Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) under the sponsorship of E.C.A. Presdöküm Sanayii A.Ş., the 47th Istanbul Music Festival ended on 8 July. The festival hosted more than 600 local and international artists throughout 21 days, with a total of 150 pieces performed at 22 concerts at 15 different venues in Istanbul between 11 June and 8 July 2019. The festival concerts were attended by more than 18.000 people.
Opening Concert: Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra, Lütfi Kırdar
This year’s festival theme was “Darkness of Being, Lightness of Being”
In its 47th year, the Istanbul Music Festival focused on the dualities in life such as good-bad, happiness-sadness, birth-death, and their impact on music and its creation process. With its programme that was prepared under the theme “Darkness of Being, Lightness of Being”, the festival aimed to emphasise the importance of music as a means to enlightenment in times of darkness.
Bülent Eczacıbaşı, Yuri Bashmet
The Lifetime Achievement Award of the festival was presented to the pre-eminent violist Yuri Bashmet, who was described by The Times as ‘one of the world’s greatest living musicians’. Festival’s Honorary Award was presented to Turkish conductor Prof. Rengim Gökmen.
Bülent Eczacıbaşı, Rengim Gökmen
Stars of the festival
Festival audiences met with many remarkable musicians and ensembles including the sensational pianist Yuja Wang, the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Gimeno, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Liang Zhang, together with the world-renowned pianist Fazıl Say, and “Human Requiem”, the performance in which Rundfunkchor Berlin turned Brahms's German Requiem into an unconventional experience with the staging of Jochen Sandig.
Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Yuja Wang
Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Fazıl Say
Two special commissions and world premieres
In line with its objective of supporting artistic production, Istanbul Music Festival has been commissioning works to local and international composers since 2011. This year, the festival continued to support contemporary classical music with two commissions and hosted their world premieres. Turkish composer Zeynep Gedizlioğlu’s “Şimdi” (Now) for two pianos and 3/7/12, a co-commission with Sochi Festival, composed by Alexander Tchaikovsky, met with the audience for the first time at the festival.
Festival embraced Istanbul
Istanbul Music Festival hosted music lovers in various venues in Istanbul such as the Hagie Eirene Museum, Boğaziçi University Albert Long Hall, İş Sanat Concert Hall, Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Centre, Rahmi M. Koç Museum, Süreyya Opera House, Zorlu PSM Turkcell Stage, Tophane-i Amire Culture and Art Center and Neve Shalom Synagogue.
Stars of Chamber Music: Cuarteto Casals, Neve Shalom Synagogue
Additionally, the Music Route was held in Istanbul’s historical neighbourhood Samatya at Dormition of Theotokos Panagia Altımermer, Surp Anarad Higutyun Armenian Catholic Church, Hagia Constantine Greek Orthodox Church, and Narlıkapı Surp Hovhannes Armenian Church. Each concert at the Music Route offered repertoires specially chosen to suit the spirit of the venue. The free festival events titled Weekend Classics were held at the Garden of Austrian Cultural Forum and, for the first time, Galata Tower Square.
Vocal Baroque Treasures: Bach & Vivaldi & Handel, Hagia Irene Museum
A children’s book from the Festival: Fanfare: A Musical Tale of Istanbul
The festival, with the collaboration of İKSV Alt Kat Learning and Interaction Space, published a children's book with the support of the Bernard van Leer Foundation. Fanfare: A Musical Tale of Istanbul was written by Göknil Özkök Sezener with illustrations by Kıymet Ergöçen and edited by Burcu Ural Kopan under the academic consultancy of Boğaziçi University Psychology Department Faculty Member Prof. Dr. Feyza Çorapçı. Published in Turkish, English, Arabic and also Braille alphabet, the book introduced children to the basic elements of music in a fun story set in festival venues. Fanfare was distributed free of charge in selected bookstores as well as in the festival venues. During the festival, various workshops related to the book were organised at festival venues and also at İKSV Alt Kat.
