A performance beyond praise

Nikolai Demidenko at the Istanbul Recitals

By John Shakespeare Dyson | November 24, 2019

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 restrained. In spite of its discipline,...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

The secret charms of Beyoğlu

A new book from France on Istanbul’s ‘Latin Quarter’

By Rose Shepherd | November 10, 2019

Just a day before the long-anticipated opening of the spectacular new Arter in Dolapdere – relocated from its original home on bustling İstiklâl Caddesi – a French-language book, Istanbul Rive Gauche, by Timour Muhidine, hit the bookstores, a timely reminder, should we need one, that Istanbul’s subversive Left Bank has...

Valentina Lisitsa opens the new season of Istanbul Recitals

By John Shakespeare Dyson | November 2, 2019

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 view, and I am wondering how...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, Musical Shares

Highlights of Islamic Sales Week in London

By John Scott | October 20, 2019

Koranic Instruction, signed and dated Osman Hamdy Bey 1890, is the latest painting by unmistakable Orientalist, pupil of Gerome and founder of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum to come to auction In London in the past few weeks. The estimate is £3–5 million. The setting, meticulously drawn, is the Yeşil Cami...

The 21st-century ney

The Wandering Ney, by Drake Mabry

By Lauren Davis | October 5, 2019

Two new albums of original compositions adapted for the ney have been released by musician Drake Mabry. Mabry studied under the famed neyzen and teacher İsmail Hakkı. The ney, a end-blown long reed flute, has a long history that spans at least 3000 years and is a traditional component of...

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.

The British academic who argued the case of the Turkish Cypriots

Clement Dodd, 1926–2019

By David Barchard | September 1, 2019

Clement Dodd, the veteran British political scientist who wrote about Turkey and Cyprus for over half a century, was fond of saying that he had taken up the study of politics after an initial career as a civil servant because he had noticed that in the Middle East politics killed...
Posted in Obituaries

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...

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 Gentleman of Istanbul’ and other sly tales

Turhan Selçuk smiles satirically, almost vaguely, and you find yourself joining him – Yaşar Kemal

By Luke Frostick | July 12, 2019

And that, as the great novelist said, is what great art is about. Minimalism is the key to Turhan Selçuk’s art – his drawings all bold black lines and harsh angles. However, as is so often the case with the best artists, simplicity can be deceptive. His torpedo passing through...
Posted in Exhibitions, Fine Art, Literature

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,...

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...

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

HALI at 40

The story of the carpet connoisseur's essential companion

By Daniel Shaffer | June 29, 2019

This week, HALI magazine marked its 200th issue with a series of celebratory London-based events, including lectures, book launches, an antique carpet and textile art fair, exclusive group access to museum storage and private collections, and a post-event HALI tour of significant English collections of antique carpets and textiles. There...

Happy birthday, HALI

Celebrating 40 years and 200 editions of the magazine

By Roger Williams | June 27, 2019

HALI is celebrating its 40th anniversary and the 200th edition of HALI magazine with an exhibition of antique rugs, textiels and tribal art at the Mall Galleries in London, the first time it has held an event at the venue. As always the show is full of panache and charcter...

A new era for Cornucopia

Online edition free to subscribers

By Roger Williams | June 27, 2019

The latest issue of Cornucopia, No 59, is just out, and it marks the start of a new phase for the magazine, as it goes online. From now on, all issues will be available for subscribers to scroll through the elegant pages not just of the latest issues, but back...

Norman Stone (1941–2019)

A fond tribute to the the historian Norman Stone, a fearless advocate of Turkey, who died at his home in Budapest yesterday

By David Barchard | June 20, 2019

If Norman Stone and Professor Ali Doğramacı, then rector of Bilkent University, had not shared a flash of inspiration during an international conference in Ankara in 1995, the love affair between the country and its most famous international academic friend might never have begun. Norman was in Ankara, at a...

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...
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