A Summer Full of Music
33rd International Izmir Festival Opens with Gülsin Onay
Gülsin Onay has given the opening concert of the 33rd International Izmir Festival on 25 May with an all-Chopin recital.
The award-winning Chopin interpreter played to a packed hall, eager to hear her performance. Her varied programme featured as major works the 2nd and 3rd Ballades and the composer's monumental 3rd Sonata, framed by smaller works - a Scherzo, Mazurka, Nocturne and the little-played "Ludovic" Variations - and was received with tumultous applause and a standing ovation.
In the artist's words: "I am very happy to play this beautiful program on this important occasion, the opening of the Izmir Festival, one of the oldest and finest international festivals in Turkey. I feel a deep connection with the audience in Izmir audience and this superb hall, named after my great teacher Ahmed Adnan Saygun. Playing Chopin in this special atmosphere was a unique experience."
Gülsin Onay returned to Istanbul, where she opened a new music facility, named after her, in a state middle school, for which she raised funds in April.
Her busy summer program includes masterclasses in Istanbul; the closing concert of Benyamin Sönmez Music Festival in Fethiye; the opening concert of the 1st Gülsin Onay Piano Festival in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; the opening concert of the16th Gümüşlük International Classical Music Festival, and masterclasses in Gümüşlük Festival Academy.
Gülsin Onay to open Izmir Festival with all-Chopin recital, following celebratory North American tour
Gülsin Onay continues her packed season in May with a North American recital tour, followed by the opening concert of the International Izmir Festival.
In a tour to celebrate the 100th commemoration on 19 May of the beginning of the Turkish war of independence, Gülsin Onay will play in four cities in the USA and Canada.
The pianist, who is a State Artist of the Turkish Republic, first performs at the Antonello Hall in Minneapolis on 12 May, and gives a masterclass the next day at the MacPhail Music Center. She will then travel to Canada, where on 15 May she will give a concert at Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto's acoustically acclaimed venue where CBC radio concerts are recorded.
The artist will meet Turkish and foreign music lovers at a special concert at the Residence of Turkish Embassy in Washington on 17 May. Her tour concludes with a recital at Ganz Hall in Roosevelt University, Chicago on Sunday, 19 May.
"I am really very proud, joyful and excitedly looking forward to celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th of May with my concerts in America, and to meet with our distinguished diplomats, citizens and music lovers."
"An Evening with Chopin” by Gülsin Onay to open the 33rd International Izmir Festival Gülsin Onay gives the opening concert of the International Izmir Festival on 25 May.
Renowned for her interpretation of Chopin, for which she has been honoured with the award of the State Medal of the Polish Nation, the artist opens this dazzling festival with an all-Chopin recital celebrating the wide range of the composer's oeuvre.
Masterclass with Gülsin Onay on Medici TV
Gülsin Onay works with Cem Babacan on Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 in a master class at the Villa Sandra Lesa. You can watch the class on the Medici TV website.
Gülsin Onay’s Latest Album “Rachmaninoff & Grieg” Now Released On Cd And Digital
Gülsin Onay's new album "Rachmaninoff & Grieg" was released in CD form on 11 February, and is now available at popular digital music outlets - iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Muud, Apple Music, Fizy.
The album features two of the most popular works - the Grieg Concerto and Rachmaninoff's 2nd Concerto - with Bilkent Symphony Orchestra and conductor Emil Tabakov, and is the debut CD release of Mk2 Productions.
The artist writes: “Both the concertos on this album, as well as being among the most popular works in their genre, were written at turning points in their composers' careers. I am very happy to release these recordings of two of my favourite concertos which both transport me to wonderful worlds every time I perform them.”
8 Concerts, 2 Countries, 7 Cities
I am delighted to let you know that I will be giving concerts in the UK and Germany between the 20th of January and 4th of February 2019.
It would be wonderful to see you and share my recital programs with you. For more details about my concerts in Cambridge, Essen, Köln, Hannover, Mannheim, Aachen and Berlin please see my social media pages and website.
With sincere regards..
20 January 2019 Cambridge West Road Concert Hall
23 January 2019 Essen Public Library
24 January 2019 Köln Italian Cultural Center
26 January 2019 Hannover Waldorfschule Concert Hall
28 January 2019 Mannheim Barockschloss Rittersaal
29 January 2019 Aachen Altes Kurhaus
03 February 2019 Berlin Turkish Embassy
04 February 2019 Berlin Piano Salon Christophori
Saying farewell to 2018..
November saw Gülsin Onay performing eight concerts in Izmir, Istanbul, Samsun, Antalya and Ankara, both solo and with orchestra. Gülsin also gave a fully subscribed masterclass in Izmir and supported social responsibility projects. Her busy schedule continues in December.
Gülsin Onay performed with Alexander Markov, known for his impressive virtuosity and interpretations at the opening concert of the 15th International Gümüşlük Music Festival. Markov returns to Turkey once more to perform with Gülsin, this time meeting with music lovers on the 3rd of December at the Süreyya Opera concert hall. The sold-out concert included a program of the giant piano & violin sonatas by Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms and a work by Saygun. The program which is dedicated to the memory of George Gershwin on the occasion of the 120th year of his birth also included the ‘Rhapsody after George Gershwin, written by Albert Markov, Alexander’s father.
A Celebration of Piano in Süleymanpaşa Festival and Competition
The 4th Bisanthe Gülsin Onay Piano Days Organised by the Tekirdağ Süleymanpaşa Council, The 4th Bisanthe Gülsin Onay Piano Days will take place between the 6th and 11th of December in Süleymanpaşa. Internationally renowned artists in the festival will see a performance take place each night. The festival also has a composition competition organized for the first time this year. The works of the five competitors who make it into the final round will be performed on the evening of the 7th of December at 20:30 pm in the presence of the Jury members and the public. The winner of the competition will be determined on this night. The works will be performed by young talented pianists Mert Yeşilmenderes, Beste Tanağardıgil and Eser Öktem.
