Bodrum may not be the most isolated holiday spot in Turkey, but the peninsula boasts some quiet retreats, like the small fishing village of Gümüşlük. Far away from the hustle and bustle of Bodrum Marina, the sleepy town is brought to life each summer by the Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival, which is run by Eren Levendoğlu. What began as a series of concerts in 2004 has morphed into an international festival that attracts established and up-and-coming artists alike.
The ancient stone quarry in Koyunbaba provides a dramatic backdrop
While the festival is still offering its bread and butter – classical music performed in historic settings like the magnificent ancient stone quarry in Koyunbaba, the same quarry from which King Mausolos collected the stones for his palace and mausoleum – it’s also broadening its horizons with regard to venues and musical genres. This year there will also be ‘Jazz on the Water’ and ‘Guitar on the Sand’ in addition to ‘Classical on the Rocks’.
Running from July 3 until August 11, the festival is already underway – the pianist (and an artistic advisor to the festival) Gülsin Onay and her son, the violinist Erkin Onay, kicked things off in a rousing performance at the Dibeklihan Culture and Arts Village on the 3rd.
Emin Fındıkoğlu, a piano virtuoso
If you happen to be vacationing in Bodrum sometime in the next month, we highly recommend that you take in one of the many concerts on offer. The classical programme is strong, as to be expected. The violinist Ayla Erduran (main image, taken by Eliza Day at the Narmanlı Han in 1964) will take the stage with the pianist Stephane Blet in what is sure to be a display of technical brilliance and magnificent lyricism. If jazz is your bag, the pianist and composer Emin Fındıkoğlu, one of the big names on Turkey’s jazz scene, will play with his young and dynamic big band on August 5. For guitar lovers, Golfam Khayam will perform with the clarinettist Mona Matbou Riahi on July 24 – known as the Naqsh Duo, their aim is to produce a unique blend of Persian and contemporary music.
There is also an educational component to the festival: over the course of the summer, various master classes run at the Gümüşlük Festival Academy. The aim is to create a relaxed environment where teachers and students feel comfortable interacting and collaborating. At the end of the class, the students perform in a group concert. To see the full programme of student recitals, please click here.
All tickets are 30 TL and can be purchased from Biletix. For concerts at the antique stone quarry, tickets can be purchased at the festival headquarters from 10.00 until 20.00. On the night of the concert, ticket sales at the office end at 17.00, but tickets will be on sale at the quarry beginning at 19.00, two hours before the start of the show. For ticket enquiries, please call +90 538 032 94 41.