A man of vision: Kamil Şükûn, founder of the Istanbul Recitals concert series

By John Scott | April 12, 2015


Mehmet Kamil Şükûn (1948–2015)

The Istanbul Recitals is a monthly series of tip-top recitals by fabulously talented musicians from San Francisco to Beijing, a shining light on the Bosphorus, and one with a large, loyal and discerning following. Sadly, we have lost the man who started it all. All our sympathy goes out to the family, friends and colleagues of Kamil Şükûn, who dreamt it all up and made it all happen. He died, aged 67, on April 2.

Kamil Bey was always there at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum’s Seed theatre to greet each and every member of the audience. We shall miss his unfailingly gentle manners, his diffidence, his charisma, and his kind invitations to be there. He was, as many have said in his memorial book, the true Istanbul beyefendi.

On Friday evening, the celebrated Bach pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who was on her third visit to Istanbul at Kamil Bey’s invitation, dedicated her preformance of Poulenc, Debussy and Schubert to the great man, concluding with a single utterly moving encore of an utterly delicate Bach Invention. You felt as though every note was played for him. Thank you, Kamil Bey, for evening after evening of pure unadulterated joy. You will not be forgotten. Perhaps it is time for the recitals themselves to take your name?

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