ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 22, 2007 – The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts will hold its 35th Annual International Istanbul Music Festival in venues throughout Istanbul from June 2–30, 2007. Showcasing the finest in Turkish and International music, dance, art, and folklore, the festival seeks to promote the sharing of artistic inspiration between International and Turkish performers in the performing arts. This year’s festival will host more than 1000 artists highlighting music special to the festival’s 35th anniversary over 23 events with festival performances held in the cultural settings of the Hagia Eirene Museum, the Sveti Stefan Church, the Atatürk Cultural Center and the Esma Sultan, former Bosphorus residence of Sultan Abdülhamid’s daughter, Esma Sultan.
The oldest of Istanbul’s cultural festivals, this year’s event will commence with its 35th Anniversary opening concert to be performed at the Hagia Eirene Museum on June 2. The Orchestra of Stars, comprised of young Turkish entertainers, will perform the masterpieces of such classical musicians as Bach, Vivaldi, and Bor. The showcase opens at 7 p.m. with a cocktail hour and continues with the concert, which beings at 8:30 p.m. Guests may attend a reception in the astounding courtyard of the archaeological museum following the concert at 9:30 p.m.
Another special performance known as the Festival Gala will be held on June 4 at 8 p.m., also located in the Hagia Eirene Museum. The Gala will celebrate the best in opera from the Romantic and Twentieth Century eras with a performance by world renowned soprano, Angela Gheorghiu. Accompanied by the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, Gheorghiu, who has been called the “last diva of the opera stage,” will perform renditions from such beloved composers as Puccini, Verdi, and Tchaikovsky.
Special to this year’s festival are concerts honoring the birthdays of two of Turkey’s most respected musicians. The Presidential Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Rengim Gökmen, will accompany Gülsin Onay on the piano and Özcan Ulucan on the violin, in a celebration of the 100th birthday of Turkish musical legend Ahmet Adnan Saygun on June 9 at 8 p.m. in the Hagia Eirene Museum. Ballet lovers will have three opportunities to experience “The Divan of Rumi & Bach,” a celebration of the 800th birthday of Jalalal-Din al-Rumi. The performances will be held at the Atatürk Cultural Center on June 15, 16 and 17 and will feature the Béjart Ballet Lausanne arranged by Twentieth century reformist choreographer Maurice Béjart.
Making its international premier at the festival, Sir John Tavener’s choral work “The Beautiful Names”, inspired by the 99 names of God mentioned in the Koran, will be performed in Arabic by the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Choir at Hagia Eirene Museum on June 22.
In addition to concerts and performances, the International Istanbul Music Festival also bestows awards to distinguished artists who have “shaped and developed classical music in Turkey.” Last year’s honor went to William Christie for the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Ayşegül Sarica and Suna Kan shared the Honorary Award.
Tickets for the Festival may be purchased at Biletix sales channels (www.biletix.com), the Atatürk Cultural Center, or the Hagia Eirene box offices. Prices vary by performance and seating level. Visit http://www.iksv.org/muzik/english/ for more information and a complete schedule of performances throughout Istanbul.
For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194 or in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800, and visit www.tourismturkey.org or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr.