„….The Pekinels are widely regarded as the finest
duo-pianist team since Arthur and Karl-Ulrich Schnabel.“
Alexander Letvin, The Pianist Magazine
The Güher-Süher Pekinel Piano Duo attracts exceptional attention in the international music scene amongst world famous artists of our day. Their orchestral engagements include performances with distinguished orchestras such as the Berlin, Vienna, New York, Israel, London Philharmonic, London Philharmonia, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Philadelphia Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Their extensive recital tours spanning the major music halls of Europe, Far East, Japan, and the United States have received wide critical acclaim for their extraordinary poetical musicality, pianistic perfection with genuine style and interpretation. Highlights from their events include amongst worldwide TV appearances, the Eurovision concert with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, broadcasted live in 28 countries.
Their extensive discography includes all the major works for piano duo, recorded under the world-renowned labels Deutsche Grammophon, CBS, Chandos, Teldec, Warner Classics, Arthaus and Unitel. Their recording of “West Side Story” arranged for the Pekinels under the direction of Leonard Bernstein for two Pianos and Percussion, was nominated for the “Album of the Year”. As a result of their collaboration with world-renowned jazz musician Jacques Loussier and their CD “Take Bach”, featuring interpretations of Bach’s concertos for two and three pianos, was a world-wide bestseller and released numerous times by Warner Classics. Shortly after the classic version of Bach Concertos was also released with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Howard Griffiths in 2006, another CD featuring recital programs and works by Brahms and Saint-Saens, was listed as “Best Album of the Year” by The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and Gramophone Magazine. In the 2006 -2007 season, their entire CD range was re-released by Warner Classics. The Pekinels have appeared on numerous radio and TV shows and have been the subject of two 60-minute documentaries, the first produced by the German ZDF channel and the second produced by ARD-Arte entitled “Double Life”.
Güher and Süher Pekinel first appeared in public at the age of six and made their orchestral debut three years later with the Ankara Philharmonic in a live radio performance. After studying at the Conservatoire de Paris and Musikhochschule in Frankurt, they pursued their studies at the Philadelphia Curtis Institute of Music with the great pianist Rudolf Serkin on his personal invitation and later studied with such legends as Claudio Arrau and Leon Fleischer in New York. They completed their master’s degree at the Juilliard School as well as at the Musikhochschule in Frankurt, graduating with honors. At the age of 18, Pekinels shared first prize as soloists at the National Piano Competition in Germany, after which they went on to win several first prizes both as a duo and as separate soloists from various competitions in Germany, Italy and the United States, one of which was first prize at the Unesco World Music Competition, representing Germany.
The Pekinels’ international career truly launched upon an invitation to the 1984 Salzburg Festival by Herbert von Karajan, who sustained his support in the duo. Leonard Bernstein, Jacques Loussier, and Bob James have composed or arranged works specifically for the Pekinels, for which they hold worldwide rights. Güher and Süher Pekinel, amongst many other awards, are named State Artists and are holders of honorary doctorate degrees from Boğaziçi University as well as holders of the 2013 Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation “Honorary Award” for their lifetime achievements. They also received the best social responsibility award for their “Young Musicians on World Stages” project in 2011.
Highlights from their events include the Eurovision concert with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, broadcast live in 28 countries, an extensive tour with the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta, a “Take Bach” European tour with the Jacques Loussier Trio, the Schwetzinger Festival concert broadcast live on television in collaboration with SWR and the BBC, two Radio France concerts to celebrate the Toulouse Orchestra’s 50th anniversary, concerts with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in the Munich Opera, a series of concerts with the London Mozart Players and the English Chamber Orchestra, including a tour with the orchestra in Spain and England, under the baton of Sir Colin Davis and the opening concert of the Lucerne Piano Festival.
The Güher & Süher Pekinel “Live in Concert” DVD, released by Arthaus Music in February 2010, features the 2007 New Year Concerts in Zurich and Lucerne, along with their other recent performances. Another critically acclaimed Arthaus Music release dated April 2011, the “Bach Jazz” DVD, brought together their Bach and Mozart concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis and the duo and trio Bach-Jazz piano concertos with Jacques Loussier.
Celebrating the centurial first performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”, Decca, in collaboration with DG and Philips, selected the work’s most important recordings between 1913 and today, including Stravinsky’s own outstanding performances and the Pekinels’ DG recording in 1984. The CD was released in December 2012. In 2013 Erarto/Teldec released a 50CD-Box Set ‘’Das Alte Werk’’ with recordings by some of the world’s great artists. The CD-Box Set is including five releases by Pekinels. Their third DVD combined with two CD’s with Bartok’s Concerto and live recital recordings of Schubert, Mozart, Debussy and Infante was released in September 2014 by Arthaus / Unitel and was nominated for the “Quarterly Critics Choice” and the “Annual Award” 2015 by the The German Record Critics‘ Award. 2017 their new Box-Album “Best of Pekinels”, with ten concertos for two pianos and Orchestra and the Piano/Percussion program will be released by Arthaus/Unitel. A part of the Album will be their live filmed recital with percussionists Raphael Haeger and Simon Rössler from Berlin Philharmonic. After their concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Tonhalle Zürich and Basel and a Recital concert at the Lucerne Pianofestival 2017, the Pekinels will go on Asia-Tour together with the China National Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Busan Philharmonic Orchestra and the Manila ABS-CBN Symphony Orchestra.
Live Concerts from the festival opening of Florance with Zubin Mehta & Ludwigsburg
Three significant education projects
Güher and Süher Pekinel have also pioneered three significant music education projects.
Their first project aims to further professional music education in Turkey to meet international standards. Entitled “Young Musicians on World Stages”,the project, sponsored by Turkish firm Koç/Tüpraş, supports young musicians by granting them high standard quality instruments and scholarships to study with distinguished musicians and pedagogues in Europe and to participate in international music competitions. Within five years, the scholars have been awarded eight first prizes and four second prizes at international competitions.
The second project initiated by Pekinels’ and financially supported by the Turkish Finansbank, concentrates on their vision to establish the globally implemented Orff Schulwerk Method at kindergartens and primary schools in Turkey to raise the creativity, self-confidence, and analytical skills of children. Since September 2010, the Ministry of National Education and Orff Schulwerk Turkey-Austria-Germany have been working within the framework of a joint protocol to ensure that this important project succeeds. At the press conference in April 2016 with Finansbank and the Orff Center in Turkey the latest development of the project was presented to the public. As the next step of the project, three elected young Turkish pedagogues will be sent 2016/2017 to the “Special Courses” of the Orff Institute at Mozarteum University Salzburg. After the intensive two-semester courses, the three pedagogues will teach the Orff-Approach in all its details to 180 music teachers in selected Anatolian regions within 180 hours. As a result of the domino effect, it will be possible for the first time to reach thousands of children in Turkey with the vision of Orff-Schulwerk.
At the private boarding school Tevitöl for gifted children who are selected throughout Turkey, their third project was launched in 2007 by founding the G&S Pekinel Music Department. For the first time in Turkey the credits of the Music Department has achieved integration into the standard musical curriculum and is now accepted as credit at notable universities.
The Pekinel biography video prepared by the Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation (IKSV) „Honorary Award“ Ceremony on 10 November 2013 can be seen below.
Two paintings by Güher & Süher Pekinel, integrated as a poster for the 42nd Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation (IKSV) Music Festival.
Please note: This bio cannot be changed and can only be used as a whole.