Istanbul Music Festival Kicks off

The 47th Istanbul Music Festival Kicks off with the Concert of pianist Seong-Jin Cho and Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra

The 47th Istanbul Music Festival kicked off on June 11 with the opening ceremony and concert held at the Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Center.

Until 30 June, the festival will house 22 concerts in 15 venues, presenting 150 pieces from a diverse repertoire that spans the masters of Baroque music Bach, Vivaldi and Handel; one the most striking composers of the 20th century Shostakovich; klezmer induced jazz, and Ottoman classical music. The festival will be a stage for various other events such as pre-concert talks, workshops and free weekend concerts.

The 47th Istanbul Music Festival’s Opening Ceremony took off with the opening speech of İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı. “The Istanbul Music Festival is Istanbul’s longest-running classical music festival. Since 1973, without interruption, the festival has sought to enrich the cultural life of Istanbul, contribute new works to the world’s cultural legacy through commissions, and support young talent. Once again, the festival features new compositions, exciting orchestras, star soloists, and young talent. As always, many of our concerts will take place in Istanbul’s historical venues, revealing once again the great wealth and diversity of our city’s cultural assets. Through free weekend events aimed at music lovers of every age, our festival will reach broad segments of the public. As we approach the 50th anniversary of our foundation and first festival, we are proud of our achievements and excited and hopeful about our future goals. For helping us realize our achievements and giving us the strength to aim for more, I would like to convey my deepest appreciation to our audiences, to every musician taking part in this festival and to all of our supporters and sponsors,” said Eczacıbaşı.

Buletn Eczacibasi and Rengim Gokmen

The 47th Istanbul Music Festival’s Honorary Award was presented to the conductor Prof. Rengim Gökmen. Awarded every year since 2012 by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) to promising young classical musicians, the Aydın Gün Encouragement Award of 15,000 TL was granted to the 22-year-old pianist Can Çakmur in its seventh edition.

Bulent Eczacibasi and Can Cakmur

The 47th Istanbul Music Festival opened with the concert of the young pianist Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, and the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra, festival’s Opening Concert Orchestra for 2019-2022. The 24-year-old Seong-Jin Cho has risen fast on the international arena since 2015, playing with prestigious orchestras around the world and receiving rave reviews for his albums. The pianist, who made his Turkey debut at the festival’s opening night, reunited with conductor Aziz Shokhakimov after their performance with the RAI National Symphony Orchestra last year. Seong Jin-Cho performed Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. I in C Major, op. 15, whereas Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra performed Franz Liszt’s Symphonic Poem No.3, ‘Les Préludes’.

First Week at the Festival



Indeed a rare chance to experience the Baroque choir music in its authentic spirit and at a 1600-year-old church, the Grammy award-winning Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and standard-setting choir Berlin RIAS Kammerchor join forces to offer a magical evening under the sponsorship of Mercedes Benz Türk A.Ş.

13 June 2019


The four pianists (George–Emmanuel LAZARIDIS, Zeynep ÜÇBAŞARAN, Janis VAKARELIS, Cyprien KATSARIS) achieve a small miracle here and they shed new light on widely known classic works – they bring the orchestra on to four pianos. This is a unique and exceptionally impressive programme that will captivate even the most demanding audiences. The concert will be realized under the sponsorship of Işıklar Holding.

14 June 2019


With a repertoire ranging from Shostakovich and Gedizlioğlu to Brahms’s love songs, Berlin RIAS Chamber Choir and Ufuk & Bahar Dördüncü concert will see the world premiere of Istanbul Music Festival’s commission to Zeynep Gedizlioğlu under the sponsorship of ENKA Foundation.

15 June 2019


The programme presents a collection of secular music from England and France, showing the beauty and the drama of Renaissance era polyphony, with lyrics that feature the alluring tension between joy and sorrow, loved and unloved, life and death. Come and join us on a nice Saturday morning to celebrate life, nature, and love in its various forms. Reservation is required:


The “sensational” Yuja Wang is back at the festival for another dazzling concert. Her 2018/19 season includes artist residencies at the Carnegie Hall and Vienna Konzerhaus, Asia tours with the Munich Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Europe tours with the Birmingham City Symphony and Luxembourg Philharmonic. This concert also marks the festival debut of the renowned Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra.

16 June 2019


The Music Route sets to explore one of the most multicultural corners of Istanbul this time: Samatya. The district, where Turks, Greeks, Armenians, and Jews live together to this day, was originally a fishing village and it hosts many sacred buildings, the oldest of which dates back to 383. The concert will be realized under the sponsorship of bluechip Creative Events.


As the world is already getting ready for the 2020 Beethoven Year, the festival also features the great composer in its programmes. Isabelle Faust, Jean Guihen Queyras, and Alexander Melnikov “offer a powerful and insightful interpretation of Beethoven” as the New York Times aptly puts it. The concert will be realized under the sponsorship of Nobel İlaç.

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