The sound of world cultures meets in Istanbul
This year’s World Choral Music Symposium (WSCM), hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, began at the Atatürk Cultural Center with the “Bridges” concert of the State Polyphonic Choir conducted by Grammy award-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Norwegian guest conductor Ragnar Rasmussen. The symposium, which started with the participation of Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Özgül Özkan Yavuz and Estonian Minister of Culture Heidy Purga, will take music lovers on a unique journey of cultural unity until April 30.
The World Symposium on Choral Music (WSCM), the largest event of the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM), started with a magnificent opening concert at the Atatürk Cultural Center Turkish Telekom Opera Hall. At the opening concert, attended by Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Özgül Özkan Yavuz and Estonian Minister of Culture Heidy Purga, the world-famous Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, twice winner of the “Best Choral Performance” Grammy award, and the State Polyphonic Choir, a member of the European Association of Professional Choirs (TENSO), which has played a role in bringing choral music to the masses in Turkey for 35 years, shared the same stage.
In her opening speech, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Özgül Özkan Yavuz said, “The fact that the Atatürk Cultural Center is hosting this event, both as one of the iconic structures of the Republic period and as one of the world’s respected cultural centers following its renewal, is of great importance for the representation of world choral music and the promotion of Turkish polyphonic music on the international stage. We attach great importance to the universal voice of art spreading from the ‘Bosphorus’ to the whole world, because we believe that art not only beautifies the world but also enables us to see the beauties of the world more clearly.
“Surprise of Feraye”
At the historic gathering in the AKM Turkish Telecom Hall, under the direction of the founding conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tõnu Kaljuste, the State Polyphonic Choir, conducted by Norwegian guest conductor Ragnar Rasmussen, performed works by various composers from Turkey and Norway, as well as important Estonian composer Veljo Tormis. In addition to the choirs, soloists with traditional Turkish instruments such as the bağlama and mey also performed. Guest conductor Ragnar Rasmussen added an electronic dimension to the concert with the “seaboard,” a new version of the piano keyboard. At the concert, where music lovers experienced both traditional and contemporary choral music from a changing perspective, the State Polyphonic Choir and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir surprised the audience by performing together the work “Feraye,” one of the first representatives of contemporary Turkish music by Ulvi Cemal Erkin.
55 choirs, 2500 choristers, and over 150 events
Continuing until April 30th at various historical venues in Beyoğlu, including the Atatürk Cultural Center, Akbank Art Center, Atlas 1948 Cinema, Borusan Music House, Garibaldi Stage, Grand Pera Emek Stage, Santa Maria Draperis Church, St. Antuan Church, and Taksim Mosque Cultural Center, the symposium, themed “Changing Horizons,” brings together the world’s best choirs and expert speakers in the field, from the United States to Africa, from Spain to Indonesia. Featuring a select program with 55 choirs, 2500 choristers, over 150 exhibitions, workshops, and events, the symposium will host 44 concerts in 11 different venues. Students will be eligible for a 50% discount throughout the entire symposium.
Closing with a choir marathon
The closing concert of the World Choral Symposium will be a choir marathon in which Turkish choirs will make their voices heard to the world. Eight choirs will share the same stage at the AKM Turkish Telecom Opera Hall on April 29th, showcasing the diversity of Turkish choral music. From Istanbul, A Capella Boğaziçi, Boğaziçi Jazz Choir, Chromas, Rezonans, and Sirene; from Bursa, Nilüfer Polyphonic Choir; from İzmir, Dokuz Eylül University Choir, and from Ankara, Jazzberry Tunes, will sing together from pop to classical, jazz to Turkish folk songs.
For more information, please visit www.wscmistanbul2023.com.
Tickets are available at biletinial.com.