Dear friends and music lovers,
All of us in Turkey and around the world were shocked by the terrible earthquake in Turkey and Syria on 6 February, leading to the tragic loss of nearly 60,000 lives and enormous damage and homelessness. In the months since, much of my artistic endeavours have been directed towards raising funds to support the survivors of the earthquake. To this end, in March and April I have given recitals and concerts with orchestra in Turkey (in Ankara, Bursa, Eskişehir, Izmir and Mersin) and England (in Cambridge and Manchester) in aid of the earthquake relief, some in my rôle as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Today I write from Astana in Kazakhstan, where I am on the jury of the "Eurasian Stars" international piano competition. Congratulations to the first prizewinner Salih Can Gevrek who, along with the other prizewinners will qualify for the 2024 Dubai International Piano Competition. From here I travel to Istanbul, where I will perform Saygun's 1st Piano Concerto with the great Hungarian violinist and conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy. It is always a pleasure to perform this work with a new conductor, and we are both looking forward to a very special musical occasion, celebrating the friendship and collaboration of Saygun and Bartók, whose Concerto for Orchestra is the other work in the programme.
In recent weeks I have been performing Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto, in this year celebrating the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth, with English maestro Timothy Redmond and with the Turkish conductor Gürer Aykal, along with concerts in the Ankara Festival, in Istanbul and Cambridge, and master classes at the legendary Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.
The coming weeks continue to be filled with varied activities and travel - at the "Gülsin Onay" piano festival and competition in İzmir I will chair the competition jury and give the closing recital, followed by a recital tour in Germany, France and Belgium, masterclasses at the Brussels Conservatory, a concert in the Istanbul Music Festival, and a recital tour in the north of England, among others. July brings masterclasses and another competition in Chieta, Italy, and the opening of the Gümüşlük International Music Festival in the Bodrum peninsula. Don't miss the wonderful concerts in a unique setting in this festival, which artistic director Eren Levendoǧlu and I have been organising now for 21 years.
Before signing off I'd like to share with you my latest live video, of Ravel's "Gaspard de la nuit" (YouTube link) from my recital at Notre Dame de Sion Lycee. At the beginning of my career, I was awarded the "Prix Ravel" in the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud competition for my performance of this work, and ever since it has had a very special place in my repertoire - I hope you enjoy it!
Wishing you every joy and peace in music,