Fanfare: A Musical Tale of Istanbul, Austria Cultural Forum
Birlikte Güçlü Sesler Chorus
Istanbul Music Festival and İKSV Alt Kat, with the support of Istanbul Development Agency, initiated the Birlikte Güçlü Sesler Chorus (Together Stronger Voices Chorus), a project aimed for children and youth. Inspired by the White Hands Choir within El Sistema, Birlikte Güçlü Sesler Chorus brought 40 children and young people with disabilities between the ages 5 and 16 together with the Music for Peace Chorus. The chorus met the audience at a mini concert before Human Requiem on Saturday, 29 June at Zorlu PSM Amfi. In the chorus, some members sang the songs, while others accompanied with sign language. The chorus was conducted by Zeynep Eren Kovankaya, whereas Buket Ela Demirel and İpek Aktaşlı were working on performing the songs in sign language, as well as rhythm harmony and choreography. Birlikte Güçlü Sesler Chorus was realised with the kind collaborations of Parıltı Foundation for the Support of Visually Impaired Children, Solidarity Association of Turkey for the Deaf, Turkish National Federation of the Deaf, Turkey Hearing Impaired Association and Music for Peace Foundation.
“Women Stars of Tomorrow: Young Women Musicians Support Fund”
Last year, the festival initiated a new project to support the next generation of women musicians. Women Stars of Tomorrow: Young Women Musicians Support Fund was launched in collaboration with TSKB (Industrial Development Bank of Turkey) and the contribution of the audiences to advance the international career of gifted musicians in the branches of instrument, singing, and conducting. This year, 14 young women musicians were selected to receive support from the programme and 6 of these musicians performed at a concert on 25 June at Boğaziçi University Albert Long Hall, where they shared the stage with the master of violinist Ayla Erduran.
Pre-concert Talks from different disciplines
Festival audiences also attended pre-concert talks that hosted speakers from different disciplines such as literature, philosophy, sports and science: Evin İlyasoğlu, Özkan Manav, Zeynep Gedizlioğlu, Can Okan, Levent Kavas, Asuman Kafaoğlu-Büke, Feyzi Erçin, Prof. Dr. Bülent Gözkân, Murat Yetkin, Ayşe Begüm Onbaşı, and Aydın Büke.
Supporters of the 47th Istanbul Music Festival
The 47th Istanbul Music Festival was organised with the support of performance sponsors, in addition to Festival Sponsor E.C.A. Presdöküm Sanayii A.Ş.
Performance sponsors included Tekfen Foundation, Mercedes-Benz Türk AŞ, FIAT, ICBC Turkey Bank A.Ş., Borusan Holding, Türkiye İş Bankası, ENKA Foundation, SEREL, Nobel İlaç, STONELINE, Işıklar Holding, bluechip Creative Events, Berrin Erengül, Elvan Tuğsuz Güven, Eva Barlas, Bell Holding, Organik Holding.
Additionally, Tekfen Foundation supported the festival with Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra as the festival’s Opening Concert Orchestra in 2019-2022.
TSKB (Türkiye Sınai Kalkınma Bankası) supported the festival as the Education Support Fund Sponsor.
The 47th Istanbul Music Festival was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Governorship of Istanbul, the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the Beyoğlu District Governorship, Beşiktaş Municipality, Beyoğlu Municipality, and Kadıköy Municipality.
The festival took place with the kind collaborations of Armenian Catholic Church of Turkey, Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, Austrian Cultural Forum, Biletix, Boğaziçi University, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Istanbul, Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, Goethe Institut, Istanbul Greek Patriarchate, İş Sanat, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Neve Shalom Sephardi Synagogues Foundation, Rahmi M. Koç Museum, Süreyya Opera House, Tophane-i Amire Culture and Art Center and Turkish-Russian Social Forum.
The Founding Sponsor of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts is Eczacıbaşı Group, İKSV Official Hotel Sponsor is The Marmara Collection, the Carrier Sponsor is DHL, the Health Sponsor is American Hospital, the Insurance Sponsor is Zurich Insurance Group, and the Service Sponsors are Navitas, GFK and AGC.
The publicity campaign for the 47th Istanbul Music Festival was created by TBWA.