Renowned twin pianists teach young Turkish musicians
With three separate educational projects conducted for over 10 years, Turkey’s world-renowned pianist twins Güher and Süher Pekinel aim to increase the number of Turkish musicians introduced to the world stage by reaching 500,000 children over two years.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, the Pekinel sisters said that they have been conducting education programs to train young musicians in Anatolia.
Güher Pekinel pointed out that one of the most important tasks of an artist is to educate the future generations and that they are working so that young people can grow up with music.
She stated that they were giving music education to children starting from kindergarten with their project, “Güher-Süher Pekinel Anatolian Carl Orff Education,” to spread music to Anatolia, and they also tried to include other fields of art in their projects.
Stating that music has a much deeper impact on children, Pekinel said, “We want access to the last village. Schools that are in good condition can already pay their teachers’ fees, but most schools in Anatolia cannot. Thanks to QNB Finansbank, we trained our instructors. For three years, we tested whether the program was sustainable or not. This year, as a first in Turkey, we will access 40 cities in Anatolia with 1,200 teachers. We will provide education to 200,000 pre-school and primary school children. This happiness is more than our happiness at a concert.”
Süher Pekinel said that during the education, the families also came with their children and listened to the lessons and that people in Anatolia were eager to learn.
“Güher- Süher Pekinel Anadolu Carl Orff Training project is carried out with the Ministry of National Education (MEB). Our goal is to reach 500,000 children in two years. In collaboration with MEB, a total of six music teachers receive English language education at the Salzburg Mozarteum Institute on a scholarship and then receive the best international education in the field of Orff Schulwerk. When they returned to Turkey, these teachers gave seminars for pre-school and music teachers in state schools in Anatolia. The teachers who took the seminar transformed it for other teachers and then, children in their provinces and districts,” she said.
Stating that they want to spread the project to universities through the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), Süher Pekinel said, “YÖK President listened to us with all interest. ‘Whenever you want, I am ready,’ he said. We wish to meet him again.”
Güher Pekinel stated that with their other project, “Güher-Süher Pekinel Tevitol Music Department,” they aim to contribute to the development of young people in a way to invest and support art and artists with social responsibility awareness.
She said that they have been giving music history, solfege, theory and instrumental lessons since 2006 in the “G&S Pekinel Music Department” in TEVİTÖL High School in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, where gifted children chosen from all around Turkey are attending, and that every year they have a very successful alumni.
Güher Pekinel stated that the top executives and business people should support the artists and that everything cannot be expected from the state.
“Today’s graduates are one step ahead of whatever they study in American universities. These young people, who are accepted to the leading universities of the world like Harvard, Princeton and Berkeley on scholarships, continue making music in their academic life in the orchestras of these universities and provide social adaptation much more quickly. These universities are very supportive of music education. One of our students plays in two orchestras at Harvard, for example,” Güher Pekinel said.
Güher Pekinel said that they also created their “Young Musicians on World Stage” project in order to give their 45-year accumulation to Turkey. She said that the project gained many successes for six years.
She said that the starting point of the project was to continue and strengthen Turkey’s presence in the international arena, help young people represent Turkey in the world, and continued: “We lost two generations in music. Training paused. New teachers could not be admitted to the conservatories. We want successful young people to make their name heard abroad. We discover these children at an early age and provide instrument support. We buy 18th century instruments. We also require these students to enter the best international competitions after a year.”
Süher Pekinel said that 15-year-old talented children emerged in many countries in the world and that they wanted such children in Turkey to enter these competitions, too.
She said that conservatory students competed to apply this program and that they met students and their families after the application.
Süher Pekinel gave the example of Can Çakmur, a 21-year-old pianist born in Ankara, who took part in the programs and was the world champion in two international competitions.
“If you are very good and you can maintain that standard, the doors open to you. Orchestras in Turkey should invite these young people for concerts,” she said.