Germany in the New Year
Following a concert on the 10th of January with the Samsun State Opera and Ballet, Gülsin will begin a European tour. Stops of the tour include the following cities:
20th January - Cambridge
23th January - Essen
24th January - Cologne
26th January - Hannover
28th January - Mannheim
30th January - Berlin
October - November 2018 News
As the 2018-19 season gets into full speed, Gülsin Onay’s busy schedule in October included season opening concerts in Bursa and Eskişehir. Onay played Grieg’s expressive piano concerto two days in a row with State Symphony orchestras under Dağhan Doğu in Bursa and Patrick Souillot in Eskişehir.
Last week (12.10.18) her performance of Chopin’s 2nd piano concerto had marked the “Polish Week” events organised by Polish Embassy in Turkey and Istanbul State Symphony. As the exceptional Chopin interpreter, honoured with the award of a State Medal by the Polish nation in 2007, Onay was invited to perform under the baton of young and promising female conductor Ewa Strusinska. The special night ended with her Chopin encores for the insisting audience filling the historic Hagia Irene in Topkapi Palace.
Gülsin Onay is invited to play Ulvi Cemal Erkin’s piano concerto at the special "BIPO and Composers of the Republic Era" concert of Borusan İstanbul Philharmonic. State Artist Gürer Aykal will conduct the concert on 8th November in Lütfi Kırdar ICEC, İstanbul.
On the special commemoration day of Atatürk (10.11.18), she will perform Mozart’s KV 466 piano concerto in D minor, with Samsun State Symphony Orchestra and Artun Hoinic.
November will see another Grieg performance in Antalya, after which she heads to İzmir for masterclasses of IKSEV (Izmir Foundation for Culture, Arts and Education) between 19-22 November.
With the Istanbul Philharmonie Foundation’s Gala Concert on 25th November, autumn will give way to the winter.
I hope your summer has got off to a good start. I’d like to share a few of my experiences of recent weeks along with things still to come.
My summer season began with the hugely successful premiere of the multimedia concert “On The Road” (about which more below) at the 45th Istanbul Music Festival in June.
Afterwards, I was in Eğirdir, near Antalya, as the president of jury at the Eğirdir Chamber Music Competition.
Then I went to Barcelona to participate in the Vila-Seca Piano Festival between 11-16 July. There I gave masterclasses to a large group of international students, was jury member in the Festival's piano competition, and gave a recital at the beautiful Auditorium Josep Carreras, with a programme of Bach’s Italian Concerto, Beethoven’s “Les Adieux” sonata and Andante Favori, Chopin’s third Ballade, Saygun preludes and Franck’s “Prélude, Choral et Fugue”. It was a very intensive week, full of hard work and joy, with friendly colleagues and gifted young pianists. I owe special thanks to my hosts Pierre Reach and Karst de Jong for making my participation in the festival so rewarding.
From Barcelona, I travelled to Bodrum where I have a busy summer ahead. First is the Bodrum Music Festival, where I am being honoured with the receipt of this year's Honorary Medal on the opening night. On 8th August I will give the closing concert, which is a co-production by the Bodrum and Istanbul Festivals of the second performance of “On The Road”.
This unique multimedia project was conceived by the Istanbul Music Festival for myself and the cinematographer Murathan Özbek. Based loosely on the theme of travel, it combines an unusual recital programme with film created specially to accompany the music. Its centrepiece is Beethoven's “Les Adieux” sonata, framed by three works by Bach (two Busoni arrangements of chorale preludes, and the Andante from the Italian Concerto). The programme also includes two Brahms intermezzi, Liszt's beautiful arrangement of the Schubert song “Auf dem Wasser zu singen”, Ravel's “Ondine”, the Adagio from Schubert's late C minor sonata, and Chopin's second Ballade. Combined with the imaginative filming, it makes for a spell-binding evening, and we look forward to taking this project to other venues around the world.
Two days later comes the opening concert of the International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival, now in its 15th year, of which I have been Artistic Advisor since its beginning. Alexander Markov and I will play a beautiful programme of music for violin and piano, in the magical setting of the festival's main venue, the historic Antique Stone Quarry just outside the village of Gümüşlük.
My second concert in the festival will be with the exceptional bass player Fora Baltacıģil, who is Principal Double Bass in the Munich Philharmonic. Afterwards I will be giving masterclasses at the Gümüşlük Festival Academy alongside my colleagues Cyprien Katsaris and Konrad Richter.
And then in September I will start the new season with further exciting programmes.
With my very best wishes to you all,
A World Premiere at 46th İstanbul Music Festival with Gülsin Onay
Pianist Gülsin Onay is going to perform a "world premiere" at the 46th Istanbul Music Festival on 11th June, 2018 at Süreyya Opera House.
"On the Road" is a multidisciplinary project that combines Gülsin Onay’s passionate and intelligent interpretations with director Murathan Özbek’s sensitive camera.
Here is what she tells about the program:
In this unusual concert I am playing a programme of linked piano works, alongside a film which is being produced specially for the occasion by a well-known Turkish cinematographer, Murathan Özbek. The theme of the event is travel - "On The Road''.
The concert is framed by three pieces of Bach. Two of these are arrangements by Busoni of Chorale Preludes: Ich ruf' zu dir ("I call to You, Lord Jesus Christ''), and the famous Wachet auf ("Sleepers wake!'').
Also you will hear two nostalgic Intermezzi by Brahms, followed by Liszt's transcription of the Schubert song Auf dem Wasser zu singen ("To sing on the water''), depicting a peaceful evening scene in a boat, reflecting on the escape from the passage of time.
This is followed by the centrepiece of the concert, Beethoven's programmatic sonata Les Adieux, inspired by the departure of the composer's friend and patron Archduke Rudolf of Austria after Napoleon's assault on Vienna in 1809.
Ravel's Ondine is a depiction of the legendary water-nymph who sings to seduce her observers from her home in the depths of the sea. Next is the haunting slow movement of Schubert's late C minor sonata. The penultimate work is Chopin's dramatic 2nd Ballade, full of contrasts. The contemplative slow movement of Bach's Italian Concerto will bring the concert to a quiet conclusion.
