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Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall (CRR)

Dar’ül Bedayi Cad No 6, Harbiye, 34371 İstanbul

Osmanbey metro station (Pangaltı exit) + 10-minute walk. Bus stop: Harbiye.

The Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall (Cemal Reşit Rey Konser Salonu or ‘CRR’) was named after the composer Cemal Reşit Rey (1904–85), one of the first Turks to write music in the Western mould. The building was originally constructed as a venue for civil wedding ceremonies, but at the last minute converted into a concert hall for classical music. Opened in 1989 and substantially renovated in 2007, it has a seating capacity of 860. Although a smaller space than the Atatürk Cultural Centre, the CRR is still large enough to accommodate a full orchestra. It is home to the CRR Symphony Orchestra, the CRR Youth Chamber Orchestra, the CRR Jazz Orchestra (i.e., big band) and the CRR Turkish Music Ensemble.

The acoustics, while not outstanding, do at least allow you to hear what is going on wherever you are sitting. There is no café, but during the interval at a performance hot drinks are available in the foyer. The booking office is just inside the entrance to the building, on the left. (Note, however, that although this office is always staffed just before a performance is about to begin, during the afternoon the person who sells tickets isn’t always at their post, and you may have to wait for them to reappear.) Also, the ticket office is closed on days when no event is scheduled to take place in the concert hall.)

The CRR Concert Hall is situated below the Harbiye Military Museum and above the top entrance to the Maçka Democracy Park. The nearest metro station is Osmanbey, on the M2 line. On getting off the train, take the Pangaltı exit (not the Osmanbey one) from the platform. After passing through the barriers, take the Pangaltı exit (which is on your left), not the Dolapdere one, then walk down Halaskargazi Caddesi – which will now be straight in front of you – towards Taksim for a short way. At the first major crossroads you will see the Harbiye Military Museum (Harbiye Askeri Müzesi) on your left. At this crossroads, turn sharp left into Valikonağı Caddesi in front of the museum. Having passed the museum compound, walk down through the park on your right – it is famous for the number of cats that inhabit it. Just before reaching the bottom end of the park you will see an exit on your right; as you stand facing it, you will see a fire station (Beyoğlu İtfaiye İstasyonu) exactly opposite you. Leave the park through this exit and turn right into the side street (Dar’ül Bedayi Caddesi) that borders the park. After turning a corner to the left, you will see the concert hall on your left.

The concert hall is part of ‘Congress Valley’, a large cluster of venues (overlooking Maçka Democracy Park) that includes the Istanbul Lütfi Kırdar International Congress and Exhibition Centre, the Istanbul Congress Centre and the Istanbul City Theatre (İstanbul Şehir Tiyatrosu), named after the actor Muhsin Ertuğrul.

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