Since it was founded by the conductor Cem Mansur in 2007, the National Youth Philharmonic of Turkey has considered itself a “laboratory of democracy”, focusing not only on intensive musical work, but also on the principles of coexistence, leadership, self-respect and responsibility. Workshops and seminars play an important role in imparting these goals – thus also in 2014, when the orchestra visited the banks of the River Spree on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the city partnership between Istanbul and Berlin. Apart from its own appearances at Young Euro Classic – most recently in 2015, 2017, 2019 – two binational projects also found a broad resonance: the Young Euro Classic Festival Orchestra Turkey-Germany in 2011 and the Armenian-Turkish Youth Orchestra in 2012. During recent years, the musicians aged 16 to 22 have appeared successfully at the Philharmonic Halls in Dortmund and Essen, at the Auditorio in Rome, in Brussels, at the Brucknerfest in Linz and the Beethovenfest in Bonn. The orchestra has also performed in Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Warsaw on numerous occasions, appearing with soloists such as Murray Perahia, Natalia Gutman, İvo Pogorelich, Stephen Kovacevich, Shlomo Mintz and Salvatore Accardo.
The personal and artistic biography of Cem Mansur could hardly be more cosmopolitan: the British and Turkish citizen was born in Istanbul in 1957 into a multi-national and multi-lingual family. He studied first in London and then with Leonard Bernstein at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute. As the conductor of the Istanbul State Opera from 1981 to 1989 he acquired an impressive opera repertoire. The successful performance of Edward Elgar’s unfinished opera The Spanish Lady in London in 1986 was followed by internationally renowned orchestras and opera houses in Europe and the USA as well as Israel and South Africa. In 2009 Mansur conducted the European premiere of Arvo Pärt’s Symphony No. 4 in Helsinki, followed by the world premiere of his composition Veni Creator in Poland in 2010. As chief conductor of the National Youth Philharmonic of Turkey he has conducted guest appearances at Young Euro Classic and led several bi-national projects, including the Young Euro Classic Festival Orchestra Turkey-Germany and the Armenian-Turkish Youth Orchestra. From 1998 to 2011 he was also chief conductor and artistic director of the Akbank Chamber Orchestra.
28-year-old Poyraz Baltacıgil was born into a family of musicians and received his first cello lessons at the age of six. At eleven, he enrolled at the Mimar Sinan Music Academy in Istanbul, from which he graduated in 2015. Poyraz Baltacıgil then studied with Jean-Guihen Queyras at the Freiburg Music Academy, graduating with a master’s degree. He received further artistic impulses from Natalia Gutman, Yo-Yo Ma, Steven Isserlis and Johannes Moser. The cellist has performed with all the important symphony orchestras in Turkey; he is also a member of the Trio Likya. At the moment, Baltacigil is a member of the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra and associate principal cello at the Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Turkish composer Evrim Demirel is among the most important representatives of the younger Turkish generation. Born in Izmir in 1977, he studied first at Bilkent University in Ankara, then moving on to the Netherlands, where he was a student of composition, electronic music and jazz piano at the Rotterdam Conservatory. Later, Demirel studied with Theo Loevendie at the Amsterdam Conservatory, from which he graduated with a master’s degree in 2007. One characteristic element of Demirel’s compositions is the combination of a Central European musical language with the idioms of his homeland. This is reflected mainly in his use of instruments from the Eastern Mediterranean region, such as qanun, setar and oud, in his numerous compositions for chamber ensemble. Apart from concerti for clarinet, saxophone and jazz piano, his oeuvre also contains the opera Ninatta (2015) and the orchestral work Fasil No. 1 for Turkish ensemble and orchestra (2010). Evrim Demirel currently is a professor at the jazz department of the Istanbul State University; he also performs as a jazz pianist with his own ensemble.
Suite No. 4 in G-major Op. 61 ”Mozartiana” (1884)
Variations on a Rococo Theme in A-major Op. 33 (1876-1877)
”Masques et Bergamasques” Suite for Orchestra Op. 112 (1868-1918)
”Ottoman Miniatures II” (World Premiere) 🏆
Overture, Scherzo and Finale in E-major Op. 52 (1841)
About the concert
The National Youth Philharmonic of Turkey and its dynamic chief conductor Cem Mansur really need no introduction to the Young Euro Classic audience! The young Turkish musicians have ben regular summer guests, and every time their intriguing programmes and Mediterranean temperament have won an enthusiastic following. Therefore, we look forward to their 2022 appearance – the programme once again promises colour and diversity. The beginning is a double homage to Tchaikovsky, with his Mozartiana Suite and the virtuoso Rococo Variations for cello. In the second concert half, the orchestra performs Fauré’s elegant theatre suite Masques et Bergamasques and – in homage to German romanticism – Robert Schumann’s rarely-heard composition Overture, Scherzo and Finale. As a novelty from the Turkish homeland, Evrim Demirel contributes Part 2 of his successful orchestral piece Ottoman Miniatures.
Many thanks to the Mercator Foundation and the German-Turkish Youth Bridge.
The concert will be recorded by rbbKultur (UKW 92,4 and Kabel 95,35) and broadcast on 4.9. as part of the ARD Radio Festival.