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Guide to the Istanbul Music Festival

Here you can find all the information you might need about the Istanbul Music Festival, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, including the most recent reviews and articles. Scroll down for past editions' features.


11 – 30 June 2019

47th Istanbul Music Festival

The most established classical music event in Turkey, the Istanbul Music Festival is internationally renowned especially for its creative programmes and contribution in enriching the classical music repertoire by commissions. The festival spreads across the city with events at historical sites and cultural venues alongside concert halls, and with free concerts at parks and gardens.

In its 47th year, the Istanbul Music Festival, with its theme “Darkness of Being, Lightness of Being” focuses on the dualities in life, such as good-bad, happiness-sadness, birth-death, similarities-differences, and looks for their impact on music and on the creation process of the music. Based on these dualities, referring to the darkness of illiteracy, death, and evilness, the festival emphasises the importance of lightness and enlightenment with music and art. With various concerts and performances, the festival presents the power of music in this journey of enlightenment and the music and rhythm arising out of these dualities and contradictions.

This year, the festival will offer an unusual Istanbul experience in 22 concerts that will take the audience from the Hagia Eirene Museum to the Grand Bazaar, from the Rahmi M. Koç Museum to the Süreyya Opera House, from Yeniköy to Samatya. The festival aims to be an outstanding experience for its audience with renowned ensembles such as Akademie für Alte Musik, Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Casals Quartet, Moscow Soloists, RIAS Chamber Choir and Rundfunkchor Berlin, and with important soloists such as Isabelle Faust, Boris Berezovsky, Yuja Wang, Yuri Bashmet, and Fazıl Say.

The 47th Istanbul Music Festival will continue to support contemporary music with two work commissions, and host two world premieres. The commissioned work to Zeynep Gedizlioğlu will be performed by the piano duo Ufuk and Bahar Dördüncü. The other work, a co-commission with Sochi Festival to the composer Alexander Tchaikovsky, will be world premiered by Yuri Bashmet and Moscow Soloists at Hagia Eirene Museum. Additionally, the festival will continue its support for young women musicians with the project “Women Stars of Tomorrow”, now in its second year.

For more information, visit the Istanbul Music Festival website.

Neue Kritikenmehr...

Brooding and visceral Tchaikovsky from the Tekfen Philharmonic

Daniel Müller-Schott and the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra © Ali Guler
An occasionally uneven but often searing set of performances from the Tekfen Philharmonic and cellist Daniel Muller-Schott. 

Wandering through musical and cultural history in Istanbul's Samatya

Vivid Consort © Ali Guler
A diverse and complex Istanbul neighbourhood hosts ensembles and programmes from across Europe and Asia 

Fireworks from Yuja Wang in Turkey

Yuja Wang and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg © Ali Guler
Daredevil piano playing and luscious Stravinsky at the 47th Istanbul Music Festival.
Archive: Previous editions of the festival