Gümüşlük music festival returns in force

Chris Drum Berkaya reports from the Bodrum Peninsula on this years unmissable Gümüşlük Music Festival...

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Gümüşlük music festival returns in force

Measured not by the days but by the number and variety of extraordinary musicians performing, the 14th International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival has once again brought a feast of musical experiences to music lovers on Bodrum Peninsula, in the once sleepy fishing village of Gümüşlük.

Chris Drum Berkaya reviews some of the events that have already taken place, as well as giving LOL readers a taste of what's to come.

The Festival opened on Wednesday 26th July with one of its perennial performers, the renowned world violinist, Gilles Apap, taking the stage to give a very mellow and relaxed performance with Myriam Lafargue, the superb accordionist, and his regular music partner. As promised when he first spoke to the audience, Apap and Lafargue performed their own improvisations of the classical works of music by Kreisler, Gluck, Piazzolla and Vivaldi, as well as crossing genres by adding traditional music from Bulgaria, France and Ireland, as well as a patch of blue grass fiddling.  He then gave a surprise call to his Masterclass students to join them on the stage and the eleven young players inspired applause from the delighted audience for their competence and unison in following Apap.  These and other Masterclass students of the Gümüşlük Festival Academy are tutored intensively for five days by master musicians of their instruments, and give their own concerts, five in all, during the Festival.

In the opening concert speech, the festival art consultant, State Artist and pianist, Gülsin Onay, gave a glowing introduction to the students.

“We are very proud of our students” she said. "For every year we educate promising young talents, we have managed to provide support for many of them; sending them abroad with scholarships.  In our search for talented young pianists and to honour our dear teacher we will present the Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competition for the fourth time this year. I invite all of you to our competition concert, to support our young musicians. It is an immense pleasure to see that our young people progress with firm steps on the path Atatürk has shown.”

She expressed particular thanks to the corporate sponsors, the principal sponsor Denizbank continuing its support for the fifth consecutive year, to Bosch supporting the Festival Academy programme, and Liba Laboratories AS contributing to the opening and closing concerts of the festival as event sponsor

Onay emphasised how happy she was to welcome everybody back to the festival’s 14th year. She said:

“We have prepared a series of very different concerts, each one more interesting than the other. There will be fifteen concerts ranging from classic to jazz.”

Location, Location

The Festival concerts are offered in two remarkable locations and under three different themes according to musical genre. The classical music concerts take place on the stage set against the towering walls of the twenty-five-century old ancient quarry where the stones were mined for one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum of Halikarnassus, (now Bodrum). There, under the theme “On the Rocks”, Apap and Lafargue, cellist Dilbağ Tokay with pianist (and Festival director) Eren Levedoglu, and the new piano quintet Begoa Ensemble, have given three marvellous classical concerts so far.  After a break respecting the other local Festival, the Bodrum Festival of Classical Music, running from 12th-16th August, an exceptional number of classical pianists; Ilya Itin, Romano Pallotttini, Mauricio Vallina, and Gülsin Onay herself, will give solo recitals from the 18th August to the 4th September, and the remarkable flute duo of Raffaele Trevisani and Bülent Evcil with pianist Paola Girardi will perform on 1st September.

Extraordinary Jazz Line-up

Jazz has been incorporated into the Festival program over the past few years, where the concerts are given in the memorable setting of the stage on the south end of the Gümüşlük beach at the Festival Centre under the theme ‘Jazz on Water’. As the last light lingered in the west behind the stage on Tuesday 1st August, the remarkable Norwegian Tord Gustavsen Trio began a long-awaited concert by jazz fans. Tord Gustavsen on piano with long time musical collaborators Jarle Vespestad on drums and Sigurd Hole on bass guitar/ double bass, gave a taut, melodic and enthralling performances of not only a selection of older well-known pieces, but world premiere performances of five new compositions.

The audience was delighted, as was Festival Director, Eren Lenvendoğlu, who later said:

“This was a truly special concert for us. It is quite unusual that a jazz group with such an international reputation performs a world premiere for five compositions, and within the scope of our Festival. The audience was very impressed. There are more great concerts to follow."