Farewell Autumn, Greetings Winter!
Gülsin Onay is greeting winter from Zagreb. After her recital at Yunus Emre Cultural Center in Zagreb, she will go to Tekirdağ, the city part of the region historically known as Eastern Thrace.
4 years ago the Municipality named a street after her name and Onay thanks the city by organizing this piano festival for the last three years. This year the events open with Mauricio Vallina’s recital from Cuba.
One of the last concerts of November was on 27th, at CRR Concert Hall in Istanbul where she performed Saygun’s first piano concerto for a packed hall in the special commemoration concert for Saygun’s 110th birth anniversary. After that Onay went to Ankara to play a fundraising recital for the Children Workshops of MUZED (Music Educators Association).
The pianist was in Zimbabwe for two recitals and the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador visited UNICEF in Harare and observed their project of musical treatment for disabled children.
Gülsin Onay, was the jury member of the 3rd İstanbul Orchestra'Sion International Piano Competition between 13-19 November along with Pierre Reach, Jean-Yves Clement, Tamayo Ikeda, Emre Şen and Vahan Mardirossian.
Gülsin Onay, who spent her summer working on brand new repertoire and with the intense tempo of Gümüşlük Festival, also undertook three big events in Gümüşlük
4.Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competition
The competition dedicated to the memory of Ahmed Adnan Saygun, Turkey’s greatest composer of the 20th century and father of modern Turkish classical music, took place between 15th and 19th of August this year.
The prizes to the second and third performances were not found while Tolga Atalay Ün and Özgür Deniz Akalın in the class A over 18 were sharing the first place. In the class A, for performers over 18 years of age, Tolga Atalay Ün and Özgür Deniz Akalın were joint winners of the first prize. Tuna Bilgin, one of the young talents competing in class B under the age of 18, was the prize winner of this class with his performance. Young contestant Tuna Bilgin was also the owner of the "Best Saygun Interpretation" award. This was the fourth time the competition has taken place. The jury of international top pianists comprised Gülsin Onay (president) with Ilya Itin (Russia), Romano Pallottini (Italy) and Mauricio Vallina (Cuba) and Ilya Itin (Russia).
Gumusluk Festival Academy (GFA)
As well as the masterclasses at the GFA, Gülsin Onay, takes time to meet young musicians at every opportunity abroad and within Turkey. This year, 18 young pianists in the GFA's Piano Masterclass program had the opportunity to work with world-renowned teachers.
Onay's emotional words after the masterclass students’ concert received a standing ovation from the audience: "Imagine a generation of young musicians who are able to feel the richness of Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Saygun, Mozart, Schubert, Rachmaninoff at the same time; through these masters’ works, capable of expressing from major to minör, from Meşeli to Mazurka; from forte to piano; adagio to presto; from staccato to legato.. and live with music for 24 hours.. Was this not what Atatürk imagined for the youth of our country?”
Festival Closing Concert
On September 4th, Gülsin Onay gave the closing concert of the 14th International Gümüslük Classical Music Festival to a packed audience at the 2500-year-old Antique Stone Quarry, the main stage of the festival.
Her programme, which she played for the first time in Turkey, comprised two well-loved works: Bach’s Italian Concerto and Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata; the little-known but enchanting Pavane by Enescu; and two pieces by Liszt: the delicate concert-study Waldesrauschen, and the massive Sonate après une lecture de Dante.
Gülsin Onay Met Very Young Pianists on September 6th
Music lovers and child pianists in İzmir met with the world famous pianist Gülsin Onay at Hikmet Şimşek Arts Center on September 6th. The event is within the scope of a project initiated by Piyano Teachers of Karsiyaka Municipality Conservatory with the support of Karsiyaka Mayor Hüseyin Mutlu Akpınar. Gülsin Onay held a workshop class and gave a short concert to a full house of music lovers and pianists, young and old.
September concerts in Cesme, Braşov, Samsun and Paris open an intensive concert season
Gülsin Onay participated at the 3rd International Cesme Classical Music Academy and Festival and gave a recital at Aya Haralambos Church on September 7th.
Ms. Onay then goes to Romania, where she gives a recital in Braşov on September 12th in Sala Patria, under the auspices of the New Europe Society.
Following this recital at Sala Patria on September 12, the pianist will perform Mozart's KV414 Piano Concerto with Samsun State Opera and Ballet Orchestra on September 23, as the season opening concert.
The last concert Gülsin Onay will give in September will be held at Salle Cortot in Paris on the 27th.
Schumann: ABEGG Variations, Op.1
Mendelssohn: Variations serieuses, Op.54
Saygun: Preludes on Aksak Rhythms Op.45, no.4, 12
Chopin: Nocturne op.9 no.2, E flat major
Chopin: Ballade no.3 in, A flat major
Beethoven: Andante Favorite
Beethoven: Piano Sonata "Waldstein", Op.53
Radio-3 Workshop with Gülsin Onay
You can listen to Gülsin Onay’s radio show on air Saturdays every fortnight.
Dates: 2 / 16 / 30 September, 8 pm (+3GMT)
In Turkey when someone mentions “Bodrum”, most people would think only of vacation. This summer paradise has been my "working place" for almost 25 years, the last 14 years of which have been divided between my personal work and coordinating the Gümüşlük Festivalalong with my great friend and colleague Eren Levendoğlu.
I remember many intense working sessions, like learning Bartok's 2nd Piano Concerto in 1 month, which Bodrum has offered me in summer time. This summer, Enesco's Pavane, Bach's Italian Concerto, and Beethoven's "Pathetique" Sonata are on my list of new works for my Romania concert in September.
Between 28 June and 2 July, I have a Beethoven recording session at the Bilkent Music Faculty with my violinist son Erkin Onay who is also a superb recoding engineer. I will record "Waldstein" and Op .111 sonatas, as well as his “Andante Favori”.
Then back to Bodrum immediately for summer concerts and practise.
