June 23, 2012

In Istanbul, a Showcase for International Artists

For 40 years, the Istanbul Music Festival has brought performers from around the globe to evocative settings in Turkey’s cultural capital, and this year is no exception.

The festival, which runs through June 29, showcases performers like the Paris-based virtuoso Kudsi Erguner and his ensemble, playing 15th- and 16th-century Renaissance and Ottoman music inside the sixth-century Hagia Eirene Museum; the Portuguese fado artist Ana Moura singing in the garden courtyard of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum; and the ─░stanbul Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Hakan Sensoy in a program called “Women Heroes of Music” that pays homage to Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann and Fehime Sultan, at the jewel-box Sureyya Opera House on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Other internationally known performers during the festival include the French pianist Helene Grimaud, who is performing at the Hagia Eirene Museum; and the Montenegrin classical guitarist Milos, who is playing a recital inside the lushly decorated Istanbul University Rectorate Building. The festival has also struck a political note with what may be its hottest ticket this year: The celebrated Turkish pianist Fazil Say, a critic of the Islamist-rooted government, is to present the world premiere of his Symphony No 2 “Mesopotamia” along with the Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra on June 23 at the Halic Congress Center on the shores of the Golden Horn. Mr. Say is set to go to trial on Oct. 18 on charges that his comments on Twitter about paradise and atheism insulted Islamic values.

Read more on The New York Times: In Istanbul, a Showcase for International Artists


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