Mélodies I: Reynaldo Hahn in Istanbul

The first of a three-part series in which our music correspondent finds gentle escape in the French Chanson

By John Shakespeare Dyson | April 1, 2020


Mélodies: Debussy in Pamphylia, Fauré in Isfahan, Reynaldo Hahn in Istanbul. This new series of blogs is designed to provide a welcome distraction from for those in isolation, while at the same time introducing them to music that may be new to them and will give them pleasure. It is...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Imogen Cooper at the Seed

‘Creating the real out of the ideal’

By John Shakespeare Dyson | March 18, 2020


That the latest in the series of Istanbul Recitals was given is, in itself, remarkable considering… My companion and I boarded the boat that leaves Eminönü at ten past six and spent an hour watching the shores of the Bosphorus sweep by on a cloudy, overcast afternoon that was turning...
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Avrasya Orchestra and İdil Biret

By John Shakespeare Dyson | March 14, 2020

On Wednesday (March 11) I attended a concert given by the Avrasya Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Rengim Gökmen, at the Zorlu Performance Arts Center. This was part of a series entitled Vestel Gururla Yerli Konserleri, organised jointly by the Performance Arts Center and ‘BKM’, which I assume stands for ‘Beşiktaş...
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In time… Gilad Atzmon and Sarp Maden – a creative partnership

By John Shakespeare Dyson | February 29, 2020

February 20: I made my second foray into the Touché jazz club, located in the bowels of the Zorlu Center in Zincirlikuyu. The occasion was that of another concert by Gilad Atzmon, the Israeli saxophonist I'd seen in January 2019 – when he was accompanied by Sarp Maden on guitar,...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Jazz, Musical Shares

Soyoung Yoon and Mario Häring at The Seed

By John Shakespeare Dyson | February 26, 2020


The Istanbul Recitals series continued on February 14 with a concert by violinist Soyoung Yoon (photo: soyoungyoon.com) and pianist Mario Häring (photo: Stephan-Röhl) at The Seed in Emirgan. Like last month’s recital by the cellist Alexander Chaushian, this one featured a stringed instrument – though this time with piano accompaniment....
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A performance beyond praise

Nikolai Demidenko at the Istanbul Recitals

By John Shakespeare Dyson | November 24, 2019


© Marco Boggreve, Courtesy Istanbul Recitals The second of the season’s Istanbul Recitals was given last Friday by the Russian pianist Nikolai Demidenko at The Seed, in Emirgan (photograph by Natalie Lafranchi). And what a contrast to the previous performer, Valentina Lisitsa! Where Ms Lisitsa was flamboyant, Mr Demidenko was...
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Valentina Lisitsa opens the new season of Istanbul Recitals

By John Shakespeare Dyson | November 2, 2019


© M. Boggreve, courtesy Istanbul Recitals And so the new season gets under way in the Istanbul music scene. Hayırlı olsun (‘May it be productive of good’ – and no broken fingers, cracked clarinets, or wrecked pianos.) 2020 is a real snorter of a year from the astrological point of...
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A factory of tears

By Cornucopia | September 29, 2019

In a recent BBC radio programme, Istanbul's Factory of Tears, Isabel Finkel examines the story of Arabesk, kitsch, melancholy, popular, sad. Strongly recommended.
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Talks and Lectures

Cem Mansur and a Philharmonic phenomenon

The Turkish Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is born again again

By John Shakespeare Dyson | July 31, 2019

The Turkish Youth Philharmonic Orchestra permformed at the Türkiye İş Bankası megatower concert hall in Levent on Sunday, July 21. The orchestra’s main sponsor is the Sabancı Foundation: the need for a sponsor resulting from the fact that the Turkish State does not support it. In spite of the refusal...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Snarky Puppy and Shake Stew

The Istanbul Jazz Fest

By John Shakespeare Dyson | July 21, 2019


The New York-based band Snarky Puppy gave a concert at the UNIQ Open-Air Stage on Tuesday July 9. The supporting group was Shake Stew, an Austrian outfit. Whether the music was jazz-rock, or funk, or groove, is immaterial: in any case, I would not be able to tell you, for...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Jazz, Musical Shares

The best pianist in the world?