From the junction in Ortakent, if you take the left road towards Yalikavak, after 2km you will reach another junction. The Yalikavak road will take you to a wonderful spot where you will encounter a stone structure integrated with nature on the right. Two massive yoghurt churns on the rocks by the entrance to the parking lot give this building its name: Dibeklihan. This complex of buildings has been transformed into a cultural arts paradise through the vision of Cenap Tezer. Exhibitions, lectures and conferences, film shows aand concerts take place especially during summer. I will give a recital at Dibeklihan Culture and Arts Village on Monday, July 5th, at 21.30. As part of a series of special events in Dibeklihan, related to the Village Institutes, this special concert is dedicated to the memory of my teacher, great Turkish composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun who had also written the Village Institute march.
The Ayvalık International Music Academy (AIMA), which is being organized by Prof. Filiz Ali since 1998, is a summer school that fulfills a very important place in Turkish classical music scene. I am looking forward to meet AIMA friends in Ayvalık on 8th July at my recital there.
Hopes for the best of our beloved country blooms with a new festival. Altınoluk Art Days is starting in Altınoluk this summer. I am very happy to be the guest of this new festival for a recital on 3 August.
Summer festivals and masterclasses are great opportunities for both professional musicians and students all around the world. This year I am proud to participate in one of the best in Serbia, the Vranje Piano Summer Festival. With the young and talented Lepidus Quartet, I will play Ulvi Cemal Erkin’s Piano Quintet on 13 August.
As soon as I return to Bodrum from Vranje, it is time for the Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Festival, Gümüşlük Festival Academy and 14th International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival.
The Gümüşlük International Classical Music Festival and Gümüşlük Festival Academy is held in the small fishing village of Gümüşlük, near Bodrum. It began in 2004 as a series of concerts and has grown to be a meeting place for internationally renowned musicians and up-and-coming performers.
We started the Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competion in 2012 within the framework of Gümüşlük Festival. In the past two years, nearly 30 talented young pianists have exhibited all their talents to make Ahmed Adnan Saygun's name live. This unique experience has become an important milestone for all participants. This year the Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competition will be held on 15-19 August.
At the same time, Gumusluk Festival Academy Piano Mastersclasses are also starting. These residential classes take place in the archaeological and natural site of Gumusluk, one of the most beautiful and unspoilt seaside villages in the Bodrum peninsula. We expect to see about 100 students attending this year's 5 masterclass programs, which will continue uninterrupted each day during the festival.
Gilles Apap will give the violin masterclass between 24th and 29th of July, our cellist master Dilbag Tokay will give the violoncello masterclass between July 25th and August 1st. Russian pianist Ilya Itin, Italian pianist Romano Pallotini, Cuban pianist Mauricio Vallina and myself will teach at the piano masterclass from August 15th to August 25th. Bülent Evcil and Italian flautist Raffaele Trevisani will give the flute masterclasses from 26 - 31 August. The guitar masterclass will be at the same time with South African guitarist Derek Gripper, Erdem Sökmen and Brazilian virtuoso Egberto Gismomti.
I am honored to give the closing concert of this year’s Gümüşlük events on 4th September and I look forward to meeting all music lovers there at the Antique Stone Quarry.
With warmest regards,
Spring and summer sees Gülsin Onay around the world
As the 2016-17 season draws to an end, Turkey’s celebrated cultural ambassador Gülsin Onay continues her hectic programme through May.
Since September 2016, Gülsin Onay has been concertising every week, playing to standing ovations in packed halls from Hong Kong to Florida, Japan and Turkey. Appearing in both recital and concerto, she gave premieres of Saygun piano works abroad in his 110th birth anniversary.
Her busy season has also included chamber music concerts with acclaimed British Endellion Quartet, masterclasses and charity concerts.
After a recital at the 6th Annual Stay in May Festival in Florida at the end of April, Gülsin Onay kicked off her May concerts with a special event at 2nd International Spring and Poetry Festival in İstanbul. She returns to Europe for a concert in Cambridge on 6th May, where she is to perform Beethoven's 4th concerto with the East Anglia Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Andrew Watkinson.
The Göttingen Symphoniker will then host Gülsin Onay on 12th May where she performs Saygun’s first piano concerto, conducted by Kevin Griffiths.
Gülsin Onay then returns to Turkey in preparation for the 4th Ahmed Adnan Saygun piano competition, organised by the Bodrum Classical Music Association as a part of the International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival.
The competition will be running from the 15th – 19th August 2017 in Gümüşlük, Bodrum. Her busy season will draw to a close with masterclasses at the Gümüşlük Festival Academy and a recital in the Gümüşlük Festival.
Gülsin Onay’s Busy Spring Schedule Highlights Far East, North UK, USA, Turkey and Germany
Right after her Far East Tour in February, which included Hong Kong and Japan; March 2017 saw Pianist Gülsin Onay touring in Northern England with five recitals in Stockton-On-Tees, Barnard Castle, Durham and Norths Shields, organized by "Master Musicians International Series".
The UK concerts were followed by the Turkey tour with leading ensemble the Endellion String Quartet. Onay joined the quartet in Dvorak’s second piano quartet in the series of concerts which took place in Ankara, Istanbul and Tekirdağ.
After her opening recital of the Büyükçekmece Piano Days on 24th March, in Istanbul, the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador appeared in another charity event on 26th March in Izmir.
The pianist kicked off April with Bilkent Symphony Orchestra (Gürer Aykal) and Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto, followed by the first masterclasses of 2017 in Ankara between 4-7 April in Bilkent. Later that month she travels to Naples, Florida, for a recital in the Naples Stay In May festival.
Ms.Gulsin Onay's next stop will be West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge with Beethoven's 4th, East Anglia Chamber Orchestra and Andrew Watkinson.
The world-acclaimed interpreter of Saygun’s music, Gülsin Onay goes to Göttingen, Germany to perform his first piano concerto with Göttingen Symphoniker under Kevin Griffiths. She gave the Hong Kong premiere of the piece earlier this year with Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra and Sascha Goetzel. 2017 will bring many performances of Saygun’s works in celebration of his 110th birth anniversary.
