This year’s Istanbul Music Festival, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV), is taking the the idea of the ‘unusual’ (sıradışı) as its theme. While classical music is still the focus of the festival, the programme will also feature interdisciplinary and multimedia works, and performances that reconnect different periods and genre. In order to reach a broader audience and provide them with new insights into Istanbul, the festival will also offer free concerts for large groups of people and utilise unusual venues.
The festival’s first weekend aptly demonstrates this new approach. On Saturday, June 3, the Music Route programme takes the audience on a tour of the hidden beauties of Yeniköy, stopping for classical recitals at the Küd Dipo Surp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church, built in 1760 and still active, the Sait Halim Pasha Mansion with its elegant 19th century architecture, the Aya Yorgi Greek Orthodox Church, which only recently reopened in 2010, the Yeniköy Panayia Greek Orthodox Church and the Austrian Culture Office, an eye-catching Neoclassical pile featured in Patricia Daunt’s ‘The Summer Palaces of Istanbul’ (Cornucopia 6).
On the following day, Sunday, June 4, the Şimdi Ensemble will perform sufi hymns from past and present at the Grand Bazaar in a concert titled ‘Eternal Love’. A free concert will also be held on Sunday, in the garden of the Austrian Culture Office.
Over 600 local and international artists will participate in the festival, including some of the world’s leading ensembles such as the Russian Chamber Philarmonic St. Petersburg, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the London Chamber Orchestra and the Ebene Quartet, and remarkable soloists like the pianists Hüseyin Sermet and Fazıl Say, the violinist Alina Pogostkina and the baritone Mathias Goerne. These groups will perform in venues all over the city, including Aya Irini Museum on the Seraglio Point, the Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Centre in Nişantaşı, the İş Sanat Concert Hall in Levent, and the Süreyya Opera House in Kadıköy.
Click here to see the full programme.