Young Turkish flutist wins British Flute Society award
She won the award with her instructor Hakan Halit Turgay’s composition, which he dedicated to her.
Yüksel, 23, who is a graduate student at the Ankara University of Music and Fine Arts and also studied soloism at École Normale de Musique de Paris in France, told Anadolu Agency she has been taking flute lessons since she was 9 years old.
She said she and her teacher Turgay, whom she met when she got into the Istanbul University State Conservatory, never part ways, adding it is important for her to move forward with Turgay's compositions.
"I have a debt of loyalty. I want to introduce other works of my teacher to the world," she said.
She said she regularly follows the events of the British Flute Society and saw an announcement for the competition on social media and decided to participate in the contest in the "Best Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Composer Special Award" category.
"We are a nation with a rich composition repertoire, but we do not have a flute repertoire. So I applied for the 'minority composer' category as part of the competition.
“There is a system that our teacher Hakan Halit designed to contribute to the Turkish flute repertoire. A system that started years ago at the Paris Conservatory," she said.
Explaining the system, Yüksel said that French composers compose for each student who will graduate and these students play these compositions in order to graduate.
She went on to say that her teacher, using the same method, composed ‘Aegean Whispers.’
"I recorded the piece for the contest with my pianist friend and sent it to the contest. I did not think I would get an award. The competition was held online over video recordings due to the COVID-19 outbreak and lasted all day," she said.
Underlining the importance of the British Flute Society for flutists, Yüksel said it is a well-established community and the jury of the competition included important names.
“I will try to promote our country as a successful flute artist," she added.
Yüksel said that young people who want to play the flute and push ahead in music should listen to all kinds of music, get a good teacher, follow his path and follow the activities abroad.
Turgay’s students won 38 awards
Turgay, who has been teaching at Ankara Music and Fine Arts University, said the way of learning art is based on the mentor system.
"Ece Selin Yüksel started her flute education with me at the age of 9, and after 13 years of education, she still continues to work as my graduate student," he said.
Turgay said he started his music education at the age of 10, got into the Istanbul Municipal Conservatory and then received an education at the Royal Academy of Music after having obtained a scholarship from the British government due to his success in a competition in England.
"Ece Selin is one of my fourth generation students. There are 38 awards that my students have won in national and international platforms. We are filled with the joy with Yüksel’s success," he said.
"Since 2014, when I started composing, I have been writing a piece for each of my students. We ask them to play these compositions as mandatory pieces at the conservatory graduation recital," Turgay said.
Stating that his last graduate student was Ece Selin Yüksel, who received her bachelor’s degree in 2019, he said he wrote the composition ‘Aegean Whispers’ for her.
"I was very surprised and happy that she participated in the competition with this composition. In the middle of night, she messaged me saying, ’My teacher, I came in first’," said Yüksel.
Turgay said he has three albums and 19 flute compositions, adding he uses Turkish melodies and the rich musical culture of Anatolia in his works.