Saygun premiere in Hong Kong & 17th tour to Japan
In the 110th anniversary of the composer's birth, Gülsin Onay gets ready for the Hong Kong premiere of Ahmed Adnan Saygun's 1st Piano Concerto
Ahmet Adnan Saygun (1907-1991), the titan of modern Turkish music, according to the London Times, dedicated his second piano concerto to his student Gülsin Onay. Saygun once wrote in a letter to her: "For me, the artist should avoid to drowning in a pit of vanity. One has to have the will to be good enough, reach beauty, seek the truth; and to feel the virtue of being human by trying to achieve these things. I walked this way all my life. If I have been able to succeed at this in just one or two works, I am happy."
During her international career covering 75 countries, Gülsin Onay has been able to follow his advice for the best. As the world's leading interpreter of Saygun's work, she has performed his two piano concertos in over 100 concerts worldwide, and is honoured and excited to premiere his 1st concerto in Hong Kong with the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIFO) under the direction of Sascha Goetzel.
Immediately after the performance in the 45th Hong Kong Art Festival on February 16th, Ms Onay will head to Japan for her 17th concert tour there. The pianist has a large fan base in that country, and has even had a wine labelled after her. Her concerts there have been broadcast on national television, reaching millions of people. During this tour Ms Onay will give recitals featuring works by Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin and Franck in Fukuoka and Shirakawa.
Gülsin Onay New Album for 2017
In the first weeks of the year, between enthralling audiences in İzmir, Cambridge, Ankara and Eskişehir, Gülsin Onay also has recorded a new solo album, featuring works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Franck and Saygun. These new additions to her discography will be avidly awaited by her fans, and will be released later in the year by iTunes and other digital distributors.
The First Master Class of the Year in Istanbul
Every summer for the last 10 years, at the Gümüşlük Festival Academy, Gülsin Onay has met young pianists and shared with them her unique experience. During the concert season, despite her intense concert and travel schedule, she creates spare time for piano students,. Her first masterclasses of 2017 was held in Istanbul on 6 and 7 February, organised by the Bosphorus Academy of Arts. Following the masterclasses Ms Onay gave special concert at the Pera Palace Jumeirah Hotel for the benefit of the "Sensation Association" on February 9.
Chamber Music in March with Endellion Quartet
In March Gülsin Onay continues her collaboration with the world-renowned Endellion Quartet, with who she has already performed in England and Turkey, with a series of concerts in Istanbul, Ankara and Terkirdağ, in which they will play together Dvorak's magical 2nd Piano Quartet Op.87.
Gülsin Onay continues to inspire young musicians in masterclasses along with audiences in Turkey and abroad in the New Year
In December she gave masterclasses in Bursa, where the 1st Nilüfer Piano Competition and Festival took place. She opened the festival on December 10th playing Chopin’s 2nd Piano Concerto and later worked with 15 brilliant young pianists as well as acting in the competition jury.
Her masterclasses will continue in İstanbul on 6 and 7th February and in Ankara on 4-6 April.
To begin the New Year, Gülsin Onay performed the 1st piano concerto of Ahmed Adnan Saygun, the milestone composer of Turkish contemporary music and also her teacher, on 6th January in İzmir, in the Ahmet Adnan Saygun Concert Hall, on the anniversary of the composer's death. Ms. Onay explains that this occasion is very emotional and special for her, 2017 also being the 110th anniversary of Saygun’s birth. She has dedicated many concerts around the world this year to perform his works: 16 February Hong Kong, 21 February Tokyo, 13 May Göttingen, 15-16-17 March North East UK to name a few.
Constantly suprising audiences with her endless energy and novel projects, Ms. Onay's latest venture is a radio show on Turkish Radio and Televison (State Broadcasting Company), "Gulsin Onay’s Radio 3 Studio". The first broadcast was on 7th January, and they will continue every fortnight on Saturdays at 8pm for 1 hour.
The Cambridge based pianist frequently performs at the West Road Concert Hall of the town, and makes her next appearance there on 14th January as part of the New Europe Society "Schumann Series". She will appear later in the year there alongside the East Anglia Chamber Orchestra, playing Beethoven's 4th concerto under the direction of Andrew Watkinson on 6 May.
Adding to her past 20 albums, which already illustrate the breadth of her repertoire as well as her interpretive power, Gülsin Onay will happily be back in the recording studio at the end of January to record works by Beethoven, Franck, Saygun and other composers.
2016-2017 Concert Season Highlights
Cambridge-based Turkish State Artist, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, in high demand for her unique and sensuous Chopin, Saygun and Rachmaninoff interpretations ‒ pianist Gülsin Onay gave her 2000th concert in July at the 13th International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival, where she has been Artistic Advisor since its foundation.
In 2015-2016 season, she played in major concert halls and festivals of Turkey and was warmly welcomed in cities worldwide: Luxembourg, Münster, Qatar, Paris, London, Cambridge, Sao Paulo, Brasil and Tokyo. Her season also featured world premieres, masterclasses, charity and fund raising concerts.
Ms Onay will visit Santiago Teatro Oriente at the end of October, after the season opening concert in Izmir with Karşıyaka Chamber Orchestra, a recital in Notre Dame de Sion, Istanbul, a performance of Saint-Saens' Piano Concerto no.2 with Antalya State Symphony Orchestra and a special concert in Istanbul for the National Day, celebrating the 93th Anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
November 2016 will see her collaboration with the young and very talented Saygun Quartet in Izmir and Istanbul playing Schumann and Erkin piano quintets. The Presidential Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 190th Anniversary with two special concerts in the capital Ankara with the pianist on 17 and 18 November. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Gülsin Onay will close November with two fundraising concerts in Izmir and Istanbul.
December 2016 will kick off with the opening concert of “Gülsin Onay Piano Days” in Tekirdağ. The pianist is invited to open the 1st Bursa Piano Competition and Festival, where she will also be jury member. Gülsin Onay closes 2016 with a new years’ concert in Mersin with State Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
Gülsin Onay will celebrate the 110th birth anniversary of her teacher and lifetime mentor, the world-acclaimed Turkish composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun, with special concerts and premieres worldwide. Onay will play his 1st piano concerto in the 45th Hong Festival with BIFO, under Sascha Goetzel. She will repeat the piece in May with Göttingen Symphoniker under Kevin Griffiths.