And two very different, thoroughly enjoyable jazz concerts did follow. The legendary jazz man in Turkey, Emin Fındıkoğlu, with his all- female line up, playing as the Emin Fındıkloğlu Quartet, presented an "Evening of Song," ranging from Edith Piaf and Cole Porter to Sting and Carole King, on the beach on 8th August.

Emin Fındıkoğlu Quartet

The eagerly anticipated Alp Ersönmez "Yazsiz" Project with guest, the great French jazz trumpeter, Erik Truffaz, as well as other well-known Turkish musicians; Engin Recepoğlu on tenor saxophone, Cağrı Sertel on keyboard and Volkan Öktem on drums, combined to perform pieces from Ersönmez's album "Yazsiz" and some of Erik Truffaz's own compositions and songs from a new album about to be released. The energetic and cohesive performance, full of incredible improvisations, was highly appreciated by the crowd, who demanded an encore from the group performing in the unique venue; the outdoor stage at the old chapel, the Eklisia, on 10th August. 

Alp Ersönmez 

Alp Ersönmez 

If those concerts weren’t enough, the Guitar series ‘Guitar on Sand’ will complete the feast of music for the Festival goers. Erdem Sökmen and Hasan Merter, Brazilian virtuoso on guitar and piano Egberto Gismonti, and South African Derek Gripper will give concerts in the mini hall named the Earthbag House.

On the warm nights, the audiences at the Jazz on Water and Guitar on Sand concerts truly appreciated the complimentary water generously distributed by concert sponsors, Uludağ Premium.

Amongst the relaxed but peak season crowds of beachside Gümüşlük, now lined with excellent fish restaurants and cafes and handcraft stalls, the Festival offers a magical atmosphere for the visitors to enjoy first class musical experiences. With so much accommodation available in nearby Turgutreis, and Yalikavak, every music lover should plan at least a few days and nights to savour this very special Aegean town with music.

Festival sponsors and Details:

DenizBank is the principal sponsor of the 14th International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival. While Uludağ Premium is sponsoring the ‘Guitar on Sand’ and ‘Jazz on Water’ concerts; Bosch, which has undertaken sponsorship of education, supports the concerts of Gümüşlük Festival Academy. Liba Laboratories A.S. is contributing to the opening and closing concerts of the festival as event sponsor. Muğla Metropolitan Municipality and Bodrum Municipality were among the corporate sponsors of the festival; THY is the festival's official transportation sponsorship; Arion Resort Hotel is accommodation sponsor Çağdaş Holding is the festival center sponsor, and Piernet, the social media sponsor. Julius Meinl Coffee, Mas Matbaa and Soğan Sarmısak Restaurant are also among the service sponsors of the festival. 

All concerts at the Koyunbaba Ancient Stone Quarry start at 21:15, all other concerts will start at 20:30.

Concert Tickets are available at the Festival Centre, Gümüşlük beach (Call:  0537 577 85 07) and are available through Biletix

For more information visit:  www.gumuslukfestival.org and www.facebook.com/gumuslukfestival

The 14th International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival 2017

Full Programme (from 12th August)

15 – 19 August – 4. Ahmed Adnan Saygun Piano Competition - Earth House

18 August – Ilya Itin – Piano (Russia) - Ancient Quarry

20 August – GFA Piano Concert – Earthbag House

22 August -  Romano Pallottini – Piano (Italy) - Ancient Quarry

24 August -  Mauricio Vallina (Cuba) - Ancient Quarry

25 August - GFA Piano Concert – Earthbag House

26 August – Erdem Sökmen & Hasan Meten – Guitar Duo (Turkey) – Earthbag House

27 August - Egberto Gismonti – Guitar (Brazil) Earthbag House

28 August -  Ebgerto Gismonti – Piano (Brazil) Ancient Quarry

30 August - Derek Gripper - Guitar (South Africa) Earthbag House

31 August – GFA Flute Concert – Earthbag House

1 September – Bülent Evcil (Turkey) & Raffaele Trevisani (Italy) – Flute Duo & & Paola Girardi – Piano (Italy) - Ancient Quarry

04 September - Gülsin Onay – Piano (Turkey) – Ancient Quarry.


Headline photo: Tord Gustavsen Trio

Many thanks to the Gümüşlük Festival for the photographs and background information









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