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Haliç Congress Centre, Sütlüce
The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts hosted one of the world's greatest orchestras, The Orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino on Friday, 7 December in Haliç Congress Centre. Accompanying the world renowned piano duo Güher & Süher Pekinel, the orchestra performed under the baton of Zubin Mehta, who has been Principal Conductor of the orchestra since 1985.
The Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was founded in 1928 by Vittorio Gui, under the name "Stabile Orchestrale Fiorentina." In 1933, the Orchestra created what would become one of the oldest and most prestigious music festivals in Europe, after the Salzburg and the Bayreuth Festival: the "Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino". It is from this Festival that the Orchestra took its name. In 1937 Gui was replaced as Resident Conductor by Mario Rossi, thereafter by Piero Bellugi and Bruno Bartoletti.
Milestones in the Orchestra's history include the resident conductorships of Riccardo Muti (1969-'81) and Zubin Mehta; Zubin Mehta has been Principal Conductor since 1985, and, season after season, leads important symphonic productions and highly-prestigious tours. In 2012, he is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his début in Florence. The Orchestra later established a special relationship with Myung-Whun Chung and Semyon Bychkov, who have been Principal Guest Conductors since 1987 and 1992 respectively.
The Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino enjoys a superb reputation throughout the music world, and in the course of its history has been conducted by some of the finest musicians of all times, such as Victor De Sabata, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Tullio Serafin, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Erich Kleiber, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Carlo Maria Giulini, Georges Prêtre, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Carlos Kleiber, Georg Solti, Riccardo Chailly, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Seiji Ozawa.
Famous composers have also conducted their own works in world-première performances in Florence appositely commissioned by Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; they include Richard Strauss, Pietro Mascagni, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Paul Hindemith, Igor Stravinsky, Goffredo Petrassi, Luigi Dallapiccola, Krzysztof Penderecki and Luciano Berio.
India-born Zubin Mehta belongs to the last generation of those legendary conductors. There is hardly any major orchestra in the world that he has not appeared with. He has held the post of music director at the Montreal Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and Bavarian State Opera; and he was named the music director for life of the Israel Philharmonic in 1981. Maestro Mehta is the honorary conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Bavarian State Orchestra, besides the Maggio Musicale. He has been the president of Festival del Mediterrani in Valencia since 2006.
The twin sisters Güher & Süher Pekinel made their stage debut at the age of six, and since then have performed with almost every leading orchestra in the world from the United States to the Far East. The extensive discography of the Pekinels include Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, arranged for two pianos by the composer himself, and the award winning Take-Bach, a jazz project with Jacques Loussier. Their latest release, a recording of Bach's concertos for two and three pianos as well as works of Brahms and Saint-Säens were chosen "Best Album of the Week and of the Month" by The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian. Polishing their internationally acclaimed career everyday with another achievement, Güher and Süher Pekinel are widely regarded as the finest duo-pianist team of our time.