For further updated concert dates, please visit Concerts page.
Wish You A Wonderful Summer Holiday!
Cambridge based Turkish pianist Gülsin Onay closed 2015-2016 season with her recital at West Road Concert Hall on 16th June, arranged by The New Europe Society.
Her performance was "a masterclass in expression, virtuosity and inspirational musicianship" according to Jude Clarke of Cambridge News.
As Artistic Advisor and co-founder of Gümüşlük International Classical Music Festival, Gülsin Onay will open the 13th festival on 8th July. This will be her 2000th concert and this date was especially chosen for it's being the 100th birthday of her teacher Mithat Fenmen. She will perform Chopin's piano concerto no2 (quartet version) with Saygun Quartet and double bass player Cemre Burhan Çetin, along the works of Ulvi Cemal Erkin and Dvorak.
I wish you a peaceful and wonderful summer holiday.
Best regards, Gülsin Onay
Cambridge Recital and TV Broadcast
Dear Friends, It’s a great pleasure for me to share the news that I will be performing in the New Europe Society Beethoven Series in West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, on 16th June, Thursday.
Before the concert, on Thursday 9th June, Frankie Lowe’s interview will be on Cambridge TV’s program The M.A.C (Music, Arts & Culture) part of the evening News show, between 8:30pm and 9pm.
As the 2015-16 season draws to an end, Turkey’s Cultural Ambassador Gülsin Onay continues her busy programme through May
Since September 2015, Gülsin Onay has been concertising every week, playing to standing ovations in packed halls from Luxembourg to Brazil, Japan and Qatar.
Appearing in both recital and concerto, she gave the world premiere of a concerto dedicated to her, as well as premieres of Saygun piano works abroad and in many cities in Turkey.
Her busy season has also included chamber music concerts, masterclasses, charity concerts and being juror at international piano competitions.
After giving the closing concert of the Ankara Festival at the end of April, Gülsin Onay kicked off her May concerts with the opening of the 12th Bellapais Spring Festival in Cyprus, playing Shostakovich’s first piano concerto with trumpet player Julian Lupu.
She continues with a charity concert in Istanbul on 13rd and a recital in Ankara on 17th in Çankaya Contemporary Arts Center.
Back in Istanbul, Ms. Onay plays a special program at the annual Prof.Türkan Saylan Arts and Science Awards Ceremony on 18th at İş Sanat.
She then gives a recital at the historic Süreyya Opera House on 23rd May to close their 2015-16 concert series. From there she visits Almaty for a special concert on 25th at Almaty's State Philharmonic Hall to celebrate 25 years of independence of Kazakhstan and the city's Millennium.
She returns to Europe for a recital in Cambridge on 16th June, after which she travels to Bodrum for the 13th Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival, of which she is Artistic Advisor and founder.
A World Premiere in Ankara; Romantism in Tokyo with Sakuras
Star pianist Gülsin Onay delivers another World Premiere at the end of a packed April schedule.
Romanian composer and conductor Bujor Hoinic, who has lived in Turkey since 1984, has dedicated his newly composed piano concerto to Ms.Onay. She will give its first performances with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra on 28 and 29th April in Ankara, with [the composer's son] Artun Hoinic conducting.
Ms Onay will close the 33rd International Ankara Music Festival on 30th April. With the Ankara Youth Symphony Orchestra under Gürer Aykal’s baton she will perform one of her favourites, the Grieg concerto.
Ms.Onay began her April concerts with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra under Rengim Gökmen, playing Saygun’s first piano concerto. They repeated the same program in Qatar at the Katara Opera House and Drama Theatre on 18th April.
Earlier in the month Gülsin Onay, who has played many times in Japan, made a quick springtime visit to give a recital in Tokyo on 12nd, with a Romantic programme of Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin. Elsewhere in a busy April she performed a duo recital with violinist Erkin Onay in Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University, and a birthday anniversary concert for the memory of Prof.Dr. İhsan Doğramacı, founder of Bilkent University.
Gülsin Onay, Back From Tour in Brasil, To Perform 3 Piano Concertos With 3 Different Orchestras
Gülsin Onay is back from a series of concerts in Sao Paulo and Brasilia to start a marathon of piano extravaganza in Turkey.
"I will play my three most favorite concertos within a week, an exciting and joyful occasion for me personally” said the acclaimed pianist; expressing her condolences for the recent terror attacks in Turkey and Belgium. She said: “Music will keep us united and strong for such acts against peace, harmony and tolerance.”
Gülsin Onay' will start her concerto series on March 25th in Izmir. With İzmir State Symphony Orchestra, directed by the most talented young Polish conductor Wojciech Rodek; currently the art director of Lublin Philharmonic. Ms Onay will perform Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto.
She will play two recitals in Buca on March 26th and in Istanbul on March 30th.
Her further concerto performances will start on April 1st at Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Concert Hall, with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rengim Gökmen; playing Ahmet Adnan Saygun’s first piano concerto, Op. 34. Ahmed Adnan Saygun, as well as being Turkey’s leading 20th century composer, was also teacher of Gülsin Onay, has been a symbolic name for the artist. She remembers the days when the two would rehearse the piece, with fond memories of Saygun asking her to feel every part, with his own comments on the spirit of every note. She reminisces how Saygun played the piano, with voicing “pom-poms” on every crescendo. “I felt as if the piece was my own composition” said Ms Onay.
The concerto series will finale in Ankara, where Gülsin Onay will play with Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, performing Grieg’s popular piano concerto in A minor. The piece has been an all-time favorite for Ms Onay; she says: “The folkloric melodies by Grieg make me feel like a local.”
MUSIC PREVAILS BEFORE THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN BRAZIL
Turkish pianist Gülsin Onay will take the stage in Brazil, as part of an extended concert series already received with great acclaim in Germany and UK this February. She performs a Turkish-themed program, as duo with her violinist son, Erkin Onay.
