Islamic culture across continents

New galleries at the British Museum make the connections

By Roger Williams | October 22, 2018

These exquisite pages depicting a woman in a bathhouse, with cut-outs of cyclamen, lilac, roses and tulips, are from a 'Persianate' Costume Album commissioned by Peter Mundy, an employee of the Levant Company in Istanbul from 1617 to 1620. It is just one on many fabulous items on show at...

Çatalhöyük reaches London

Showing the way for future archaeology exhibitions

By Roger Williams | October 16, 2018

It caused excitement when it was discovered by the late James Mellaart in 1958, and Çatalhöyük is causing excitement today, with a hi-tech exhibition to mark the end of the recent 25-year research project at the Neolithic site.  Sponsored by ANAMED (Koç University Research Centre for Anatolian Civilisations), The Curious...

1 + 1 = 3: two halves make more than a whole

The Jussen brothers raise the curtain on a new season of Istanbul Recitals

By John Shakespeare Dyson | October 14, 2018

The first of the Istanbul Recitals for the 2018-2019 season was given by the brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen at The Seed in Emirgan on October 3. It was, first of all, a pleasure to revisit this attractive venue. The wide terrace overlooking the Bosphorus is still there, and – to...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Doomsday design

Apocalypse now? Istanbul Design Biennial artists and designers explore our increasing dread of approaching global disaster

By Katie Nadworny | October 9, 2018

Climate change makes the sea level rise. Blustering politicians armed with nuclear weapons pursue reckless policies, and the doomsday clock ticks closer to midnight. Earthquakes threaten the city on the Bosphorus, where the memory of 1999 lingers long, though maybe not long enough. Migrants flee war and flood countries that...

Musical shares: sit back and enjoy… the new season of Istanbul Recitals

John Shakespeare Dyson on the dazzling talents lined up for the 2018–2019 Istanbul Recitals at The Seed

By John Shakespeare Dyson | September 16, 2018

Here is a brief overview of the Istanbul Recitals for the 2018–19 season, all of which will be taking place at ‘The Seed’ – the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Emirgan. It has been said that the Istanbul Recitals are one of the chief sources of yüz akı (‘whiteness of face’,...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Hidden talents

John Dyson has nothing but praise for Cem Mansur’s outstanding youth orchestra

By John Shakespeare Dyson | September 8, 2018

The 2018-2019 season has started – and it has done so with a wonderfully encouraging experience. The Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (Türkiye Gençlik Filarmoni Orkestrası) kicked off the new season in fine style with a concert at the Zorlu Center in Zincirlikuyu, Istanbul, on September 4 – which happened...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

High Tide for Modernity

Sea change on Istanbul’s Coasts

By Suraya Yusof | July 31, 2018

Imagine this: the sweltering summer heat beats down on unsuspecting Istanbulites. Çay under the shade of balconies does little to abate the humidity, and staying indoors brings misguided moths or malevolent mosquitos.  Families and friends journey towards the coastlines for their usual respite: swimming in the Marmara by Istanbul’s most...

Redefining Jazz Under Hot July Stars

BCUC and Knower at the Istanbul Jazz Festival

By Katie Nadworny | July 16, 2018

The Istanbul Jazz Festival always flies a little fast and loose with their definition of ‘jazz’. There are plenty of concerts every year for the traditional-minded jazz aficionado, but tucked into the line-up are always acts that stretch and flex their musicality beyond the borders of typical jazz, and often...

Musical shares: Jazz please, Louise

Avishai Cohen's not-quite-jazz concert at the Swissôtel in Maçka

By John Shakespeare Dyson | July 7, 2018

The fourth concert I attended during the İKSV Jazz Festival took place at the Sultan Park in the grounds of the Swissôtel in Maçka, above Dolmabahçe Palace, on Tuesday July 3. The performers on this occasion were the double-bassist Avishai Cohen and his group. The concert started well: Mr Cohen...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Jazz, Musical Shares

A perfect rose

Restoring the stained-glass windows of the Crimean Church in Galata

By Caspar Bigham with photographs by Monica Fritz | July 4, 2018

To enter Christ Church, hidden in the backstreets surrounding Galata Tower, is to be suddenly transported to England by its neo-Gothic style. Known as the Crimean Memorial Church, or simply the Crimean Church, it was built in commemoration of those who fell in that war – a decision taken by...

Musical shares: Jazz, genius and chimney pots

Night in an Italian garden – the 25th Istanbul Jazz fest (cont.)

