Bodrum St John's Castle and Marina © D-Marin Turgutreis
Bodrum St John's Castle and Marina
© D-Marin Turgutreis
Classical music festivals inhabit varied locations around the globe: country houses, castles, cathedrals, Alpine slopes. But have you ever encountered a classical music festival held at a marina? And if that isn’t unusual or tempting enough, how about a marina in Bodrum, on the southwest tip of Turkey? Its unique location makes the D-Marin Turgutreis International Classical Music festival something a little out of the ordinary. Supported by founding sponsor Doğuş Group, the 11th festival takes place between the 15th and 19th August, featuring prominent international, as well as Turkish, artists, with the aim to provide local audiences with greater access to great music.

The Marina © D-Marin Turgutreis
The Marina
© D-Marin Turgutreis
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra features in two high profile concerts, under Principal Conductor Charles Dutoit. In “Russian Fire”, two warhorses of the Russian repertoire kick off the festival in spectacular style. Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, while not as famous as the “Pathétique”, can be even more moving. The symphony opens with a long, wistful clarinet solo and Tchaikovsky brings back this theme in different guises in each movement – an elegiac Andante cantabile, a waltz and in the stirring finale. Dutoit and the RPO are joined by star Russian pianist Denis Matsuev for Rachmaninov’s popular Piano Concerto no. 2 in C minor, still associated with the classic film Brief Encounter and buttoned-up English emotions. Matsuev usually offers expansive playing and grand, dramatic phrasing in this concerto, which can thrill audiences.

Another favourite symphony ends the RPO’s second concert, “New Sounds from the New World”. Dvořák’s Ninth, known as the “New World” Symphony and often said to make use of traditional African-American spirituals. The full title of the symphony, though, is “From the New World” and the work is infused with Dvořák’s longing for his Bohemian homeland. Sarah Chang, one of tne of the world’s great violinists, joins the orchestra for a performance of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, appropiately in the composer’s 150th anniversary year. It makes huge technical demands of the soloist and also features the orchestra prominently in developing themes. The finale, in particular, is great fun, described by Donald Tovey as a "polonaise for polar bears".

The festival takes a few steps away from the marina to host its first concert at Bodrum Castle. Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou, famed for writing the soundtracks to Theo Angelopoulos’ films, is celebrated in a concert directed by conductor Ender Sakpınar and Karaindrou, accompanied by the Istanbul Sinfonietta.

World Music is represented at the festival with the appearance of Spanish singer Buika, famous for merging a variety of genres from jazz to flamenco. Her voice has been compared to Nina Simone, Chavela Vargas and Cesarea Evora, and the National Public Radio named her "the voice of freedom". Her symphonic concert with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra should draw an enthusiastic audience.

Main Stage at D-Marin Turgutreis © D-Marin Turgutreis
Main Stage at D-Marin Turgutreis
© D-Marin Turgutreis
Music and Literature join hands in the final concert of the festival, when Turkish composer and pianist Fazil Say presents his new work Sait Faik, commissioned by the Istanbul Music Festival last year to mark 60 years since the death of the writer often considered a turning point in Turkish literature. Say’s work is directly inspired by Faik’s short story S/S Stylianos Hrisopulos.

Before the evening concerts, which take place at the relaxed hour of 9pm, you can enjoy music by the marina in the festival’s “Sunset Concerts”, which start at 7pm. “Sunset with Young Masters” showcases young Turkish talent, under the auspices of the Young Musicians on World Stages project. Pianist Can Çakmur performs a programme of music from Mozart to Schubert, while  Deniz Toygür Conus performs Vivaldi’s evergreen Four Seasons, joined by Oğuzhan Kavruk and the Karşıyaka Chamber Orchestra.

If you fancy music as the sun rises, set your alarms early for the festival’s “Sunrise Concerts” which start at 7am! You could “Wake up with Bach” courtesy of young cellist Dorukhan Doruk. The festival’s final day dawns with the KODA Quintet playing a programme of popular classics to get your day off to the best start.

The festival’s artistic programming and planning is undertaken by Pozitif Live. All proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Tohum Autism Foundation and the Bodrum Health Foundation.


Article sponsored by Pozitif Müzik A.S.