Gülsin Onay welcomes spring in London, Sao Paulo, İzmir and İstanbul
With a career dedicated to mostly promoting Turkish composers for overseas audiences, Gülsin Onay is the first pianist to perform Ahmed Adnan Saygun’s pieces internationally, who had been her teacher of a lifetime and has dedicated his second piano concerto for her.
Sharing the ideal with his son Erkin Onay, Ms. Gülsin Onay performed an exclusive repertoire displaying the evolution of Western music in Turkey for art lovers in Germany and UK, while getting ready for another world premiere by the end of April, where she will hit the keys for Bujor Hoinic’s piano concerto.
Following the March 2nd concert in London, Gülsin Onay and Erkin Onay will head to Sao Paulo on March 15th and the capital Brasilia on 17th, for two exclusive recitals. The duo will wave the Turkish flag with musical notes before the Olympic Games in the country. The mother and son will also headline an exclusive program in İstanbul in May.
March 25th will mark another highlight, Gülsin Onay will accompany the State Philharmonic Orchestra of İzmir, led by a most talented young Polish conductor Wojciech Rodek; currently the art director of Lublin Philharmonic. Ms Onay will perform Tchaikovsky’s Op. 23 No.1 piano concerto, composed for the timeless virtuoso Nikolai Rubinstein. The piece, notorious for the changes asked by Rubinstein and got Tchaikovsky aggravated for such a request, was not changed by the composer and published as it was. Ms Onay commented on the piece as: “An unprecedented musical excellence dedicated to Rubinstein but ended in frustration”. Gülsin Onay also said: “The almost brutal criticism by Rubinstein was revealed in the letters to Nadezhda Von Meck and I feel like realizing Tchaikovsky’s dream as if the concerto was dedicated to me.”
The renowned pianist will then proceed to a recital composed of Mozart, Liszt and Chopin on March 26th, as part of the Buca Festival in İzmir.
Her ongoing program as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador will bear another concert on March 30th at the St. Esprit Church located at Lycee De Notre Dame De Sion in İstanbul. She will introduce a young talent, Cemil Yener Gökbudak, a student at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the winner of OrchestraSion Piano Contest.
Gülsin Onay will perform for music enthusiasts in Zonguldak, Tokyo and Ankara in April; following her World Premiere of Bujor Hornic’s piano concerto performance.
GÜLSİN ONAY CLOSES 2015 WITH 9 DIFFERENT PROGRAMMES IN FRANCE, MALTA AND TURKEY
The last 3 weeks of 2015 are a period of great activity for Gülsin Onay. On 9th December she gives a recital in the historic Teatru Manoel in Valetta, Malta. Shortly after, in "Gülsin Onay Piano Days" in Tekirdağ, she plays a duo recital with her violinist son Erkin Onay on 12nd December, which they follow up two days later with a further recital in Eskişehir. The next day, Gülsin Onay plays a solo recital in Istanbul for UNICEF in her role as Goodwill Ambassador.
Next, she travels to Paris for a memorial concert on 19th December for the Turkish State Artist and pianist Verda Erman, who died in 2014. Gülsin Onay performs in Théatre Adyar alongside Güray Başol, Stephane Blet, Ayla Erduran, Anton Martinov, Jean-Claude Pennetier, Georges Pludermacher, Bruno Rigutto and Hüseyin Sermet, in memory of their colleague. Following this,
Afterwards she returns to Istanbul for a recital with her student Mert Yeşilmenderes at Akbank Sanat on 23rd. On 26th December she gives a morning recital at the famous Pera Palas Hotel, and a music-packed month and year draws to a close with a recital in Ege University, Izmir.
GÜLSİN ONAY GOES WITH THE WIND IN NOVEMBER …
After her enchanting Schumann concerto performance on 13th, in İstanbul ICEC conducted by famous British conductor James Judd, the pianist will play a recital with her violinist son Erkin Onay on 24th November. This will be their very first performance together in İzmir Ahmed Adnan Saygun Arts Center.
Gülsin Onay will play the Schumann concerto on 27th November in the framework of 16th International Antalya Piano Festival, under Marek Pijarowski’s baton with Antalya State Symphony Orchestra. She describes the concerto which she already played with Vladimir Askenazy and Iceland Symphony, Wislocki and Warsaw Philharmonic, De la Fuente and México Philharmonie, Sinfonia Varsovia as “With its lyrical beauty and expressive style, this magnificent concerto is one of my favourites.” Gülsin Onay will also teach masterclasses in the Antalya Piano Festival on 26, 28 and 29 November.
Between 16-22 November, she acts as jury member for the İstanbul Orchestra’Sion – International Piano Competition, a member of the prestigious foundation Alink-Argerich since 2013.
APPROACHING THE NEW CONCERT SEASON
Gülsin Onay will play Schumann, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Saygun and Chopin on the opening night of 4.Fethiye Classical Music Festival “In Memory of Benyamin Sönmez”, on 16th September.
Her traditional annual Cambridge charity concert is on 26th.
Gülsin Onay will attend European Festivals Association EFFE’s meeting in Paris and will return to Istanbul to play a special concert for 4th International Conference AMT’15 of Newcastle University and Istanbul Technical University on 28th.
Her October 2015 higlights are recitals in Izmir, Ankara, Luxembourg and Istanbul.
CLOSING SUMMER ACTIVITIES
My country is going through a difficult period. We need music, which I believe is the most effective tool for achieving tolerance and peace, more than ever.
Join me with this special evening when I will be playing “A Serenade to the Stars” recital on August 4th at Gumusluk Antique Stone Quarry. In this magical atmosphere of the stone quarry I’ll be sending peace and love messages through pieces like Beethoven’s Moonlight and Debussy’s Ballade.
Proudly being the Artistic Advisor for 12 years, European Festivals Association member, the International Gumusluk Classical Music Festival hosted wonderful musicians from “Grammy Award Winners” Kronos Quartet to “UK`s Best Loved Pianist” Martin Roscoe. The festival was accompanied two more important evets; the 3rd Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competition was held between 20-23 July. RCM student Salih Can Gevrek took the first prize. The competition had a broad repercussion in international press and I am so proud to present Saygun's and our young talents' names in international arenas.
