Turkish maestro chosen as ‘principal guest conductor’ for Iranian symphony orchestra

Turkish maestro chosen as ‘principal guest conductor’ for Iranian symphony orchestra

Umut Erdem – ANKARA
Turkish maestro chosen as ‘principal guest conductor’ for Iranian symphony orchestra


Turkish conductor Erol Erdinç has given his first concert with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra as the “principal guest conductor,” after the orchestra’s world renowned Iranian conductor, Alexander Rahbari, called on him to conduct the orchestra four times and lead a masterclass.

Rahbari, who lived outside of Iran for forty years and returned to Iran to reopen the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in May after four years of closure, chose Erdinç to give four concerts in the 2015-2016 season, head a masterclass of future conductors and accompany them on their world tour. 

Erdinç, who was granted the title among a list of 25 potential candidates, has already given his first concert with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 4 in Iran’s capital, conducting the orchestra for Mozart’s Requiem. 

Erdinç has 16 students who are candidates to become a conductor and to whom he will give a masterclass, the first one offered to future-conductors in Iran. 

‘Tehran orchestra’s will to work is great’

Answering daily Hürriyet’s questions after his first concert with the orchestra in Iran, Erdinç said the concert had been very successful, both in terms of performance and the presence an audience who appreciated music. 

“I have not seen any orchestra before, including the Leningrad Philharmonic and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra with which I have performed, that has so much discipline,” said Erdinç, adding that all of the musicians were Iranian. 

“Their will to work is great. They give all in. Maybe I can only compare them with the Leningrad [Philharmonic] in regards to their discipline. Their behaviors are very kind and they are proud of what they do,” Erdinç added. 

Erdinç will perform with the orchestra in Tehran on Dec. 30-31 of this year, in addition to May 4-5, 2016, and Aug. 17-18, 2016. He will also accompany the orchestra and Rahbari on their tour to various countries, including the United States and China. He will also continue his masterclass.

The Tehran Symphony Orchestra consists of around 90 musicians and 132 choir singers. 

Rahbari was once the assistant of Herbert Von Karajan, the Berlin Philharmonic’s principal conductor for 35 years and considered by many to be one of the best conductors of the 20th century. Rahbari followed in the steps of his mentor, conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, a renowned orchestra in its own right, along with 120 other orchestras across the globe. He has contributed to a total of 250 albums and has returned to a changing Iran after decades abroad.

The Vahdet Hall in Tehran was over capacity for the first performance of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in years in May, 2015, when Rahbari lifted his baton to perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. 

Cooperation between Iran-Turkey possible 

Commenting on whether a joint project with Iran could be established, Erdinç said his presence in Iran could mean the revival of relations between Turkey and Iran in regards to cultural exchange. 

“Orchestras could travel to each other’s countries. Our [Turkish] pieces can be performed in Iran and our soloists can also travel to [Iran]. They can also come here from Iran,” said Erdinç. 

My presence in Iran could build a cultural bridge, said Erdinç, adding that Rahbari was also supportive of this idea. 

The exchange has not only been one way. Rahbari has previously performed with the Istanbul Symphony Orchestra, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra in Ankara and the Antalya State Orchestra.