Young musicians on world stages

Yekta Kopan, 19.11.2014

Güher – Süher Pekinel’s contributory project is now in its fifth year.

The arts’ greatest supporter is the artist. Partnering the right project with the right sponsor falls on artists who carry a torch for the branch of art in which they create and want to contribute to its future. “Young Talents on World Stages” is just such a project. Güher – Süher Pekinel’s contributory project is now in its fifth year. Let me quickly summarize: We are face to face with a project, where, following auditions held among conservatory students, each of those who succeed receive an education at the best music schools in Europe and then represent Turkey in international competitions.

So far, eleven students have benefited from this project: Dorukhan Doruk (Violoncello), Veriko Tchumburidze (Violin), Yunus Tuncalı (Piano), Kıvanç Tire (Violin), Elvin Hoxha (Violin), Can Çakmur (Piyano), Cm Esen (Piano), Doğa Altınok (Violin), Gülru Ensari (Piano), and Nilay Özdemir (Viola). However, the story actually starts with the Child Prodigy Law signed on July 7, 1948 by the Minister of National Education Hasan Âli Yücel. The law numbered 5245 that was enacted in order to send Idil Biret and Suna Kan overseas on state scholarships and is, thus, known as the “Idil-Suna Law.” Who isn’t among our musicians that were able to receive an overseas education thanks to the implementation that was widened or changed in 1956 and 1976? First Verda Erman, Gülsin Onay, Hüseyin Sermet, and Selman Ada, then Burçin Böke, Fazıl Say, Şölen Dikener, Çağıl Yücelen, and many more. The year 1988 is synonymous with the end of these special statutes and is the closing of an era of “child prodigies” that were sent overseas to receive an education.

This is exactly where Güher – Süher Pekinel come into play. After all, there are many more names that Turkey will gift to the world of art. Finally, through their own efforts and with sponsorship support, the Pekinels are bringing something similar to the Child Prodigy Law to life. I keep saying sponsor… I believe that mentioning the name of those who give support to a topic like this will be an incentive for other similar contributions. Allow me to leave the praising of Tüpraş, who embraced the program in its fifth year, to sisters Güher – Süher Pekinel. They say, “The basis for our project was to continue and strengthen Turkey’s presence in international platforms and to ensure that our young talents represent us across the globe. Meeting with Tüpraş, led by their Chairmen of the Board of Directors Ömer M. Koç, in our fifth year when we have started to see the fruits of our project and are in need of more support, and having our project embraced by Tüpraş enables us to boldly continue along this path we have set our minds to.”

The right support for the right project is worthy of applause. This way, 4-5 year scholarships are provided for the exceptionally talented between the ages of 15 and 23. Right now, they are aiming for these young artists, who are continuing their education in Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Cologne, Zurich, and Brussels, to build international careers, in addition to being part of our countries’ prominent orchestras and in top-tier educational positions. These young talents have earned six first-place and two-third place positions in the past four years and have received invitations from many prestigious international festivals and renowned orchestras. The CD of our young and talented musicians’ last concert at Zurich’s Tonhalle was released on November 13th and they gave a concert at CRR on November 15th. The date of their next performance is currently unknown; however, it would be good to keep track of it over the internet.

Doğa Altınok opened the night alongside Yunus Tuncalı. Oh, how his violin elicited a Roma music furor in the hall with  Sarasate’s stirring “Zigeunerwiesen…” Then, young pianists Cem Esen and Can Çakmur enraptured us with Chopin and Liszt…The second half was Trio Vera Tchumburidze (Violin), Dorukhan Doruk (Cello), and Yunus Tuncalı (Piano)’s.
A brilliant Mendelssohn following a wonderful Rachmaninov…

I looked just ahead of me and there was someone even more excited than I was.

Evin İlyasoğlu, who had me watch these young talents before at Boğaziçi’s Albert Long Hall and followed them closer than anyone…I sent her a thank you too!