Besides, Gumusluk Festival Academy (GFA) organized Flute: Bulent Evcil (Turkey) & Philip Moll (USA), Piano: Vyacheslav Gryaznov (Russia) / Martin Roscoe (UK) / Anika Vavic (Serbia) / Gülsin Onay (Turkey), Violin: Gilles Apap (France) Masterclasses this year.
I am closing summer activities on September, 16th with the opening recital of 4th Fethiye Classical Music Festival organized in memoriam of Benyamin Sonmez, brilliant cellist who passed away at a very young age. My 2015-2016 concert season will start on October 7th (Antalya Piano Festival). Luxembourg and Istanbul recitals will follow. Hope to meet you in concerts..
03.08.2015 Gumusluk, Bodrum
GÜLSIN ONAY'S SUMMER MESSAGE - UNIQUE LONDON APPEARANCE THIS SEASON COMING UP
My dear friends - it has been an extremely busy first few months of the year, with some extraordinary concerts and more to come. I already had two trips to the USA, for recitals in New York and Washington in March, and in Boston in April. Between them I fitted in a trip to Buenos Aires for two more recitals in that enchanting city. In the space of 2 weeks in May saw concerts in 5 different cities, with 3 different concertos as well as a recital programme. This was followed by a concert with the largest audience I have ever experienced - at Ataturk's Mausolem in Ankara on 19 May, with an attendance of 50,000 people!!
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM GÜLSIN ONAY
It has been a busy year with many wonderful concerts. Highlights of my 2014 season were performances in April with Neeme Yarvi performing Chopin's 2nd piano concerto and with Iranian conductor Alexander Rahbari in Antalya, performing Mozart's concerto in D minor K466.
It was a huge honour to be the recipient of the 42nd International Istanbul Music Festival Honorary award, which I received in a ceremony in May of this year. The award was given in recognition of an outstanding life-long career, and in addition for promoting the works of my mentor and teacher Ahmed Adnan Saygun throughout the world.
ISTANBUL MUSIC FESTIVAL'S 2014 HONORARY AWARD TO GULSIN ONAY
The 42nd Istanbul Music Festival confers its Honorary Award on pianist Gülsin Onay, one of Turkey's "child prodigies" who has since built a distinguished international career spanning 68 countries across all continents, from Venezuela to Japan. An exceptional Chopin and Rachmaninov interpreter, she is also acknowledged worldwide as the finest interpreter of the music of Saygun and has inspired contemporary composers, including Saygun and Stuppner, to dedicate works to her. She has performed with such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, and Tokyo Symphony, and with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andrey Boreyko, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Jose Serebrier. She is the founding Artistic Advisor of the Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival and Eklisia Summer Music Academy, whereby her musical endeavours extend to fostering young talents. She takes a special interest in the promotion of charitable causes, giving charity concerts for NGOs around the world and for UNICEF Turkey, for whom she is a Goodwill Ambassador. Gülsin Onay will be presented her award at the ceremony on the opening night of the festival, on Saturday 31 May 2014.
Full story: http://muzik.iksv.org/en/archive/newsarchive/p/1/859
Vengerov & Onay for UNICEF
Pianist Gulsin Onay joined forces with violinist Maxim Vengerov to benefit UNICEF in a concert in Istanbul. Immediately after this event, she flew to Belgrade to play with the Belgrade Philharmonic conducted by Ruben Gazarjan. November will see the famous pianist on a Turkey tour and at the closing concert of the Vilnius Piano Festival with the Lithuanian National Symphony under the baton of Robertas Servenikas.
GÜLSİN ONAY AND ENDELLION QUARTET IN GÜMÜŞLÜK FESTIVAL
A major highlight of the "Let's Bodrum" 10th Gümüşlük International Classical Music Festival was the performance by Gülsin Onay and the world-renowned Endellion Quartet on 28th July. The sold-out concert was held in the beautiful historic setting of the Antique Quarry of Koyunbaba.
NEW DIGITAL SOLO ALBUM RELEASED - "NIGHT MUSIC"
Following her many successful vinyl and CD recordings, Gülsin Onay now steps firmly into the digital age with a digital-only release of her latest album "Night Music", the first title in the new CoffeeTime Records series. This album features music by Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy and Ravel, as well as a wonderful rarity: Elgar's "In Smyrna", inspired by his visit to Izmir in 1905. The album is available as a whole or as individual tracks to download at major sites, including iTunes and Amazon.
2012 in Retrospect
8 piano concertos in 2012
7 countries in 2012
3 charity concerts in 2012
and 2013 will include
7 weeks 5 countries 12 concerts
Gülsin Onay's new concert season launches this Friday, with 11 more concerts to follow in the next seven weeks.
SUMMER ADVANCES IN FESTIVALS
Following another busy concert season, Gülsin Onay has welcomed the summer at international festivals. The renowned pianist performed in the Young Masters and Their Heroes concert at the 40th Istanbul Music Festival in June, and opened the 9th Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival at the beginning of July. She is now heading to the Deutschlandsberg Piano Festival.
LIONS CLUBS INTERNATIONAL HONOUR GÜLSİN ONAY
Çırağan Lions Club bestowed the Türkan Kahramankaptan Special Award in Music upon Gülsin Onay. She received her award at a ceremony held on May 14th, Monday.
Lions International recognizes outstanding individuals by bestowing on them an award that is named for its founder, Melvin Jones. This Fellowship Award is the highest form of recognition and embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the nature and purpose of Lionism. Gülsin Onay will receive the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award from the Angora Lions Club at a ceremony on May 25th.
FROM CAMBRIDGE TO GAZIANTEP
In an ever busy season, concerts have taken Gülsin Onay to Germany, France, England, and Turkey since the beginning of 2012. Gülsin Onay will return to Istanbul on 23rd of May for a recital to benefit the Mother and Health Foundation and she will be the guest of Istanbul Music Festival in June.
“le gigantisme pianistique”