This era’s “Child Prodigies”

Faruk Şüyün, 14.11.2014

Our young musicians, with whom I shared my table that night, have been on world stages for a while now. They have all received many international awards, all of their instruments are noteworthy, and they are still receiving their education at the world’s most prestigious schools. The spark in their eyes, their high energy naturally rubs off on us, as well. Moreover, they are so sincere and so witty….

The halls in which they have given concerts, the teachers from which they receive their education are the best in the world… They came together for the “Young Musicians on World Stages” project, following auditions that were held across Turkey’s conservatories. The project, which began in 2010, is Güher and Süher Pekinel’s and their main sponsor, since last year, has been Tüpraş.

Tüpraş Communications Manager Seval Kızılcan, the Pekinel’s, and those of the project’s selected eleven young talents who were in Turkey that day, came together for a conversational meeting. From among them, Doğa Altınok (violin), Yunus Tuncalı (piano), Cem Esen (piano), Can Çakmur (piano), Veriko Tchumburidze (violin) and Dorukhan Doruk (cello) will be performing Saturday night, November 15th at the IBB Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall. Following our conversation at the Elmadağ Divan Hotel, the young talents, who will be interpreting works by Sarasate, Liszt, Chopin, Saygun, Rachmaninoff, and Mendelssohn, also gave us the joy of witnessing a half-hour mini concert. We had the opportunity to listen to them from just a few meters away.

One of the products of Turkey’s biggest industrial enterprise Tüpraş’s understanding of social responsibility, formed around Koç Holding founder Vehbi Koç’s saying, “I exist if my country exists,” is support for this project by the Pekinel’s. The company’s Communications Manager Seval Kızılcan told us how this all started:
“We represent of an understanding that adopts the geography in which we continue our production. We believe that with arts and culture, which constitute one of the most important factors in a society’s development, societies are much more aesthetic and befit many more people. Thusly, we wanted to do something for the youths that are raised on this soil and their futures. Right around that time, our Chairmen of the Board of Directors, Ömer Koç, brought us this project.”

The Pekinel’s emphasized that the starting point of this project was to continue and strengthen Turkey’s presence in international platforms and to ensure that our young talents represent us across the globe. One could see the pride that they felt from these youths’ accomplishments on their faces. One of the most important facets of the project was to ensure that the young talents could take part in international competitions and the master classes of world renowned musicians, in order to correctly plan their careers at a professional level. In the past four years, these kids, whose ages range from fifteen to twenty three, have been deemed worthy of six first-place and two third-place awards, and have received invitations from prestigious international festivals and orchestras.

In this regard, the CD and DVD of the last concerts that they gave at Zurich’s Tonhalle in the past months were released a few days ago.

When I started listening to the CD on my car radio on the way home, no longer able to resist, between Beethoven, Schumann, Baran, Mendelssohn, and Piazzola, I lost track of time. As I entered the door, humming these melodies, I was thinking of why the Child Prodigy Law that raised the likes of Idil Biret and Suna Kan hadn’t been implemented in almost forty years. This makes the social responsibility projects supported by Tüpraş and other institutions all the more meaningful.