Istanbul Music Festival to brighten up the city with outdoor concerts
Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the 49th Istanbul Music Festival will entertain the festival audience in open-air venues as part pandemic measures between August 18 and September 16 this year. . The festival will offer music lovers a whole new experience of classical music and will seek an answer to the question “Is another world possible?” through the language of music.
The 49th edition of the festival will welcome more than 30 soloists, musical societies and orchestras from Turkey and abroad in 21 concerts which will be held in 14 different venues in Istanbul. Listeners will enjoy impressive concerts by various ensembles such as Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra, Istanbul Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra (BIPO), Accademia Bizantina, Festival Orchestra, Modigliani and casalQuartet, as well as numerous musicians renowned including Fazıl Say, Idil Biret, Khatia Buniatishvili, Anna Vinnitskaya, Alexander Rudin, Hande Küden, Paul Meyer, Simon Ghraichy and Ufuk-Bahar Dört.
This year’s concert venues include Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater, Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM) Fıstıklı Terrace, UNIQ Istanbul Open Air Stage, Palais de France (French Palace), Palazzo di Venezia (Palace of Venice), ARTER Backyard, Rahmi M. Koç Museum, Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul in the courtyard of the French Bosphorus and Saint Benoit high school.
Istanbulites are also invited to the free weekend concerts which will be held in Ataturk Urban Forest, Fenerbahçe Park and Yıldız Park as part of the 49th Istanbul Music Festival. At the festival, nature walks, workshops and activities for children and young people will also be offered free of charge. Interviews with well-known names from different fields before the concerts continue to be organized this year as well. Enthusiasts can also listen to these lectures as podcasts on the IKSV Spotify and Apple Podcasts accounts.
Honorary awards are given to …
This year, the 49th Istanbul Music Festival Honorary Award goes to Cihat Aşkın, the international representative of the Turkish violin school, while the Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Latvian composer Peteris Vasks.
Aşkın has participated in numerous concerts, festivals, radio and TV shows, conferences and workshops on four continents and 51 countries and has shared the products of Turkish and universal music among the world’s greatest artists in prestigious music halls classic. Besides his career as a performer, as an educator, Aşkın founded many educational and art institutions in Turkey. The violinist will receive his prize during the opening ceremony of the festival.
According to data provided by IKSV, Vasks was appointed principal composer of the Stockholm New Music Festival in 1996 and received the Herder Prize from the Alfred Toepfer Foundation and the Baltic Assembly Prize. The composer received the Latvian Great Music Prize and was a member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences in 1994 and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm in 2001. In 2005 he received the Cannes Classical Award for the recordings of the Distant violin concerto. Light and the 2nd Symphony. In 2016 Vasks received the State Cultural Prize of the Republic of Latvia and in 2019 the Honorary Diploma of the President of Latvia.
Vasks will receive his award before the “A Premiere: Vasks” concert, where his latest work “String Quartet No. 6”, commissioned by the Istanbul Music Festival, will debut in Turkey on September 6th.
The 49th Istanbul Music Festival will kick off with the opening concert of the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Aziz Shokhakimov at the Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater on August 18. Pianist Anna Vinnitskaya will accompany the Philharmonic Orchestra in this special concert.
In addition to the Turkish premiere of Vasks’ latest work, the festival will also host world premieres of four works. The festival will host a unique concert to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Turkish composer Ilhan Usmanbaş, who has dedicated his whole life to music, innovation and brought contemporary elements to Turkish music with his innovative attitude in his compositions. Talented members of the Diskant Contemporary Music Ensemble, who work with Turkey’s best orchestras and continue their brilliant career as soloists, will perform the composer’s works in this concert. While “Octet” composed in 1960 by Usmanbaş will be the centerpiece of the concert, the works composed by Usmanbaş students Ahmet Altınel, Özkan Manav and Mehmet Nemutlu will have their world premieres.
The Istanbul Music Festival did not forget to commemorate Turkish folk poet Yunus Emre. As UNESCO declared 2021 the year of Yunus Emre, the festival has included the Yellow Flower project in its program. As part of this project, the festival will host another world premiere. The compositions specially prepared for the festival by Şirin Pancaroğlu and Bora Uymaz with verses by Yunus Emre will be performed for the first time at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus on September 13.
Famous Turkish pianist Fazıl Say will also perform an exclusive concert entitled “Voice Nature” as part of the Istanbul Music Festival. The pianist will perform his compositions “Mount Ida” and “Walking Mansion” accompanied by violinist Friedemann Eichhorn, who has collaborated with many musicians including Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer and Russian conductor Yuri Bashmet, and casalQuartett, who received awards. many prestigious prizes including the Diapason d ‘Ou So.
The festival program also offers an exceptional chamber music concert with world-renowned musicians. The concert will feature cellist, conductor, pianist, harpsichordist and teacher Alexander Rudin, who is one of the main representatives of the Russian music school, pianist Iris Şentürker and violinist Efdal Altun. The Lifetime Achievement Award of the Istanbul Music Festival, which could not be awarded to Alexander Rudin last year due to global pandemic conditions, will also be presented at this concert at the Rahmi M. Koç museum on August 20.
Crowning her musical career by playing with the most distinguished orchestras in the world, giving nearly 3,000 concerts throughout her career and touching 3 million music lovers with her recordings, pianist Idil Biret is also celebrating her 80th birthday at the Music Festival. from Istanbul. In this special concert, Biret will perform at the Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu open-air theater on August 24 with the Festival Orchestra under the direction of Can Okan, who has conducted many symphony orchestras in Sweden after his master’s degree in conducting at the Stockholm Royal College of Music. The Festival Orchestra, made up of Turkey’s most talented younger generation musicians, all of whom work in state opera and symphony orchestras, is an ensemble founded last year with the belief in the unifying power of the music as part of the Istanbul Music Festival. . In this concert, listeners will witness an enthralling interpretation of the legendary orchestral suites by Johann Sebastian Bach. Then they will listen to Chopin de Biret, who has won legitimate critical acclaim for his interpretations of the composer.
The festival’s BIPO Focus series will continue with three concerts. In the first concert of the series, the Borusan Quartet and the fascinating clarinetist Paul Meyer will share the stage on the dreamlike terrace of the SSM on August 25. In the second concert, the BIPO will be accompanied by accordionist Martynas Levickis at UNIQ Istanbul Open Air Stage on September 2. And the final concerts in the series will feature star pianist Khatia Buniatishvili as well as BIPO this time at the Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater on September 14.
Piano duo Ufuk & Bahar Dördüncü have long made a name for themselves in the classical music world with their flawless technique, delivering vigorous and evocative performances. The “La Scène Révoltée” project, which they will present as part of the festival, is the fruit of their tireless quest for novelty. The duo will invite listeners to dance to music and image in this project in the courtyard of the French lycée Saint Benoit on September 1.
Simon Ghraichy, who is known as the piano rockstar, is an excellent virtuoso in the truest sense of the word. Ghraichy will give a concert at the Palais de France on September 8. Nourished by the richness of cultural diversity, this concert elevates the vital energy of this year’s festival to a new high.
After Ghraichy, the musical group Accademia Bizantina, experts in the practice of baroque music and aesthetics, will give a concert at the historic Palazzo di Venezia on September 16. An extraordinary baroque party awaits listeners with the brilliant star Sophie Rennert, the group’s mezzo-soprano.
You can visit the festival site to find out more about concerts and other festival events.