added. 

“The festival will be sponsored by the E.C.A. Diecasting Industry, and we are happy to bring our collaboration to a whole new level during the festival. I would also once more like to express my gratitude to Borusan Holding, who has supported our festivals for many years as a sponsor. This cherished collaboration will continue with performances by the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra until 2020,” Eczacıbaşı said.

I don’t know about you, but my June program is already set.