The postponed music festival, celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday, will be held online from mid-September to early October, with the exception of one physical concert in August.

The 48th Istanbul Music Festival, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV), with the support of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism, will be held between September 18 and October 5, 2020.

The festival traditionally takes place in venues around the city in June, but it was postponed this year due to the lockdown that was put in place to protect people against the coronavirus pandemic.

What sets this year apart from events held in previous years, is that the festival will be held online, featuring pre-recorded concerts currently being filmed in historical venues in Istanbul, as well as various cities in Europe. The theme will be “The Enlightened World of Beethoven”.

There is the exception of one physical concert that will take place at the Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theatre on Wednesday August 19 with the support of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Kultur AS.

The concert will be held observing coronavirus precautions, with a reduced number of seats available for concertgoers to enjoy Turkey’s leading ensemble, the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra. It will feature pianist Vikingur Olafsson, who was named Artist of the Year at the 2019 Gramophone Classical Music Awards. Patrick Hahn, the youngest General Music Director in Germany – at the age of 24 – will conduct the concert.

The 48th Istanbul Music Festival’s online concerts will be available to audiences in Turkey and around the world with exceptional sound and image quality, for what organisers promise will be accessible ticket prices.

The Austrian ensemble, Philharmonix, has a golden rule about its programmes: Anything goes, as long as it’s fun.
The Austrian ensemble, Philharmonix, has a golden rule about its programmes: Anything goes, as long as it’s fun. (Courtesy of IKSV)

Concerts are currently being filmed by professional crews, organisers say, at historical venues both in Istanbul and in other European cities. Participants include ensembles such as the Wiener Akademie, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Kheops Ensemble, Philharmonix, Beethoven Trio Berlin, Borusan Quartet, Semplice Quartet and soloists such as Thomas Hampson, Bulent Evcil, Derya Turkan, Yurdal Tokcan, Gokhan Aybulus, and Ezgi Karakaya.

Concert venues in Istanbul include the Theodosius Cistern, Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, Khedive Palace, Tophane-i Amire Culture and Art Centre, Harbiye Saint Esprit Cathedral, Surp Ohan Vosgeperan Armenian Catholic Church and Sureyya Opera House. In Europe, places such as the Perchtoldsdorf Castle (Austria) and Abbaye de Stavelot (Belgium) are being utilised, while filming continues around Belgium, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

Opening concert

The Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra is the Istanbul Music Festival’s 2019-2022 Opening Concert Orchestra. It has performed the opening concert with Aziz Shokhakimov as conductor, and Emre Engin, a violinist, as the soloist. The concert was filmed in Istanbul, at Bogazici University’s South Campus, with the limited participation of IKSV loyalty card holders (Tulip Card members) due to the pandemic precautions. It will also be broadcast online in September.

The festival has announced that IKSV has established a festival orchestra for the first time in its 48 year history. With Turkey’s well-known maestro Cem Mansur at the helm, the orchestra “brings a qualified, dynamic, and innovative approach to music making.” The festival orchestra, composed of Turkey’s most talented young musicians, will debut online with a programme guaranteed to delight audiences.

The Orchester Wiener Akademie is led by the Austrian organist and conductor, Martin Haselbock.
The Orchester Wiener Akademie is led by the Austrian organist and conductor, Martin Haselbock. (Courtesy of IKSV)

Celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday

The year 2020 marks the 250th birthday anniversary of legendary German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, an event marked worldwide with concerts and commemorative events. IKSV’s 48th Istanbul Music Festival is also following suit, with its theme of “The Enlightened World of Beethoven”, “featuring iconic works of the composer, as well as new commissions and projects inspired by his music.”

IKSV, in a statement, has explained that details of the programme and information on tickets will be announced in August.

Thumbnail photo: The Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra. (Courtesy of IKSV)

Headline photo: The Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra.  (Courtesy of IKSV)

Source: TRT World