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Guide to the Istanbul Music Festival


2nd – 25th June 2020

48th 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.

How to get there?

The easiest way to get to Istanbul is to fly to Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport. 

The festival events take place in various concert halls and historical venues of the city of Istanbul, which are easily accessible with public transport.

Local accommodation

There are various accommodation possibilities such as hotels, hostels, Airbnb rentals, etc. In order to be closer to the festival venues, the options in and around the center are recommended.

What can tourists visit nearby?

There is an abundance of historical places and museums in Istanbul, such as: Topkapı Palace, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia Museum, Blue Mosque, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Pera Museum, and many others.

About the festival

The Festival hosts both nationally and internationally renowned soloists, ensembles, orchestras and choirs, performing baroque, classical, as well as contemporary music repertoire. Each year, the Festival builds its programme around a theme. Interdisciplinary projects are also featured in the festival's programme. The Istanbul Music Festival also supports the young and emerging musicians to be heard by the classical music audience of Turkey. Additionally, with the Women Stars of Tomorrow project, the Festival supports the international career of young women musicians since 2018.

What are the venues like?

The festival spreads across the city with events at historical sites, churches, cultural venues alongside concert halls, and with free concerts at beautiful parks and gardens.

Dress code

The Festival does not have a specific dress code. Since it is held in June, the weather is usually warm and visitors are advised to dress lightly.

Food & Drink

The bustling city of Istanbul offers an exceptional variety of restaurants, cafes and bars. Visitors are encouraged to explore the city for food and drinks. Most of the restaurants close late at night.

Why should someone come to your festival?

Being the most established classical music festival of Turkey, Istanbul Music Festival gives the opportunity to explore the local and international musicians at unique historical landmarks of Istanbul.

For more information, visit the Istanbul Music Festival website.

Istanbul Music Festival 2020
Hagia Sophia and Sultan Ahmed Mosque © Daniel Burka

Beethoven rules at the 48th Istanbul Music Festival 2020

It's not all Ludwig van Beethoven in Istanbul, but there is plenty of his greatest hits among an eclectic programme. 
Archive: Previous editions
© Ersin Durmus

The stars come out for the 47th Istanbul Music Festival

Under the festival theme of “Darkness of Being, Lightness of Being”, the Istanbul Music Festival offers a chance to explore widely, both musically and geographically. 
Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists © Russian Concert Agency

The Lightness of Being: in conversation with Yuri Bashmet

We catch up with Yuri Bashmet ahead of his appearance with his ensemble, The Moscow Soloists, at the Istanbul Music Festival. 
Aya Irini © IKSV

A cultural melting pot: the Istanbul Music Festival

The three-week festival is a highlight of the Turkish classical year, attracting a huge number of visitors, with opportunities to explore this fascinating capital city, as well as soak up music in wonderful locations.