If you ask Chick Corea, it's Aydın Esen

By John Shakespeare Dyson | July 12, 2019


There are some concerts – not many, just a few – that leave you with a feeling of euphoria, allowing you to forget everything that makes life a burden for just a few precious hours. The concert by the jazz pianist and composer Aydın Esen and his group on Friday,...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Mr Say takes a bow, and the final notes fade away

The 2019 Istanbul Music Festival's sell-out finale

By John Shakespeare Dyson | July 5, 2019


Sunday, June 30 was the last day of this year’s İKSV Istanbul Music Festival, and the occasion was marked by a concert in which the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and Fazıl Say performed at the Lütfi Kırdar Concert Hall. There were very few empty seats in the auditorium, though whether this...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Rather too easy does it

With the viola legend Yuri Bashmet on the menu along with a new piece by Alexander Tchaikovsky, you’d expect the works… Hmmm

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 30, 2019


In the second week of the İKSV Istanbul Music Festival the Moscow Soloists and viola-player Yuri Bashmet gave a concert at Hagia Eirene on Thursday, June 20. Sitting in the grassy area between this venerable Byzantine pile and the inner gate of Topkapı Palace before the concert began, I watched...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Pleasure and pain on the night of the full moon

Daniel Müller-Schott and the Tekfen Philharmonic at the Istanbul Festival

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 19, 2019


The Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra gave its second concert of this year’s İKSV Festival in the Lütfi Kırdar Concert Hall on June 17. As with their Spring Concert on March 21, it was the day of a full moon, and once again the spacious terrace outside the building was an ideal...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Jeung Beum Sohn

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 18, 2019


The last in the series of Istanbul Recitals for the 2018-2019 season was given by the South Korean pianist Jeung Beum Sohn at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum’s Seed concert hall on June 14. There has been a succession of South Koreans performing in Istanbul recently. On March 21, Bomsori Kim...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

A certain lightness of being…

The 47th İKSV Istanbul Music Festival gets into gear

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 16, 2019


And so we have arrived at that time of year when the lime trees are in flower, the watermelons rise to new heights of drippy deliciousness and the İKSV Istanbul Music Festival gets under way. A poem by Rimbaud celebrates the arrival of warm weather with the following couplet: Que...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Yeol Eum Son

By John Shakespeare Dyson | May 18, 2019


The Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son gave a recital of works by Chopin and Rachmaninov at the the Seed, the concert hall attached to the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Emirgan, on May 11. After last month’s recital, given by Stephen Kovacevich with a dreadful cold, it was a relief to...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Spark of light, burning bright, in the forest of Asia’s grim towers

The Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra under the sensitive baton of Nikos Haliassas at the Caddebostan Cultural Centre

By John Shakespeare Dyson | May 7, 2019

On 26 April I ventured across the Bosphorus to attend a concert by the İstanbul State Symphony Orchestra at the Caddebostan Cultural Centre. It was with some trepidation that I took the Metrobus over the First Bosphorus Bridge to its terminus at Söğütlüçeşme, in the hinterland behind Kadıköy: the sight...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Brave showing: Stephen Kovacevich at the Seed

By John Shakespeare Dyson | April 14, 2019


The American pianist Stephen Kovacevich gave the seventh in the series of Istanbul Recitals at The Seed in Emirgan on April 12. Seven may be a lucky number for some, but not, unfortunately, for Mr Kovacevich (the first ‘c’ in his name is pronounced as an ‘s’, by the way,...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

New blood for Cemal Reşit Rey’s historic Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra

John Shakespeare Dyson is happily surprised by a thoroughly re-energised Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra

By John Shakespeare Dyson | April 14, 2019


Mussorgsky and Shostakovich were on the menu at a concert by the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra on April 5. It was pleasing to see the auditorium at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall nearly full: classical music concerts in Istanbul are getting more and more popular by the year. Standards...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares
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