Turkish Culture: A Concert Fit For Presidents

Turkey’s Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO) inaugurated its new concert hall in the capital Ankara with an invite-only gala event that took place on December 3, 2020.

The gala concert on Thursday showcased the world-famous soprano Angela Gheorghiu and pianist twin sisters Guher and Suher Pekinel, who are known to be among the best piano duos in the world. Cemi’i Can Deliorman conducted the orchestra.

Beginning with Turkey’s national anthem, the programme for the first gala night featured works from Donizetti Pasha to Mozart, from Ahmet Adnan Saygun to Georges Bizet.

The second gala night features works from Handel to Manuel de Falla, from Ernesto di Curtis to Agustin Lara along with a reprise of some of the previous night’s pieces.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the first gala night at CSO, along with 300 invitees. The capacity of the music hall is much larger, however due to coronavirus precautions the number of guests have been limited.

The Grand Hall has 2023 seat capacity, while the Blue Hall has 500 and the Historical CSO Hall has 600 seats. The campus will have restaurants, museum and open air spaces, making the building a meeting place for art and culture lovers.

Erdogan has told the audience that CSO has gained a building befitting its fame and the capital has gained a building that would become a symbol of modern architecture.

“The CSO building will serve our citizens as a sign of the wealth of our country’s culture and arts,” he added.

“During our time, Turkey has freed itself from shackles not only in politics, economics and defense, but in culture, arts, music and literature,” he said.

The building’s foundation was laid 23 years ago, during the presidency of Suleyman Demirel, in 1997. But construction work was ongoing for many years, until it was completed by the Erdogan administration, thanks to the president and the Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.

In the new campus, in addition to CSO there will be up to 600 artists from other presidential musical choruses and dance companies. The new building will serve art lovers with rich content including classical music, traditional music, world music, and popular music.

CSO is the first building in Turkey specifically designed to house a symphony orchestra. The building cost about 83 million euros ($99 million) and is located in the centre of Ankara, with a view of Ankara Castle and Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum.

CSO Director Ozgur Balkiz says “After the opening of our new building, we will have a very unique concert vision. The concert hall is circular and acoustic. It is not one of the digital hall examples such as the ones in Japan and other technological countries. Our hall functions in a natural acoustic environment.”

He also adds “We plan to turn our new building into an international art centre. The CSO building in Ankara will take its place amongst a handful of art centres such as Berlin, Paris, New York.”

Balkiz notes that the orchestra, with its past of 194 years, is experiencing one of its turning points with the opening of the new building. Balkiz adds that CSO artists are thrilled about the hall, which will be one of the largest in the world.

“In time, we don’t expect 2023 seats to be sufficient. Because music lovers are showing great interest in our hall.” Balkiz points out that Erdogan will attend the gala night, which he says will be “historical.”

Balkiz announces that the world famous classical music channel Mezzo will record the concerts on December 3-4 and will broadcast them on TV for five years intermittently.

Idil Biret on CSO stage

World famous Turkish pianist Idil Biret will be on stage on December 5, 2020. Biret has recorded more than 130 CDs in six decades, and hsa more than a hundred piano concertos in her repertoire. She is known as one of the best and most prolific pianists in the world.

At her concert in the new concert hall, she will perform works by Handel, Beethoven, Debussy, Saygun and Prokofiev for music enthusiasts in Ankara.

Busra Kayikci in the Blue Hall

Young pianist Busra Kayikci will be performing on the same night as Idil Biret at the smaller Blue Hall, on December 5, 2020. She is a multi talented artist who studied piano, ballet and painting as a child and has a degree from the Faculty of Architecture. Her debut album ‘Sketches (Eskizler)’ was released in 2019, comprising minimalist, neoclassical and ambient works.

Kayikci made her debut as a young jazz finalist at the 27th Istanbul Jazz Festival a few months ago in September 2020 with her original compositions.

Ticket prices

Tickets, which are available through the CSO website or via an app, are not on sale yet. But the prices have been set for the 2020-21 concert season.

For performances at the CSO Concert Hall, music lovers will  pay 100 TL ($12.85) for the 1st Category, 70 TL ($8.99) for the 2nd Category and 50 TL ($6.42) for the 3rd Category.

The 3rd Category prices will be discounted by 50% for students and retirees and all categories of disabled, veterans and relatives of martyrs.

Related Articles

Back to top button