The Istanbul International Chamber Music Festival has met listeners for the second time with the themes of peace and Istanbul. The second edition, which hosts distinguished names in a series of concerts focusing on chamber music, is taking place at Cemal Reşit Rey (CRR) Concert Hall between Sept. 6 and 23.
Founded to open a new window on music for Istanbulite listeners, the Istanbul International Chamber Music Festival continues to freshen up the existing culture and art environment by bringing the world's renowned artists, most of whom have never performed in Türkiye before. Held under the direction of cello artist Nil Kocamangil, the event focuses on the subjects of "listening to oneself," "listening to each other," and "listening to the city" with its belief in the transformative power of music.
The festival hosts star names and legendary chamber music groups such as Tedi Papavrami, François-Frederic Guy, Miguel da Silva, Frans Helmerson, Jacques Ammon and the Jerusalem Quartet in its second edition and offers a rich program comprising workshops, talks, youth concerts and children's activities. Let's take a quick look at some of the performers of the event.
Albanian violinist Papavrami started studying the violin with his father, Robert Papavrami, a renowned teacher who thoroughly influenced his artistic development. Performing with the Tirana Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 8, he was offered a scholarship in France in 1982, thanks to flutist Alain Marion. French Television was immediately interested in this young soloist and Jacques Chancel invited him to perform in his TV show “Le Grand Echiquier.”
Papavrami won numerous competitions, including the Rodolfo Lipitzer Competition in Italy, George Enescu Prize and the Sarasate Competition in Pamplona. Papavrami has also performed throughout Europe, South Africa, Türkiye, Japan and Israel with famous orchestras such as the Bayerische Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, Bologna Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker, Orchestre de Paris, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, as well as in prestigious festivals such as Montreux, Schleswig Holstein and Newport.
He has worked with distinguished conductors such as Kurt Sanderling, Christopher Hogwood, Antonio Pappano, Louis Langrée, Gilbert Varga, Zdenek Macal, Armin Jordan and more recently, Paul Daniel and Alexander Vedernikov, among others. The versatile Papavrami also regularly performs chamber music and his favorite partners include Philippe Bianconi, Huseyin Sermet, Paul Meyer, Raphael Oleg, Xavier Phillips and François-Frederic Guy, among others.
Another area of interest for Papavrami is literature. In 2000, parallel to his activities as a musician, he was recognized as the official translator of Albanian writer Ismail Kadare. Papavrami lives in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was appointed professor of violin at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Geneve in 2008. He plays the violin built for him by luthier Christian Bayon.
French classical pianist Guy is widely regarded as an outstanding interpreter of the German Romantics and Beethoven in particular. Over the course of his career, he has performed with some of the world’s greatest conductors, including Marc Albrecht, Fabien Gabel, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Philippe Jordan and Sebastian Lang-Lessing. Among the renowned orchestras with whom he played are the Wiener Symphoniker, NDR Hamburg, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Seoul Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and San Francisco Symphony. Since 2012, he has been regularly conducting orchestras on the keyboard, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liege, Sinfonia Varsovia, Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife, and the National Orchestra of Pays de la Loire.
Violist da Silva was trained at the conservatoire in Reims before he moved to Paris to study at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. In 1985 he won the first prize in the International Chamber Music Competition in Paris. With the passion he felt for a string quartet, Siva founded the Ysaÿe Quartet with three of his friends. Thanks to engagements either as a solo player or with his quartet, he performed at the greatest concert halls of the world, such as London's Wigmore Hall, Munich's Herkulessaal, Venice's Teatro della Fenice and Salzburg's Festspielhaus. He has also toured Belgium, the United States, Japan and Italy.
Silva has appeared as a soloist with the Paris Chamber Orchestra, the Polish Chamber Orchestra and the Ferenc Liszt Orchestra of Budapest. As a very sought chamber music player, his partners include the names such as Michel Portal, Jean-Claude Pennetier, Paul Meyer, Leonidas Kavakos, Pierre Amoyal, Augustin Dumay, Nikita Boriso-Glebksy, Antonio Meneses, Jean-François Heisser, Truls Mork, Henri Demarquette, Gary Hoffmann, Emmanuel Pahud and Christophe Coin among others. He is currently a master in residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium.
Swedish cellist Helmerson began his musical training with Guido Vecchi in Gothenburg before studying Giuseppe Selmi in Rome and William Pleeth in London. He performs together with many well-known orchestras and receives outstanding critical acclaim for his gigs and recordings. Helmerson’s passion for chamber music is another important driving force on his musical horizon. He is a regular guest in the major European festivals, including the Verbier Festival, the Pablo Casals Festival in Prades and the Ravinia Festival and also he spent many years as the artistic director of the Umea-Korsholm International Chamber Music Festival.
Furthermore, in 2002 he founded the Michelangelo Quartet with Mihaela Martin, Stephan Picard and Nobuko Imai. In addition to his career as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor, Helmerson taught for several years as a professor at the conservatories in Cologne and Madrid. Since 2011-12, he has been teaching as a guest professor at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin.
Pianist Ammon debuted into international recognition after his success in the International Claudio Arrau Piano Competition in 1989. Since then, he has given many concerts as both soloist and chamber musician in renowned concert halls in Germany and abroad. Among the countries where he performed were Austria, France, the Netherlands, Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Poland, Russia, Japan, Chile, Argentina and the U.S. In addition to his performing career, Jacques Ammon is also a part of the juries at international competitions and a passionate teacher at music festivals both in Germany and abroad.
Jerusalem Quartet was founded in 1993 by four Israeli musicians. The journey of the Jerusalem Quartet has resulted in a wide repertoire and stunning depth of expression. The band has performed in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, and Cleveland as well as at the Ravinia Festival.
The Istanbul International Chamber Music Festival is being organized with the contributions of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) Culture Department. The event's details can be followed on IBB Culture Department's social media accounts.