Turkish Youth Philharmonic kicks off tour at Hagia Eirene

Turkish Youth Philharmonic kicks off tour at Hagia Eirene

DENİZ ÇİYAN ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Youth Philharmonic kicks off tour at Hagia Eirene

Shlomo Mintz and Cem Mansur play with the Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at a concert in Hagia Eirene.

The Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (TUGFO) gave a heart-warming and well-appreciated concert together with world-renowned violin virtuoso Shlomo Mintz at the Hagia Eirene Museum on Sept. 2.

The concert, which was conducted by TUGFO’s maestro Cem Mansur, provided a splendid evening for all concerned, in so much that it brought together a celebrated violin soloist, a famous conductor and a youth orchestra. What was also touching was to see the Music for Peace Foundation’s orchestra, composed of children aged between 8 and 18 who are amateur musicians, perform together with TUGFO.

The concert started with Ludwig van Beethoven’s overture “Leonore no:3” and continued with the same composer’s violin concerto, in which Mintz joined the orchestra. The positive interaction between Mintz, Mansur and TUGFO was overtly visible, and one could feel that while the two experienced musicians were performing outstandingly, the young members of the orchestra were trying to do their best. Apart from the successful performance by the soloist, the sound of Mintz’s violin was so clear and bright that the music reached directly to the hearts of the audience in the historic church-turned-museum.

Mintz told the Hürriyet Daily News after the concert that he joined TUGFO following a direct proposal from Mansur and that he had not known what to expect from the orchestra but that he had been pleased by their performance.

“I think they tried really hard tonight and that it is a good orchestra. They will need to build their confidence up, and I am sure it will come during the tour,” Mintz said, adding that they had just come to know each other at the rehearsals. “It will only get better, hopefully.”

Italy tour

TUGFO, which is supported by the Sabancı Foundation and works under the umbrella of the Community Volunteers Foundation (TOG), will tour Italy between Sept. 7 and 17 for seven concerts in different festivals and concert halls.

Mansur told the Daily News that it was very important for the young musicians to play with such a versed virtuoso and to measure themselves against the best musicians. “We are very happy that Mintz has joined our concert in Istanbul and will be participating in the following five concerts in Italy. This is a great experience for the members of the orchestra,” Mansur said. “I conduct Turkey’s best orchestra, but it unfortunately lasts only five weeks.”

When asked about his motivation for joining a youth orchestra like TUGFO, Mintz said it came to him naturally as he had worked for many years in organizing master classes and international competitions. “Somehow I feel obliged unconsciously to repay the younger people, if only for what I was offered in a very unique way when I was growing up,” Mintz said.

Mintz said being a musician was a beautiful profession that should be kept precious. “I would advise them to not to give up hope and see if life takes them in such a way where they can enjoy and share beautiful music with each other,” said Mintz.

Commenting on what they had aimed at when establishing the orchestra, Mansur said they wanted to show what musical life in Turkey could be by reaching out to real music lovers in the countries in which they played.

“Attending the already established concert series and festivals gives us the ability to reach out to the main intellectual public opinion leaders and music lovers. This is very important as having audiences with a season’s ticket to watch TUGFO matters a lot,” Mansur said.

‘William Tell’

The orchestra played the “William Tell” overture by Giacchino Rossini, Guiseppe Verdi’s “Macbeth” and also “Dances of Galanta” from Zoltan Kodaly, consecutively in the second part of the concert. TUGFO and Mansur were successful in unraveling the different feelings of each of the pieces and were highly applauded at the end of the concert.

The biggest applause, though, came after TUGFO performed the third movement of the “William Tell” overture together with the Music for Peace Foundation’s orchestra as an encore. Watching very young musicians perform a part of a well-recognized classical music piece with a successful youth orchestra in such an important event moved the audience – as evidenced by the spectators’ act of jumping to their feet to heartily applaud the performers.

Mansur said they had invited the orchestra of the Music for Peace Foundation, which had recently performed at the Salzburg Festival in Austria, and were very happy to see their evolution.