© Pozitif Müzik A.S.
© Pozitif Müzik A.S.
Imagine waking up to the lapping of water against the quayside, taking a walk to the local park and hearing a quartet of bassoons playing Mussorgsky! Stranger things have happened and you could experience just this – if you set your alarm early enough – in the Turkish port of Bodrum this August. The Boğuç Bassoon Quartet serves up a musical breakfast in Şevket Sabancı Park which includes Pictures at an Exhibition, some Bach and the deliciously titled Last Tango in Bayreuth by Peter Schickele (aka PDQ Bach). It is one of four morning concerts, starting at 7am, to take place at the International D-Marin Classical Music Festival, and promises to be a refreshing start to the day.

Bodrum Castle © Pozitif Müzik A.S.
Bodrum Castle
© Pozitif Müzik A.S.
The festival, which runs from 20th–27th August 2016, has been expanded in this, its 12th year, to eight days. Located on the southern coast of the Bodrum Peninsula, the port has many things to offer travellers. The ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – lie at a site close to the harbour. The marina is overlooked by the imposing Bodrum Castle (the Castle of St Peter), a 15th-century fortress built by the Knights Hospitaller, who were based on the island of nearby Rhodes and sought a mainland base against the Seljuk Turks.

After sightseeing, the evenings offer a perfect opportunity to enjoy classical music in a relaxed atmosphere. The temperature in August can reach an average high of 34ºC, so 9pm starts for most of the evening concerts in the festival ensures something a little cooler for listeners.

D-Marin Turgutreis © Pozitif Müzik A.S.
D-Marin Turgutreis
© Pozitif Müzik A.S.
Among the highlights of the festival, the renowned conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy joins the London Chamber Orchestra in a programme of Shostakovich and Beethoven. Shostakovich’s Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings is an energetic romp, jazzy and with an exuberant finale. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – which opens with the most famous chords in classical music – concludes the programme.

Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra performs two concerts at the festival under its charismatic French Chief Conductor Lionel Bringuier. Each concert involves a star soloist. Cellist Gautier Capuçon receives rave reviews on Bachtrack wherever he appears. In Bodrum, he performs Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. In March, we reviewed him in the same work, praising his “bold, immediate sound” and “rhapsodic rubato”. Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja is one of the most refreshing players on the classical music scene – risk-taking and unpretentious. She even has a ‘Trashbin’ section on her website where she posts negative reviews (we’re represented there as well as on her main site!). Her approach to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto has been to examine the score afresh, bringing many new ideas to her interpretation.

Representing Turkish artists, distinguished pianists İdil Biret and Fazıl Say both perform at D-Marin. Biret opens the festival by playing Edvard Grieg’s evergreen Piano Concerto, while Say performs his own chamber works with young Turkish artists. Say also performs his Nazim Oratorio, inspired by the writer Nâzım Hikmet.

Ayşe Şenogul © Pozitif Müzik A.S.
Ayşe Şenogul
© Pozitif Müzik A.S.

Çellistanbul is a cello quartet, founded in 2002, who offer programmes combining the classics with music from their Turkish heritage. Their entertaining D-Marin concert ranges from Bach to Gershwin and should be a lot of fun. Another Turkish chamber group – the Mavi Quintet – include Francis Poulenc’s witty Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano in their recital… we’re back at bassoons again!

Soprano Ayşe Şenogul, who won the Audience Prize in Istanbul’s Leyla Gencer Competition last year, programmes a ‘Tribute to the Sunset’ in her recital. It encompasses songs and arias from Italian, French and Russian repertoire, from Verdi and Puccini to Gounod and Rachmaninov.

The festival has organised a range of other activities, some with a musical theme. There are free open-air screenings of films such as Fantasia and Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, storytelling sessions and cookery workshops where you can perfect your culinary skills learning to prepare regional dishes. Visit the festival's website for further details. 

From breakfast concerts at sunrise to a recital at sunset, with cookery in between, there’s always time for music in Bodrum.

Click here for our full festival listings. 

This article was sponsored by Pozitif Müzik A.S.