Ankara International Music Festival concluded with premier of Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand”

6 May 2013

On 30 April 2013, the 30th Ankara International Music Festival, organised at Turkey’s capital, concluded with a spectacular finale with an international mix of musicians and vocalists performing Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major, which is often called the “Symphony of a Thousand” because of the large instrumental and vocal forces required. The Ankara premiere has been the second performance of the piece in Turkey.

The Bilkent Symphony Orchestra of Ankara, the Bilkent Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir of Poland, the Lisbon ESML Choir from Portugal and the Bilkent Children and Youth Choirs conducted by Işın Metin performed to an audience filling the 3000-seat Congressium Hall. Nancy Weissbach (1st soprano / Germany), Burcu Uyar (2nd soprano / Turkey), Klara Ek (3rd soprano / Sweden), Alison Cooke (1st alto / Britain), Isabel Vera (2nd alto / Chile), Ünüşan Kuloğlu (tenor / Turkey), Karsten Mewes (baritone / Germany) and Tuncay Kurtoğlu (bass / Turkey) participated as soloists.

The 10-day collective rehearsals that preceded the concert were done at the 800-seat concert hall of the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts of the Bilkent University, with seats for the audience dismantled to make room for the throngs of musicians and vocalists. A total of 360 musicians performed at the concert, backed by a large support group.

The 95-minute performance ended to a drawn-out standing ovation and Conductor Işın Metin holding up the score to the applause of the audience. As the Ankara International Music Festival marked its 30th anniversary, and organiser, SEVDA-CENAP AND MUSIC FOUNDATION, its 40th, the audience made clear its appreciation for international participation at this memorable concert which fully deserves the distinction of being the “musical event of the year 2013.” The concert also brought conductor Işın Metin the honour of being the first Turkish conductor directing Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand.

Alexander Vakoulsky, flutist Sir James Galway, violin-cello Duo Samuelsen, pianist Nazzareno Carusi, cellists Gustav Rivinius and Johannes Moser, the Imperial Russian Ballet, the HGM Jazz Orchestra, the Antonio Gades Ensemble and choreographer Wanda Golonka also participated, besides Turkish artists and music groups, at the 30th Ankara International Music Festival.

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