By John Shakespeare Dyson | July 3, 2018

The venue for the third concert I attended during the 25th İKSV İstanbul Jazz Festival was the grounds of the Palazzo di Venezia in Beyoğlu – a building that now does service as the residence of the Italian Ambassador and the Italian Consul-General. (It is not the Consulate itself, as...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Jazz

Musical shares: Stormy weather over the Golden Horn

Çağrı Sertel and his group crack the sky open with their screaming thunderchords

By John Shakespeare Dyson | July 2, 2018

The second concert I attended during the İKSV İstanbul Jazz Festival took place at Salon İKSV (the İKSV HQ performance space) in Şişhane, Beyoğlu, on June 27. The group responsible for the music – but not for the weather outside, which was spectacularly stormy – consisted of pianist Çağrı Sertel...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Jazz

From Malta with love: the elusive Joseph Schranz and his family of artists

A highlight of the new Cornucopia is Briony Llewellyn’s piece on a great 19th-century panoramist. In Malta she meets the family…

By Briony LLewellyn | June 29, 2018

A family group is gathered together on the imposing bastions of Fort St Elmo at the tip of Valletta, overlooking the Grand Harbour (private collection, Malta). Their straw hats, fashionable on the Spanish island of Menorca, at the western end of the Mediterranean, suggest they are recent arrivals in the...

A bow to the past: Singing Hand and other Turkish jazz legends, plus the best of the 25th fest

The 25th Istanbul Jazz Festival pays tribute to the fine musicians who put Turkish jazz on the map, plus some high notes ahead

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 28, 2018

The Opening Concert of the İKSV İstanbul Jazz Festival – sponsored by Garanti Bank – took place at the Zorlu Center on Tuesday (June 26). The theme was ‘Turkish Jazz through the Generations on the 25th Anniversary of the Festival’, and the occasion provided your reviewer – who knew very...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Jazz

Chelsea’s Central Asian flower show

Gardens of Delight: enchanting suzanis at the Afridi Gallery

By Roger Williams | June 26, 2018

Shabaz Afridi hadn’t quite realised the significance of opening his new gallery on the day of the Brexit referendum. The small advertisement he had placed in the Financial Times appeared following the vote — and as newspapers were being picked over on news broadcasts, the name of the Afridi gallery...
Posted in Islamic Art, Textiles

Karim’s kaleidoscope of musical history

In the finale to the Istanbul Recitals 2017–18 season, Karim Said spun a mesmerising web of music across time

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 14, 2018

The piano recital by Karim Said at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum (‘The Seed’) in Emirgan, Istanbul, on Tuesday June 12 was preceded by a talk in which the performer described the rationale behind his choice of the works in what was, to be truthful, an extremely unusual programme. Born into...

Istanbul writes herself

How four words on the side of a bus triggered Yeşim Cimcoz’s cure for writer’s block

By Yeşim Cimcoz | June 10, 2018

‘New York Writes Itself.’ Splattered across a city bus, the words roll past me (writes Yeşim Cimcoz, photographed above by Monica Fritz). Maybe that was what started it all. I grab my mobile phone, write in the web address and before me opens a bright yellow website. People all over...
Posted in Literature

The sounds now departing…

A fond farewell to the Istanbul Music Festival

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 8, 2018

Your reviewer’s final foray into the 46th İKSV İstanbul Music Festival was a concert on the platform of Sirkeci Railway Station on Wednesday, June 6. Featuring the Turkish singer Meral Azizoğlu and the Hungarian ‘Gypsy Fire’ ensemble, the music was preceded by a talk given by the novelist and short...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music

Strings and things

Mischa Maisky and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orhcestra at the Aya İrini – the Istanbul Music Festival reviews (part 4)

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 6, 2018

The fourth event your reviewer attended during the 46th İKSV İstanbul Music Festival was a concert by the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra and cellist Mischa Maisky at the Aya İrini on Saturday, June 2. This was a feast of ultra-professional string sound – a real string beano, in fact. (Reader...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music


John Shakespeare Dyson was grolloped by his third Istanbul Festival offering: the Filarmonica della Scala and Daniil Trifonov…

By John Shakespeare Dyson | May 29, 2018

Well, now. Your reviewer is still reeling from the pianist’s performance at the concert on Sunday night (Filarmonica della Scala and Daniil Trifonov at the Lütfi Kırdar Concert Hall, May 27) – the third event he attended during the 46th İKSV İstanbul Music Festival. Will he recover in time to...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music
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